Over the weekend, I’m sure you called all of your gente to invite them over or secure a spot to watch “The Fight.” All along, Floyd Mayweather told us it was going to be a great fight, the Fight of the Century. And as Michael Buffer delivered his signature, “Let’s get ready to rumble!” moments before the bout, you got chills for what hoped to be a Hagler/Hearns, Duran/Sugar Ray, Ali/Frazier sort of match. After all, this is the fight that todo el mundo had waited for, right?
Little did you know, you’d be witnessing the same snoozefest that you witness with just about every other Floyd Mayweather “fight.” There was no fight, there was no Fight of the Century and there was no rumbling. We’ve all been cashed out of our $100 and bamboozled by the man who calls himself “the best ever.” In Mayweather’s defense, as phenomenal as it is, we can say that Manny Pacquiao could not and did not bring the rumble either. But we found out, Manny isn’t the man to solve the Floyd Mayweather riddle—in my opinion, you would need a Roberto Duran who could knock Floyd off his game.
And we can now all say that Floyd Mayweather was never, is never and never will be the best ever. Don’t believe me? Read on.
I don’t know if Floyd truly believes he’s the best ever or if he just uses his own bravado to sell fights. If he can get more people to hate him, more people will buy his fights because they want to see him get knocked out. He does get paid based on the number of pay-per-view buys, which is the fuel he uses to say he’s the best ever. It’s somewhat genius. But if we were actually analyzing boxing’s best, and even other sports, Floyd doesn’t match up where he says he does.
As a sports fan, I’ve studied some of the best athletes in the world. Boxing has suffered in popularity in the past few years, perhaps due to the boom of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and boxing’s lack of star power. However, we can’t undermine Floyd’s accomplishments—a champion in five divisions, undefeated, currently the highest paid athlete in the world. I like to think that some of Floyd’s best traits are his technicality, fluidity of movement, versatility and of course, his defensive acumen. His ability to hit and not be hit are among some of the best in this era’s sport.
Some will say that Floyd has never seriously been rocked (except for the Shane Mosley fight). That’s impressive because Floyd’s taken on everyone now that he’s fought Manny Pacquiao. I admit that Floyd is a defensive genius, but so was say, Mike Tyson. If you don’t believe me, watch these two videos side by side and compare which boxer (in his prime) is better defensively. Considering that boxing is just as much a defensive sport as it is an offensive one, this is an important factor to consider when thinking about who may be the best of all time.
What you’ll find in these videos is that the two both have very great, above average, comparable defensive skills. Floyd has the ability to stifle fighters with his quickness—taking away angles to hit him. His signature “shoulder roll” doesn’t allow for punches to connect to his head. Contrarily, Mike’s “peak-a-boo” style allowed him to dodge punches —ducking, side to side movement, leaning/pivoting in every direction— and counter with extreme force.
I’m glad Mike has been outspoken in Floyd’s claims of being the best ever. Because before the calamity, before losing his grip, before the addiction, Mike Tyson could make a case himself for the best ever. Undersized at 5’10”, Mike became the youngest unified heavyweight champion of all time for a reason. Specifically, he was destroying people. Floyd is a great counter-puncher, but so was Mike. And look at the result of some of those counterpunches. Mike destroyed everything he touched. When’s the last time Floyd knocked someone out? (A punch-drunk Ricky Hatton doesn’t count.)
But we’ll give Floyd the benefit of the doubt. In my opinion, you can’t be the best ever in the sport of boxing if you don’t have any power. Power to hurt someone and power to knock someone out. So defensively, we could compare Floyd and Mike. But from the attacking side, it’s not even close. If anything, Floyd is the most boring fighter ever. Why? Because as flashy as he talks (claiming he blows fighters out) you’d think he was Mike Tyson’ing everybody. Yeah, sure Mike fought some tomato cans, but he also finished them the way you’re supposed to. KO’s. Imagine Mike saying that he’s the best ever and all he did was jab people for 12 rounds and disengage (hold) at every chance.
Floyd’s biggest critics can no longer say that he ducked Manny Pacquiao. But we waited five years for that? The pro-Mayweather camp is saying that Floyd is not a knockout artist and he exemplified the “hit and not be hit” strategy. I’ll give Mayweather that, but how can you be the best ever when you don’t stand toe to toe? If Mayweather is so great, why not knock out his opponents or at least hurt them a bit? Most of the boxers Floyd fights are frustrated after the fight, not beat up. Isn’t this a fight or a game of tag?
Now, as Floyd says he’ll fight one last time, we ponder whom he might select. It’s sad that there aren’t any real contenders anymore who can work their way up the ranks and challenge the champion. Floyd can choose and politick his opponents for optimal payouts and perhaps even easy fights. Today, the sport is more about business than who’s the better boxer, and that’s part of the reason many say that boxing is dead. For these reasons, I can legitimately say we’ll never know who the best is.
Another major strike against Floyd are his histrionics. Look, let’s put it this way, if you’re the best in the world you don’t have to talk the way Floyd does. After Saturday’s fight, Floyd stands on the ropes at the ring corner shouting out what we can only imagine are boasting obscenities while the fans boo. Was Sugar Ray ever booed? Did Jack Johnson have to gloat after fights, perhaps to compensate for what wasn’t done in the ring?
Furthermore, imagine Barry Sanders making a racist rant against one of his opponents. Imagine Michael Jordan calling into a radio station and getting into an argument with a DJ because the DJ was hating on MJ. Someone could make a case that in order to be the greatest of anything, you must have a certain level of class. Some grace. Perhaps this legitimizes you as a true great?
In his prime, if you asked MJ if he was the greatest ever, he would say that he didn’t know because he never played against of the rest of the true NBA legends. Keep in mind that at this time pretty much the entire world recognized Jordan to be better than Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson. Jordan did things that people dreamed of, things out of this world.
When Jim Brown was asked if he thought he was the best ever, his response was that he would not respond to the question because he didn’t want to seem pompous. Michael Jordan and Jim Brown were two players in their respective sports that people resoundingly viewed as the best ever. Can Floyd be placed in the same category as these two? Has Floyd done things that we’ve never seen, things in the ring that we’ll be amazed by years later? Can he ever stand toe-to-toe and fight? Can his work stand alone and transcend time? Can his work be examined from every angle of competition/athleticism and be identified unequivocally as “the best?” Furthermore, what adversity did Floyd ever face? Compare his career to the Tom Molineauxs, Jackie Robinsons and the Muhammad Alis of the world, and then we’ll talk.
I write this because Floyd boasts that he’s the best ever and he’s clearly not. No offense to any Floyd lovers, but this argument isn’t even close. I’ll admit that Floyd was more aggressive offensively in his younger years, but perhaps he was more hungry then. Floyd might hate everyone, which is why he continues to give us viewers shitty fights. I don’t think he’s willing to engage with fighters because he’s scared. Employing a better safe than sorry mantra doesn’t equate to being the best ever, either. You win the people over by giving them what they want to see and the people want to see hands thrown. We’ll remember less talented fighters because they stood mano a mano. And that’s a shame for Floyd, because it takes away from how talented he really is.
Floyd Mayweather: The Best Never. And I’ve only used a small metric to measure this. I haven’t even touched his private life, which is deplorable, but I won’t go there just yet. If anyone has a rebuttal, I’m all ears.