Defense Wins Championships
Floyd Mayweather is definitely among the most complete boxers I've ever seen. He is no doubt one of the craftiest defensive fighters of all time. His defense can only be compared with the likes of Parnell "Sweet Pea" Whitaker and other defensive specialists. The difference with Floyd and all the other great defensive fighters is that he could turn defense into offense much quicker, and is rarely ever out of position to throw while not taking big shots. Whether it be his shoulder roll or his great footwork he always avoids taking the power shots. It's not impossible to hit Mayweather clean, but he usually doesn't get hit with his opponents best shot. His incredible defense is part of the reason that he's never been defeated. That defense has allowed him to be one of the best, if not the best, counter punchers ever.
How has Mayweather Remained Unbeaten?
His skills have kept him unbeaten, but his fights have all been carefully chosen and he has rarely taken any risks during his run. He was 84-6 as an amateur. He didn't learn how to handle a loss, but he did learn how not to lose. Fight the right kind of opponents. It was part of the plan to never lose. He wanted to be the best Mayweather that ever boxed, better than his dad, Roger, and Jeff. I believe they wanted it too, just as Floyd hopes the future Mayweather's are better than him. He set the bar high. Floyd has always taken the path of least resistance. There is no doubt in my mind that Floyd's record is inflated, and I'll explain how and why I think so. In many ways I think it's clever and effective. There are those out there who really think Mayweather is the greatest of all time. He is one of the best, but he is not the greatest of all time, and especially not in any weight division. Make no mistake about it he has some of the best boxing skills of all time, but to be the best of all time isn't the path he took.
Why is Floyd Not the Greatest of All Time?
Floyd did what most every successful fighter does. He took a bunch of low risk fights to sharpen his skills at the pro level. In his first fifteen fights Floyd didn't fight anyone worth a damn, but then he fought Gustavo Fabian Cuello who had a record of 20-7. At that point he was two fights away from the featherweight title fight with Genaro Hernandez. The champ had never lost at 130 lbs. The featherweight division was not loaded at that point. Mayweather was ranked #2 pound for pound behind Roy Jones Jr at the end of 1998. Floyd had been noticed as he was stopping his opponents, but they were guys like Angel Manfredy and a washed up Emanuel Augustus. He never faced a real threat in the next six fights after beating Hernandez for the title. He was clearly the best fighter in the division, but then he ran into Chico.
Diego Corrales (33–0, with 27 KOs) was the best fighter Mayweather had ever faced. His size and punching power made him a real threat to the undefeated record. From a style standpoint Corrales looked like a real challenge, but Floyd was much quicker and dismantled the taller and stronger fighter. Mayweather was as good in the late 90's and early 2000's as he'd ever be. He wanted to be considered the best. Floyd was only fighting two to three times a year and moving up slowly through the weight classes.
At lightweight he'd face the third great fighter of his career when he fought two fights with Jose Luis Castillo. The first fight was closer than anyone ever expected as Mayweather only won by four points on most scorecards.
It was closer than anyone expected it to ever be, and for that reason most fans thought that Castillo did enough to win. There was little to no doubt that there would be a rematch between them. I scored the fight narrowly for Mayweather but he did beat Castillo.
Floyd had said after the first fight that he'd injured his rotator cuff in training camp leading up to their first fight. He didn't want to make excuses as he said other champions had done. I'm not sure what champions he was referring to and he didn't name any names, but I think the statement was designed to make him look better in the eyes of the fans.
Floyd immediately took the rematch knowing the first fight shouldn't have been so close. On December 7, 2002 the two of them would fight again. I again thought Mayweather won the second fight. When I saw Floyd fight I saw a quick elusive boxer, but I didn't think I was watching the greatest fighter of all time. He appeared to be a fighter who was slightly better than Castillo and Corrales who'd go on to have two epic bouts against each other.
Floyd would defend his title two more times before moving up in weight to light welterweight. Both Victoriano Sosa and Phillip Ndou had inflated records, but both had been top contenders for the lightweight title. Mayweather at one point would refer to his next fight as one of his toughest, but fans know Demarcus "Chop Chop" Corley wasn't a great fighter. He beat a better than average Corley at light welterweight.
You'll also hear Mayweather speak of his fight with Henry Bruseles as one of his best fights, but who is Henry Bruseles? Either way, at this point he'd won the right to fight only the fourth world class fighter of his career. He'd face Arturo "Thunder" Gatti for the WBC light welterweight championship.
At this point in Floyd's career he'd only faced four world class fighters and they were: Genaro Hernandez, Diego Corrales, Jose Luis Castillo, and Arturo Gatti.
After nine years in the sport he'd compiled a 34-0 record after beating Gatti for the light welterweight championship belt. That means he'd fought 30 fighters that he should have beaten, and only 4 that had any kind of shot against him. Floyd hadn't gone into any fight as the underdog.
Why did Floyd not stay longer at lightweight?
Either he was going to have problems making the weight or he didn't want to face top contender Miguel Cotto. Some boxing fans think he moved up because Arturo Gatti had the belt and he was no longer what he'd been. Maybe he was having problems making weight because he'd soon move up again to welterweight.
Zab Judah vs. Floyd Mayweather
When the two men met for the vacant IBF and WBO championships it was speed on top of speed. There were fans that believed Mayweather lost this fight, but I scored the fight for Mayweather by unanimous decision. Judah was a game fighter and he came to fight, however he didn't have the skills especially late to challenge Mayweather. Judah was the 5th world class boxer that Floyd faced.
