As fight fans know, Floyd Mayweather Junior reached the incredible milestone of 50-0 as a pro boxer on Saturday night with his stoppage win over a debut-making Conor McGregor. However, not everyone is willing to accept that “Money” has really, truly, honestly beaten heavyweight legend Rocky Marciano’s famous 49-0 ledger.
One of these people is Rocky Marciano Junior, who told The New York Post that in his opinion Mayweather’s 50th win came in an “exhibition” bout and that Floyd’s 50-0 record should have one big asterisk placed on it.
“To me, it’s an exhibition fight,” Marciano Jr. said. “I think it definitely should [have an asterisk]. There’s such a big difference from the boxing ring to a UFC octagon, and it’s such a big learning curve. Mayweather’s had an incredible career and he’s had 20 years of greatness, but I would honestly give a boxer who has come up through the amateur ranks, having his first pro fight more of a chance than McGregor. The fight went pretty much the way I expected it to go. Mayweather knew that McGregor would tire in the later rounds.”
On paper, Mayweather’s 50th win counts, as the McGregor fight was sanctioned as a pro fight, but many people agree with Marciano Junior’s take on things – Bob Arum included. In any case, as Marciano’s son says, Rocky’s record, for being the only heavyweight king to have retired unbeaten, still stands.
Marciano Jr. spoke of how his father was very much tempted to attempt to reach 50-0 himself, being offered somewhere between $800,000 to $1 million – an incredible sum back in the 1950s – to come back.
“He was offered a big lump sum of money to come out of retirement – I don’t know, I heard numbers, $800,000, $1 million – and he was still in his mid-30s,” Rocky’s son explained. “He got in training and he wanted to see how he felt, and he realised, it’s hard to take that break and come back into it. He just realised, he couldn’t do that anymore. He could go through the motions and make another big paycheck – maybe win, maybe lose – but he wasn’t gonna risk that record, and risk his legacy.”
It’s very possible that had Marciano gone ahead with what would’ve been his 50th fight, he would have lost (he would have fought the super-fast new champ Floyd Patterson) and we would not now be having a debate over whether or not Mayweather has or has not beaten his 49-0 record. Marciano, at 49-1, would not be the towering boxing immortal he is today.
But Marciano was smart and he stayed retired. Will Mayweather – whether you view him as 49-0 or 50-0 – do likewise?