Floyd Mayweather vs the All Time Greats Part II
23.12.07 - by William Pinkard II: Okay, roughly a month ago I posted an article that compared Floyd Mayweather to Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali, and Sugar Ray Leonard. In that article I took a quantitative approach to comparing the most important areas of a fighter from quality of opposition, to speed etc. In that comparison I had Mayweather coming up short, not by much but still coming up short.
Article posted on 25.12.2007
Since then we all have been able to witness his destruction of Ricky Hatton, and I have read hundreds of articles, posts etc that now want to either place him as the greatest ever to lace ‘em up, or posts that simply tear him down and do not give credit where credit is due..
I would like to offer my view on Mayweather, since the Hatton fight. First off, he is with out a doubt the best pound per pound fighter today. Yes he has not fought the best Welterweights out there. Cotto, Williams, and the others would be a very good test for Mayweather. However, he clearly cannot fight them all, and when is enough ever enough. I personally think he needs to fight and beat Cotto, to add substance to his reign at Welterweight. It is kind of like when Ray came out in 87, what if he fought McCallum instead of Hagler? Ray would have been eaten alive by the media because Hagler was the best Middleweight around at that time. Hatton, Judah, Baldomir, none of these fighters is the best in the welterweight division. Hatton was undefeated as a Jr. Welterweight and struggled mightily vs. Collazo in his only other fight at Welter. Collazo is the man who was slaughtered by Mosley this year. Those are good wins no doubt, but can anyone look themselves in the mirror and honestly say beating those fighters along with Corrales, Hernandez, and Delarosa (entering the Mayweather fight he had lost 4 of his previous 11 fights) is equal to the exploits of Leonard.
I keep hearing flawed analysis that states we should rank Mayweather as best ever because he has won titles in 5 different divisions with out a loss. This is no doubt a great accomplishment, but should we not factor in the quality of competition that he faced in winning these titles. Last I checked it is commonplace when arguing about quality of opposition you usually use the generally accepted overall opinion of each fighter when discussing how good an opponent he was. Example, it is commonly accepted that Gatti is a good fighter but not an Aaron Pryor or Julio Caesar Chavez. So we give Mayweather credit for moving up and winning the title, but how much praise do you give him for beating Gatti ? Thus we settle down on the real meat and potatoes of the debate, which is the quality of the champions he beat in his 18-0 title run which garnered him 5 titles with out a defeat. I would then compare it to a fighter who also has 5 titles and compare the quality of his resume.
Mayweather resume includes
Jose luis Castillo
Oscar De La Hoya
While this is a very impressive list of names, there is not one single fighter on that resume that Mayweather was not supposed to beat. He entered each fight as the betting favorite. These are good names, but none of them are fighters that were at their peak, most efficient fighting weight, and considered a great fighter at the same time. Not a one of them.
Compare that too Leonard’s resume
Davey Boy Green
Duran when Ray had faced him twice was 71-1 and only 29 years old. This myth he was in the twilight of his career if bogus. He went on the win titles 2 divisions north and fought on for another 20 years. How can you give Mayweather credit for Baldomir or DLH and not count Duran for Leonard. Hearn’s was the beating favorite (7-5) to beat Ray in 81. Hearn’s himself was heads and shoulders above any fighter Mayweather dreamed of fighting. Mayweather is avoiding Williams and Margerito, both not the talent of Mayweather, however they are big Welters that stylistically would be Mayweather’s biggest challenge to date. If he avoids these fighters, do you think he would even think of fighting Tommy Hearns? Benitez was a two-division champ, undefeated at the time, and went on to win a title at 154. He was always considered one of the best defensive fighters of our time. Then you have Hagler, who was only 32. I repeat only 32 years of age. He had not lost in 10 years, had stopped 90% of the challengers to his middleweight throne. He just came off a sensational ko of Mugabi, who was undefeated at that time. Keep in mind Leonard had 1 fight since 82, which was 3 years prior to his fight with Hagler.
