Jeremy H. (Orlando, FL): How do you compare the legacy of Floyd Mayweather to other athletes in history? In other words, what are your thoughts about him as a man, an athlete, and overall as a person, when he look at his legacy compared to great athletes of the past?
Vivek W. (ESB): This is a very broad question to tackle in just a few paragraphs. I think to best answer it, we have to look at things from day one. When we look at the entire history of Mayweather, we see a man who has had a very storied career that has seen him dominate from a very early stage. Even prior to the professional ranks, you have to consider that there was an Olympic Bronze that would have been a Gold had it not been for a poor decision. From day one, this has been a fighter who has proven himself at every level.
When we think about athletes, we have to consider several different bullet points. Aside from what he has accomplished in the ring, one of the key things that has set Mayweather apart has been his dedication to his craft. His level of commitment remains paralleled. Many look at the antics and the ‘Sideshow Sam’ effects; but at its best, this is a man who has never taken his craft lightly. The best way to acknowledge this is by taking a glance at many of the fighters around the sport who have made far less money, and how they abuse their bodies. From drugs and alcohol, to constant partying and limited rest, it’s not a far-fetched statement to say 8 out of every 10 fighters around the sport have done very little to make sure that they remain in top shape between fights.
In Mayweather, we see an athlete who has – (to put it in best terms) – “never let his guard down”! This is an athlete who has taken years off at a time. An athlete who has spent time away from the sport while incarcerated. With all of the pit stops and celebration going on, no one can recall a time where they’ve ever seen him between fights noticeably heavier than he is on fight night. I think you have to respect that type of commitment. Whether we look at past Boxers in the sport or other athletes from other sports, it’s very typical to expect a slight bulge to be present. Yet in the world of Mayweather, to this point, this hasn’t quite surfaced. A recent article by Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole highlighted the fact that despite his relative inactivity, Mayweather simply never takes time off.
Serving as a sharp testament is the fact that he recently opened fight camp for his showdown with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez weighing a svelte 147lbs. Mind you, the fight is contracted at 152lbs, and nearly 2 months out he’s already weighing in under the contractual weight, and dead on the button for his typical weight class. If there were ever any questions about his dedication I think we have to take this habitual sequence into account. All Champions of the past have won the highest title within their sport. But to see any athlete take it this serious is a dubious distinction that I think places Mayweather in a class of his own. I won’t say his legacy is the best of all-time in every sport. But I will say that some of the things he has done (17yr reign at the top, constant dedication, supreme execution, etc.) gives him a very solid argument to feel comfortable in comparison (to others).
Howard B. (Seattle, OR): A few buddies of mine had this debate and I’d like to have you chime in. Who do you think wins a fight between Felix Trinidad and GGG if they faced off with both men being in their prime?
Vivek W. (ESB): I like to have fun with a lot of the “fantasy” matchups on the radio show and with fight fans from time to time, but in reality, there’s no true way to really say in these cases. This one in particular is a very difficult matchup to assess. Trinidad had some very solid punching power, but the very element that he used to win nearly all of his matchups – as it relates to this case – would serve as both a curse and a blessing. GGG has a knack for coming straight ahead. And for those crafty enough to sidestep him, he has an uncanny ability to cut the ring off.
That works against most. But how would it have served him against a powerful puncher like Trinidad? How would GGG’s thunderous punches helped him against someone who comes straight ahead like Trinidad? The reality is that both men have great ability, but even though GGG has given us much to praise, I think it’s far too early in his career to say he would have been able to defeat a young and prime Trinidad. GGG had a hard enough time dealing with a far from great Rosado. But what that bout showed us was that all it took was great determination and heart, and the effort of GGG was quickly blunted, despite his victory the night they squared off.
I don’t think either man would have had an easy night, as Trinidad was a very hittable fighter. But I really think the power and tenacity of Trinidad would have made for a very difficult night for GGG. As much as I the idea of chewing on this particular “fantasy”, the one I would have preferred would have been Martinez vs Trinidad. I think Martinez’s speed, style, and toughness, would have been a very difficult puzzle for Trinidad to solve. We’ll never get to see any of those matchups, but if the Boxing gods align the stars properly, who knows? The day may come where we get the chance to witness a Martinez/GGG showdown. Stay tuned…..
Carlos N. (Irving, TX): There’s been a lot of talk about Mayweather/Pacquiao lately. What are your thoughts on this showdown potentially happening in the future?
Vivek W. (ESB): To be quite frank, it’s not a fight many really care to see at this stage. That being said, I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that Pacquiao is two victories, or one wicked KO away from having his credibility restored in the mind of those who felt Mayweather has “ducked” him from the beginning. I think right now there’s a concerted effort on behalf of Team Pacquiao to make the fight because there’s a realization that this type of money can’t come from any other source. That being said, I feel that any questions of the past are no longer questions of the present.
Unequivocally, Mayweather has carved his space out at the negotiating table as the head figure. Basically any chance of this fight being made comes down to Pacquiao’s level of acceptance when it comes to any stipulation Mayweather desires. Of course this is offset by a potential Mayweather loss against Canelo. But all things remaining in tact, Pacquiao and his team knows full well that they don’t have much room to press any issues outside of bottomline economics. Drug testing will be blood based, random, and unannounced. PPV cut will be at a less than 50 percentile placement. And the list goes on!
At the end of the day, I don’t know that it’s necessary to even open this debate on a large scale, for the simple fact that both Pacquiao and Mayweather have their hands full with assignments that could go totally wrong by the end of the nights. Pacquaio hasn’t looked good in his previous 3 fight, as one was won in controversy (Marquez III), one lost in controversy (Bradley), and won taken without chance of controversy (Marquez IV). Many are quick to note that his next opponent, Brandon Rios, is an easy to hit target. To those that feel this way, my response would beckon, “since when has Pacquiao been hard to hit”? It’s equal footing for both men, and I think the chance for upset is far greater than many believe.
Before I entertain the thought of these two men squaring off, I need to see a version of Pacquiao that does well under the current testing format, as the more stringent the test have been, the less like himself he has appeared lately. I don’t know what that says or doesn’t say, but I do know a mental note was taken! So, lets see him weather this storm….and lets see Mayweather conquer this mountain….THEN we can give such a consideration some type of leverage. Until then, it’s just talk. And frankly, the type of talk few people truly want to stop and listen to at this juncture.
(Vivek “Vito” Wallace can be heard on Left-Hook Lounge Radio every Monday night at 9ET/6PT. He can also be reached at Twitter (@vivekwallace747), Instagram (ViveksView), and FaceBook).