“Retired” boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather Junior celebrates his 39th birthday today. The word retired is in quotes because, well, practically everyone who follows the fight game is all but certain Mayweather, currently 49-0, WILL fight again – it’s just a matter of time, the general line of thinking goes, until Floyd comes back in search of pro win number-50.
And, despite the fact that age 39 is somewhat advanced for a top class prize fighter (greats Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Joe Louis and many others were finished well before closing in on age 40), Mayweather has proven that age is literally just a number to him. Eventually, if he were to fight on and on, his reflexes would fade or his punch resistance (never tested too much as it is!) would desert him, but there wouldn’t be too many people willing to bet against Mayweather managing to put at least one more result in his win column if he did/does box again either later this year or early next.
But for now, Mayweather has already achieved plenty; maybe not enough for him to deserve to be called, T.B.E: The Best Ever, but enough to go down as one of the special ones.
Here are my picks for Mayweather’s three best career performances:
1: TKO10 Diego Corrales, January 2001, Las Vegas: super-featherweight.
The Mayweather of today might be known amongst his critics as a boring, safety-first, “cherry picker,” but this version of “Pretty Boy,” as Floyd was then known, took risks and delivered knockouts in action fights. Nothing proves this more than his taking on the dangerous, unbeaten and hard-hitting warrior known as “Chico.” Mayweather scored no less than five knockdowns, proving way too much for Corrales.
2: WM12 Saul Alvarez, September 2013, Las Vegas: light-middleweight.
Forget the crazy scorecard that somehow, disgracefully, had the fight a draw. Mayweather never put a foot wrong in this master class, one that saw him dominate a very good, perhaps even great, fighter, to the point of thoroughly demoralising the younger, some thought stronger man. “Canelo” might have had physical advantages over Mayweather (even though the Mexican star had to weigh-in at an agreed 152-pounds) but he sure wasn’t able to come close to using them against a defensive genius who has never looked more puzzling to fight, much less hit clean.
3: WU12 Manny Pacquiao, May 2015, Las Vegas: welterweight.
Dubbed The Fight of The Century,” Mayweather and Pacquiao finally got it on, some five or six years after the super-fight was first demanded. Mayweather might have made us wait – and he was assisted on fight night by a shoulder injury Pac-Man had secreted into the fight, to the subsequent anger of many – but when he and the sole rival to his claims of being the best fighter of his era fought, it was one-way traffic. This sublime showing disappointed fans of a competitive battle, but Floyd, once again, gave us a fine exhibition of hitting and not getting hit in return.