Floyd Mayweather Jr is often called the ‘greatest fighter of all time’ by many boxing fans and media members, but is he really the best ever?
When you look at the body of work that Mayweather has put together during his long career up until he retired in 2015, you’d say he’s certainly among the best.
So many boxing fans dislike Mayweather, which makes him popular because they want to see him lose. But if you want to compare Mayweather to the best, guys like Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali, you can’t. Mayweather was too careful with his match-making, and his fighting style was too risk advertise.
If Robinson and Ali never took risks during their careers, and if they hand-picked opposition that they were certain they could beat the way Mayweather has done, they’d have ended their careers with far better records.
But that’s not how Robinson and Ali played it. They wanted to strive to be the best, not the best at carefully picking only guys they knew they could beat.
It’s hard to say that Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs) is the best, largely because of the careful match-making once he moved up to 147 and 154. There were too many fighters that Mayweather didn’t fight, and we saw his controversial wins over Marcos Maidana and Jose Luis Castillo.
Floyd’s fighting style was dull to watch for many boxing fans because it mostly jabs and safety-first type of fighting. Mayweather never took the kinds of risks that Sugar Ray Robinson or Muhammad Ali did on offense or when choosing his opponents.
Mayweather was an opportunist, and we’re still seeing that now with him hand-picking Logan Paul and Conor McGregor to fight. Floyd isn’t taking risks the way that Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali did during their careers.
Mayweather barely beat a fading Oscar De La Hoya after the ‘Golden Boy’ had already lost twice to Shane Mosely, Bernard Hopkins, and Felix Trinidad. It’s easy to imagine that De La Hoya of the late 1990s likely would have beaten Mayweather.
What you can say is that Mayweather did a good job of making money by carefully picking his opponents and becoming his own promoter. Mayweather fought many guys at the right time when they were fading or, in Canelo Alvarez’s case, still too young to be a threat to him.
Mayweather’s main competition for the best ever:
- Sugar Ray Robinson
- Muhammad Ali
- Salvador Sanchez
- Sugar Ray Leonard
- Archie Moore
You have to put Robinson at #1 and Ali #2, Sugar Ray Leonard #3, Moore #4, and Sanchez #5. Had Salvador Sanchez lived longer, he might have been the greatest fighter ever.
“I wouldn’t say the best ever. He’s the best of his generation,” said Johnny Nelson to Sky Sports. “Mayweather is a master of the sweet science. Hit and don’t get hit. That’s what boxing is all about.
The crowd may want to see someone get knocked out, but he has perfected that style like a fine art. He is one of the few fighters in the modern generation that really appreciate the sweet science and still manage to gain the massive financial rewards.
“How has he managed to create such a vast fortune and attention? Technically he is supreme. You go there to watch him win or lose. He’s either the villain or your hero,” said Nelson.
What made Mayweather so successful is the way he brags about himself, and this makes many boxing fans want to see him lose.
In some respects, Mayweather is like a troll with the way he angers fans by patting himself on the back for his accomplishments and calling himself the best.
This writer can’t call Mayweather the best of all time, and he can’t call him the best of this era either. He was too careful with the opposition he fought. His fighting style was too safety-first to compare him favorably to guys like Canelo Alvarez, Miguel Cotto, Oscar De La Hoya, and Shane Mosley.