Thoughts from ‘The Brain’: ‘Money’ Mayweather – Massive talent, massive waste
By Martin ‘The Brain’ Potter of the Boxing Clever Podcast: What makes a truly great fighter? Is it the number of titles he has won? Is it the amount of money he has made? Is it the quality of fighters he has faced? In the mind of Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather, having captured the titles and made the money, his somewhat skewed logic leads him to believe he is the greatest fighter of all time. However, as unpalatable as it may be for Mayweather and his acolytes, he is not, in my opinion, the greatest fighter of his era, or even the best fighter in the world today.
Article posted on 20.01.2011
Despite my sentiments above, I am a huge admirer of little Floyd’s boxing talents. An almost impregnable defence, lighting fast hands, laser like precision counter punching and an innate ability to control a fight – what’s not to admire? If talent was the only prerequisite for being the best boxer on the planet then Mayweather would be number one. Yet to be pound for pound number one and, even more so, to be truly great you need a lot more than talent. You need commitment, you need an appetite to meet the best, you need a willingness to take on bigger and bolder challenges and the resolve to overcome adversity. I don’t believe that Mayweather has displayed these qualities enough, certainly in the past five years, to warrant the praise he lavishes upon himself.
At the start of his career, and probably up until he moved out of the lightweight division, Floyd did fight the best. At super featherweight and lightweight he took on the likes of Hernandez, Corrales and Castillo. It could be argued though that Floyd took these fights because he had to, he wasn’t the superstar he is today and couldn’t afford to pick and choose his opposition. He can now.
After moving to light welter, Floyd could have faced the division’s number one, the hard hitting Kostya Tszyu. He didn’t. Floyd could have faced the new light welter sensations at the time, Ricky Hatton or Miguel Cotto. He didn’t. Instead Floyd started down the path he has pretty much trodden ever since; the one of least resistance.
At welterweight Floyd would tell you that he faced the linear champion at the time, Carlos Baldomir. Yet Baldomir had won the belt from the erratic Zab Juddah and made only one defence against the out-of-his weight class, faded, Arturo Gatti, before Floyd beat him (on points, of course). At welter Mayweather could have faced Margarito, Williams, Cotto, Berto and, of course, Manny Pacquiao. Instead he has fought Baldomir, Juddah, an over-the-hill Mosley and smaller men like Hatton and Marquez. He did face De La Hoya at light middle, but again Oscar was on the slide and money was surely the biggest lure for ‘money’ in that fight.
I am not going to bang on about Pacquiao, that drum has been beaten more than… (Insert your own gag here; I don’t want to get sued!) All I will say is that despite the huge ego and undeniable talent, I can’t help but feel that Floyd, under the surface, is not as confident as he appears. Floyd wants as much cash as possible when he does chose to fight, for as little risk as possible. It seems that he doesn’t want to take fights that he knows he might have the slightest risk of losing. Compare that to Sugar Ray Leonard, a fighter Floyd has compared himself to (favourably, obviously!) Leonard took on Benitez, Duran, Hearns and then, after a three year break, came back and fought Marvin Hagler. That is the mark of a truly great fighter.
Some may argue that it is absurd to question the greatness of a boxer who has had more belts, bucks and broads than ‘normal’ world champions, let alone us mere mortals, can dream of. However I am judging Mayweather against the esteemed company that he has judged himself against, the likes of Ray Leonard, Ray Robinson and Ali. I am judging Floyd not as a ‘normal’ world champion, but as a fighter who believes he is one of the best of all time. In that respect, at this stage of his career, I don’t believe that Floyd quite measures up.
I sincerely hope we see Mayweather in the ring again and I sincerely hope it is not too late to say this, but: Floyd, ditch the ‘money’, bring back the ‘pretty boy’, fight the best and earn yourself a place among the greatest of all time – A place that your talent deserves to be.
For more opinions from ‘The Brain’ listen to the Boxing Clever Podcast, available on iTunes or at www.boxingcleverpodcast.libsyn.com or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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