By: William Holmes
Is Floyd Mayweather Jr. the best ever (TBE)?
I’m not qualified to answer that. I wasn’t alive or old enough to watch Muhammad Ali, Willie Pep, Henry Armstrong, or Sugar Ray Leonard apply their craft inside the ring.
The best of this era? You’ll find no argument against that here.
Admittedly, I’ve never been a big fan of Mayweather. His history of domestic violence is impossible to ignore. His past racially insensitive negative comments towards Pacquiao and Jeremy Lin and his most ardent supporters lump sum generalizations of Pacquiao fans as “pactards” that don’t know s**t about boxing is a tiny peak into the very real discriminations and prejudices that Asians in the United States have to deal with every day.
But he’s the best in his craft, there’s no doubt about that.
Pacquiao has faced guys that are bigger than him his entire career. However, he’s never faced someone who has a significant reach advantage on him AND can match his hand speed. Pacquiao was deterred the minute Mayweather’s first straight right hand landed in the first round.
The only chance for Pacquiao to win that fight was to take a lot of risks and fight with reckless abandon an entire twelve rounds. He failed to do that.
Pacquiao claimed in the post-fight press conference that he had a tear in his right shoulder that prevented him from doing the things he wanted to do inside the ring. He also claimed that it really started to bother him in the third round.
However, Pacquaio’s best round of the night was during the fourth round when he was able to tag Mayweather with his straight left hand and then unleash combinations, with both hands, on him when Mayweather’s back was against the ropes.
Manny’s biggest issue in the fight was that he had nobody in his corner to be honest with him to tell him that he was losing on the cards in the last few rounds of the bout and that he needed to go for a knockout.
Does Manny deserve a rematch? I don’t think Manny would have done much better even if he was fully healthy, and as Mayweather correctly noted afterwards, boxers compete with injuries in the ring all the time. If his shoulder was that injured he probably should have postponed the bout, though the vitriol that would have followed would have been a nightmare for his team to handle.
If Pacquiao does want to pursue a rematch he better be ready to take a significantly smaller amount of money than what he made last night, and possibly leave Top Rank in order to make it happen. I don’t think Pacquiao will pursue that path.
What’s next for Pacquiao?
He should either retire and fully pursue his political career or drop to the junior welterweight division at the very least. He’s traditionally weighed in for fights while fighting in the welterweight division around 144 pounds and it wouldn’t be a stretch for him to make 140. It probably wouldn’t even be a stretch for him to make 135.
As Manny gets older his speed is going to decrease and he’s better off fighting against people who aren’t so much bigger than him. Surgery could sideline Pacquiao for a year and his in ring age is much older than his actual age.
What about Mayweather?
This was Mayweather’s crowning achievement of his career. He’s been dogged with allegations of cowardice for not fighting Pacquiao the past six years and he made his critics eat crow. While fighting for Showtime he’s defeated two boxers that are considered top five pound for pound by most in the boxing community, Pacquiao and Canelo.
Mayweather stated that he’s likely going to retire after fighting one more time in September. His most worthy opponent appears to be Keith Thurman, and there doesn’t appear to be many roadblocks in making that fight happen. But you can count out Mayweather fighting Amir Khan next. Khan’s adherence to Ramadan makes a September fight impossible
Mayweather also stated at the press conference that he’s giving up all of his belts in order to give other boxers an opportunity. Mayweather doesn’t need a belt to prove he’s the best in the world.
Mayweather also gave a lot of praise to his team and discussed his plan with Al Haymon to make nine figures in one fight one day, which became a reality yesterday.
Speaking of Al Haymon…..
The American Boxing Commission has sent newly appointed Attorney General Loretta Lynch a letter to look into alleged violations of the Ali act and Golden Boy Promotions will be filing a lawsuit against him.
I’m not sure how much time or resources the federal government is going to want to spend to look into Haymon’s business practices and I can’t see Golden Boy’s lawsuit slowing down his momentum.
Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) series looks to model itself after the UFC’s business model within MMA and I think Mayweather’s relinquishment of his titles shows a glimpse into their future plans to do away with sanctioning titles and keep a title in house.
Mayweather has one fight left in his contract with Showtime that he plans to fulfill. If, and likely when, he wins, he’ll be one fight away from breaking Rocky Marciano’s record. It seems like an excellent fight for the PBC to build their brand on.
A lot of casual boxing fans did not enjoy last night’s fight and expressed their lack of enthusiasm to ever buy a pay-per-view again. The boxing is dead argument has been said before and boxing has survived every time.
But to predict where boxing goes from here would be pure speculation, and isn’t that half the fun?