By Kirk Jackson
He did it, he tied Rocky Marciano. As expected, Floyd Mayweather was successful in his bid to reach the monumental mark of 49 wins, 0 defeats, as he easily outclassed Andre Berto this past weekend.
This was another day in the office for Mayweather, another pay day of eight figures, another notch in his belt and another feather in his cap.
With his recent victory, Mayweather rides off into the sunset undefeated as one of the greatest fighters in recent memory if not “TBE” (The Best Ever) and certainly as the wealthiest prize fighter.
Leading into the fight with Berto, Mayweather and his people consistently stated this would be his final fight.
Watching this final event unfold, we witnessed Mayweather act somewhat in an uncharacteristic manner; he was having fun inside the ring, it seemed like this could be the last time we see him in the ring.
Many remain skeptical in this being the last time we see Mayweather inside the boxing ring and for good reason. Rarely does a boxer or any top level athlete for that matter, leave the sport on a winning note. We rarely witness an athlete leave on top showcasing prowess and mastery of their craft.
Former quarterback for the Denver Broncos John Elway and former shooting guard for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards Michael Jordan come to mind. For Jordan, his first two retirements with the Bulls were picturesque.
For a boxer, it’s a little bit different.
Mike Tyson retired on his stool, after essentially receiving a beat down from a fringe contender he referred to as a “Tomato Can.”
Sadly, Muhammad Ali was beaten to a pulp by the likes of Larry Holmes and Trevor Berbick during his twilight years as a prize fighter.
Sugar Ray Robinson and Sugar Ray Leonard suffered defeats on their way out the door. As did Oscar De La Hoya and Felix Trinidad.
Roy Jones is still an active fighter unfortunately despite being long removed from his physical prime and is in a downward trajectory. Imagine if he would have retired after capturing the heavyweight title back in 2003? Maybe he would be regarded as the best ever.
But it’s hard to go out on top. Lennox Lewis, Joe Calzaghe and Ricardo Lopez retired on a winning note. And of course the great Rocky Marciano retired undefeated.
It’s a difficult task comparing Mayweather to any of the aforementioned fighters, as there were different paths traveled by each fighter.
Instead of creating unnecessary dissension, all we can really do is celebrate and appreciate each fighter’s contribution to the sport of boxing.
As he danced and celebrated en route to a unanimous decision during the finals moments of his fight against Berto, this past year for Mayweather was a ceremonial victory lap for him so to speak.
Mayweather is often regarded as a dodger of competition, while critics and casual fans constantly critique his fighting style stating he runs too much. All of which is far from the truth.
Hard to dodge competition if your record boasts the statistic of 26 championship fights and defeating 24 world champions over the course of 49 bouts.
But if we were to draw similarities of Mayweather’s career to that of a marathon runner, Mayweather is the type of athlete showcasing nothing but consistence the entire race.
A race he led most of the way, creating even greater distance during the last lap and enjoying his view as he crossed the finish line victorious.
Mayweather dominated the sport; simultaneously snatching the mythical pound for pound title held by great fighters such as Ray Robinson, Pernell Whitaker, Roy Jones and Bernard Hopkins. Mayweather also seized the Pay-Per-View crown once donned by stars such as Tyson, Evander Holyfield and De La Hoya.
His dominance exceeds the realm of boxing; a case can be made as the most dominant athlete during his athletic campaign.
Over the past 15 years, Serena Williams is the only other athlete comparable to Mayweather. As great as she is, she has fallen short on a few occasions. Other athletes to consider would be Tom Brady, LeBron James, Roger Federer, Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning, Lionel Messi and Tiger Woods.
The context of their dominance is hard to compare because of the various contrasts between sports. But it’s quite the testament to even be in the conversation.
For all the flack he gets for “Cherry-picking” opponents, he has one of the more impressive resumes in boxing and has called out fighters on many occasions.
Mayweather is 26-0 (10 KO’s) in world title fights, has a record of 23-0 (9 KO’s) in lineal title fights and has a record of 24-0 (7 KOs) against former or current world titlists.
Mayweather has a record of 12-0 (3 KO’s) against former or current lineal titlists and a record of 2-0 (1 KO) against International Boxing Hall of Fame inductees. When it’s all said it done the number of victories over Hall of Famers could potentially increase to 10.
Put into context, he beat guys of yester year, beat the guys from his era and beat the young bucks of the sport.
Mayweather captured 12 world titles across five weight divisions. The only other fighters to capture world titles in five weight classes or more include Tommy Hearns, Manny Pacquiao (8 divisions), Oscar De La Hoya (6 divisions) and Sugar Ray Leonard.
Another staggering statistic is the punch stats from Mayweather according to Compubox. Leading up to his fight with Berto, Mayweather has the highest plus/minus rating amongst all active fighters, holding a rating of plus 24.
That number will only increase as he finished the fight landing 57% of his punches (232 landed out of 410 thrown) while limiting Berto to 17% (83 punches landed out of 495 thrown).
Love him or hate him, numbers don’t lie. Speaking of numbers, his Pay-Per-View numbers are insane. Excluding the Berto bout, Mayweather has a total of 14 PPV Events, approximately 19,000,000 buys and $1,273,000,000 in revenue.
He has career earnings of over half a billion dollars. It may be one of the reasons why rival Manny Pacquiao trolled Mayweather on social media during the “Retirement Fight.”
Aside from sour grapes, the obvious trolling is partially related to Pacquiao trying to get a lucrative rematch with Mayweather.
Whether you enjoy the “Money” persona or not, his flair, his villainous personality certainly grabbed the attention of many.
Boxing is a hot topic, boxing is thriving again and has been for a while now. There is consistent discussion on shows like ESPN’s “First Take,” and there are other athletes like UFC stars Ronda Rousey and Connor McGregor emulating the Money Mayweather style.
Mayweather will be missed. He is a charismatic character, a true entertainer. Like Timothy Bradley mentioned, who else is going to talk trash, hit the punching bag while holding a stack of money and back up his trash talk by dominating his opponents? Even the haters will miss him. Who else will you passionately root against?
And as with the course of nature, someone else will step up and pick up the mantle now that Mayweather has left the scene.
Let’s hope this is the last we see of Floyd Mayweather. Enjoy your victory lap.