By Sean Crose
Something unsettling has caught my attention. Whenever an article about Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather appears here at Boxing Insider, the publication is often accused of bias. Certain individuals, you see, apparently believe we’re a bunch of “Floyd haters.”
Well, no one who performs an act of journalism wants to stand accused of being unfair – no one who’s any good at it, that is. Therefore, in order to silence the critics, I offer my sincere take on the fighter known as Money. Allow me to preface by stating this is not an act of sarcasm. In other words, the opinions I’m about to express are most certainly sincere.
First of all, Floyd Mayweather is, without doubt, the greatest boxer on the planet today. I simply cannot, with any certainty, name a fighter who I’m convinced could beat him. Sure, I could give Pacquiao a good chance. Bradley, too (if he had his head on straight and listened to his trainer). Still, I could never comfortably say that either of those men could best Mayweather in the ring.
The thing is, Mayweather has, in a sense, redefined the sport of boxing; both for better as well as for worse. Way back in 1892, when Jim Corbett defeated John L Sullivan for the heavyweight title, a newsman gushed over the fact that men like the brutal Sullivan were now being replaced in the ring by gentlemen like Corbett (after all, Corbett was called “Gentleman Jim).
What this reporter really meant, of course, was that the slick Corbett was making boxing less violent and more civilized. Well, Corbett could never have dreamed of how non-violent Mayweather has proven the sweet science can be. The man rarely knocks out opponents. In fact, he hardly ever even hurts them. Mayweather has turned boxing into a form of fencing, where the blade is replaced by a pair of gloved fists.
Truth be told, it can be less than thrilling at times, yet it’s amazing to behold. Floyd dodges, parries, and strikes with extraordinary accuracy. The man has proven to be nearly impossible to beat for a very good reason. He’s that talented.
He’s also that hardworking. Watching the guy in the gym shows fans that, for all the bling and bluster, Floyd is an exceedingly disciplined athlete who hits the grindstone daily to further master his craft. He may come across as glib, but Mayweather takes the sport of boxing with exceeding seriousness. His lifestyle outside the ring may not be worth emulating, but his work ethic is something worth pointing out to the young and impressionable.
On top of the craftsmanship and discipline, Floyd has a remarkable resume. He’s beaten some of the very best there is. And not all of them were an easy go. Jose Luis Castillo gave the man a hard time. So did Oscar De La Hoya (at least for a while).Ricky Hatton wasn’t a walk in the park for Mayweather. Neither was Miguel Cotto, for that matter. In summation, anyone who argues that Floyd has never challenged himself in the ring is kind of clueless. Mayweather has honestly proven throughout the course of his long career that he can stand shoulder to shoulder with the greats.
Speaking of which, I can think of only a few greats in Floyd’s general weight category who could possibly have beaten the man. Ray Leonard comes to mind. So does Tommy Hearns. Roberto Duran is a possibility, as, of course, is Ray Robinson. But that’s about it. And I’m certain Floyd would have beaten at least a few on that list.
So there it is, well-deserved and well-warranted praise for Floyd Mayweather, a guy who truly is one of the greatest to ever lace on a pair of gloves. Those who’ve seen Money fight will truly talk about how fantastic he was years after the man steps out of the ring for the final time. For he really is that extraordinary an athlete.
Now…can he please start facing real challenges again?