Many of you wonder why I would through out names such as Kalule, Davey Boy Green and Lalonde. I did this because that is the equivalent of the fighters that Mayweather fought. These are good wins but not what makes legends. So why is beating Judah, Baldomir, Hatton, and DLH enabling people to say May weather is the greatest ever. I think that Mosley, Whitaker, Leonard, Hearns, etc…. all would be undefeated had they had same path of fighters to face for titles. Much is made of Mayweather being undefeated, and it is a great feather in his cap. I ask one to consider this. Mosley was undefeated too, ‘till he risked it vs. a big Welterweight, Forrest. Then he risked it vs. Winky Wright, and now Cotto. Mayweather has not dreamed of fighting not one of these 3 and they are all out there for him to fight now. If not them, then fighters that pose the same risk. Mosley was at the same place Mayweather was, the best pound per pound in the sport. In fighting DLH in 2000 at welterweight he beat a fighter 10 times better than Mayweather has faced. However, he risked it, Mayweather is not taking that risk and thus protecting his 0, not electing to fight Cotto, Williams or a big name Jr. Middle or Middle in their prime.
Is Mayweather the best today? Yes, with out a doubt, but to read how some fans appoint him as best all time, this simply is a joke. Let him fight Cotto, then Williams and we will revisit where we rank him. However, the term “all-time” does not have to be bestowed on every fighter that dominates a certain era. Least we forget. When we anoint a fighter best of all time, that means he has done things vs. the best out there that no one else has done. That fighter also has to earn it based on performances vs. the best in the ring. Too many times we here that Leonard was lucky to have Duran, Hearns, Hagler, etc. I agree, but Leonard went out and earned his place inside the ring. Leonard got a loss because he risked it vs. a fighting legend. Would Mayweather have a 0 if he faced a Duran ,Hagler, or a Hearns. In my opinion he would have lost only to one of these fighters because he would not have signed to face Hearns or Hagler. Maybe Mayweather could have beaten a Duran or Hearns, or Roy Jones could have done so too, but they did not beat the all time greats therefore we can give then what they earned, that is the best fighter in their era, and dominant over a division or divisions. However in comparison to Ali, or Leonard or Robinson, their quality of opposition pales. It is as simple as that. You can pile up 40 title fight victories, but just like how the NCAA looks at strength of schedule, I don’t think Mayweather, based off his resume, would be getting an invitation to the Championship game over Leonard , Ali, or Robinson.
Fortunately for Mayweather he still has time to take the risk that Leonard took by fighting someone like a Hagler or a Hearns. No there is not a top all time fighter at his peak out there, but he could fight Cotto Williams, and then Kelly Pavlik or Jermaine Taylor, depending on who wins their rematch. Hmmm I can hear the Mayweather fans screaming how crazy that would be now. Why would he have to fight a middleweight to prove his all time greatness along side Leonard or Robinson, when he started out at 130. I ask you all to do your research. What weight class did Robinson start out at, and in his title march, did Robinson have the Jr welter, and Jr middle weight division belts available for him to add. NO, Therefore comparing may weathers titles to Robinsons is ignorant. Look more at the fact that Robinson fought and beat great fighters well into his mid 30’s at the middleweight division., He also was winning easily the fight at light heavy weight, until the heat stopped him, not the opposition. Leonard fighting Hagler after 5 years with only 1 fight is enormous. Nothing Mayweather could dream of doing could match that, unless he fought Taylor or Pavlik. If Mayweather fought the best Welterweights and the best Middleweight, then you can say he took the same risks that Mayweather and Robinson took. Then we could rightfully argue that it is not Mayweathers fault that Hearns, Hagler or Duran was not available for him, but he did what he had to do buy beating the best Welterweights around, big welters, Fighters at their peak, and took the same huge risk that Leonard took when he fought Hagler, but getting in the ring vs. a Taylor or Pavlik, Yes is is a lot to ask, but we are comparing him to fighters that gave us a lot. Keep in mind that back when Robinson and Leonard fought, they had to weigh in the day of, at the division’s weight limit. Thus when we say Leonard was a welterweight, he truly was a welterweight. Based on the fact that we know Mayweather had to go days with out eating before some of his fights at the 130 and 135 pound limits, I wonder what he actually weighted the day of the fight, since now they weigh weight you a entire day before the fight, which allows you to put weight on. I would guess he was at least 140 coming into the ring. This is important because Mayweather probably was fighting at the welterweight limit (when there was no jr Welterweight division) based on his fighting weight under the rules of Leonard or Robinson’s era. Just something that those that get on here and talk about Mayweather is better than Robinson or Leonard please do your research. Please.
Thanks for taking the time to read.
previous article: Malignaggi/Ngoudjo: Fighters Working Hard Through The Holidays
next article: My Eyes on Floyd Mayweather