By Ben Hoskin: Many column inches have been spent discussing the larger than life character that is Floyd Mayweather Junior. He divides opinion like no other partly due to his extravagance but mostly because he still has that unbeaten resume which all boxers in close proximity to his weight want to tarnish.
Brash, cocky, arrogant and insolent are many of the adjectives bestowed upon “pretty boy” and they’re just some of the nice ones! Mayweather will never be beloved like some of the all time greats such as Ray Robinson, Ali and Marciano. This could be in part explained by the era we live in. Social media and reality documentaries bring access to all facets of the lives of celebrities. Whereas now we see Floyd flash wads of dollars like confetti, boxing royalty of yesteryear had no invasion into their private lives. No doubt some of the lustre of these previous champions would have dulled if we’d been afforded fly on the wall coverage. Some may say Floyd courts the spotlight with his outspoken braggadocio. Ultimately though, the more egotistical his boasts are the more the casual fan will pay to see him finally vanquished in the square circle! Money talks and nobody makes more than the “money man”.
Aside from the cocksure braggart resides an astute businessman. Mayweather realises the more contentious his comments the more dollars he’ll be compensated for putting his health on the line. Progress waits for no man and Floyd is fortunate he lives in an era where top sportsmen are paid huge sums of money to entertain the public as opposed to the relative pittance his forebears received. So what if he is a multi-millionaire. To stay at the level he has and command such purses is commensurate with a supremely gifted athlete and lets not escape this fact. Floyd Mayweather is a genius in the ring whether we like him or not. If I’m being honest, I’m not his biggest fan as I’ve always loved the blood and thunder types, Duran, Tyson, Nigel Benn, Gatti etc but none of the aforementioned had the ring craft of Floyd. An early iteration of Duran would have given Floyd plenty of problems but eventually the frustration of missing this elusive practitioner would have given the Panamanian fits.
You have to ask yourself what is left for Floyd to achieve? Does he continue feasting on very capable but limited fighters in respect to his own ability and retire in the next year or two at most? Does he have to fight a lot bigger men to satisfy us, the paying public? Does he have the long mooted super-fight with the now visibly ageing Pacquaio? The final decision rests with the man himself and it wouldn’t surprise me if he has a final payday against a relatively easy to beat opponent such as a Guerrero or Khan for a swansong. With the skillset he has, age will erode those attributes sooner rather than later so best get out with the 0 intact before a young buck usurps him.
When this multi-divisional champion does finally hang up the gloves, where will he be placed in the all-time lists? He has beaten all before him including fifteen world champions who held one of the big four straps, many of whom will be enshrined in the hall of fame which is the yardstick for greatness. As so often happens with retired stars his legacy will be cherished far more than his current status. Forgotten will be his boasting, instead his superlative skills will be applauded. This isn’t an article “bigging up” Floyd Mayweather, it is an honest appraisal of a boxer unique for his time. I can see no current boxer capturing the imagination quite like him but history has taught us another will eventually. Until that time arrives let us marvel at his ethereal talent, we can count ourselves damn fortunate we were around when he demonstrated his finesse. Remember, the foundation of the great sport of boxing is to hit and not be hit and Floyd “pretty boy” Mayweather is undoubtedly one of the finest produced!