I understand there are certain politics in boxing that prevent some fights from happening. There were fights that could have been there for Floyd, but he didn't choose to fight them or couldn't fight them for some reason. He'd catch some of them later when they just didn't have it anymore. He'd follow up his win over Judah with a win over washed up journeyman Carlos Baldomir.
Oscar De La Hoya
There are fans out there that believe this was Mayweather's 3rd loss. I don't think he lost this one or the Castillo and Judah fights. By 2007 Oscar didn't have it anymore. If this fight had taken place five years sooner I think Floyd would have been beat, but Mayweather was fighting at lightweight at the time.
This was the 6th world class fighter that Floyd faced, and the first HOF fighter. Oscar was past his prime and only a shadow of his former self. Still during the fight with Floyd I thought he picked up many early rounds. I think I scored it 7 to 5 Mayweather. It's been a little bit since I'd saw it, but I think I had it by that score. Floyd had moved up to light middleweight to fight Oscar, and then he vacated the title to move back down to welterweight.
Floyd was coming down in weight from his fight with Oscar, and Ricky Hatton was coming up from a win over Jose Luis Castillo. The same fighter that had two good fights with Floyd was knocked out by Ricky Hatton. The fight with Mayweather was promoted as "Undefeated".
Ricky has to be considered a world class fighter. The two losses to Mayweather and Pacquiao ruined his career. Mayweather was 39-0 and had beat his 7th elite fighter. There were those who might not consider Hatton world class and I can listen to that argument. After the Hatton fight Floyd retired from boxing.
When Floyd retired temporarily the spotlight went on Manny Pacquiao. When Floyd announced that he was making a comeback everyone started talking about the match up. They had fought some common opponents and continued to do so while not fighting each other.
Floyd had beat both Juan Manuel Marquez and Shane Mosley in his post retirement era. Both of these guys were world class fighters at one point, but by the time Mayweather had fought them they were washed up and would have struggled with B-Level fighters. Floyd knew they were not what they once had been although a knockout of Pacquiao was yet to come for Marquez, I still believe his better years had come and gone, or at the very least were going at that point. Mosley was much slower and not even a shadow of what he once was.
There were those who believed that Victor Ortiz could possibly upset Mayweather. For the first couple of rounds he was landing some shots on the champ and looked like he might have a shot to win. When Ortiz failed to protect himself at all times. Floyd knocked him out on the spot.
He'd roughed Floyd a little bit, but I had Mayweather ahead in the fight. Ortiz turned out to not be that good a fighter, but he'd forced himself on Mayweather and was making it a fight until he got knocked out. Ortiz is not and was not at that point a great fighter.
I do consider Cotto to be a world class fighter, but this fight should have happened earlier when the two of them were fighting at lightweight and light welterweight. They fought at a catch weight that put the fight in the light middleweight class. It was the same weight he'd fought Oscar De La Hoya at. Cotto tried his best to make a fight out of it, but Mayweather was faster and beat Cotto to the punch in rounds 3-12. He beat Cotto with relative ease.
Cotto was the 8th world class fighter that Mayweather had faced. After the fight Mayweather said Cotto was his toughest opponent he'd ever faced. In my opinion it was too up to that point. Cotto had not always come up big in big fights, but he was a warrior who presented the first real challenge to Floyd. Mayweather who was still the favorite, however there were many boxing fans who felt Cotto actually had a chance to win. I was one of those, but I only scored two or three rounds for Cotto. Mayweather controlled Cotto in a way I never expected.
After a stint in jail Mayweather would comeback to face Robert Guerrero the mandatory challenger for Floyd's WBC championship.
Robert Guerrero had not proven at that point or since that he's an elite fighter. The win over Andre Berto got him the #1 challenger rank, and that was the best fighter he'd ever faced. Neither Guerrero or any of his opponents were elite competition. Floyd made this thing huge, although Guerrero and boxing fans knew he didn't have a real shot at beating Floyd. He was the mandatory challenger and Floyd used that to promote the fight. He destroyed Guerrero who never made the fight competitive after the first or second round.
Saul Canelo Alvarez
This was a fight that I thought Mayweather might lose. Canelo was young and had been knocking people out. It was a fight I'd been saying I wanted to see, but I knew Floyd would never take. To my surprise the fight was made and I almost couldn't believe it was really going to happen. I knew the kid had the power to knockout Mayweather, but he'd never faced an elusive and defensive fighter like Floyd.
I didn't think Canelo would consistently get to Mayweather, but based on the Cotto fight I thought he'd get to him a little. He didn't get there like I thought he could have and Mayweather frustrated the young fighter all night. There were times in the fight when Canelo boxed with Floyd and that was something nobody thought he could do.
I think Canelo was the 9th world class fighter that Floyd faced. He had a record of 45-0 and had faced nine fighters that were actually elite world class fighters.
When I'd saw Maidana destroy Adrian Broner in his previous fight it made me wonder if he couldn't do the same thing to Floyd. I didn't think he could even though he'd beat Broner who was a cheap knockoff of Mayweather. I voted for Maidana in Floyd's poll asking which fighter he should've faced. I also had said that I thought he could beat Maidana and Khan on the same night in doubleheader action. After seeing Maidana basically bully Mayweather around I doubt he could have beat them both on the same night. I wasn't convinced right after the fight that Floyd even won. I'd watched the fight a second time but didn't score it, and upon seeing it again I could see how the official scoring could be what it was.
There is a large group of boxing fans that don't want a rematch of Mayweather and Maidana, but do those fans want to see him fight Khan? I believe most want to see him fight Pacquiao, but assuming that's not going to happen fans want to see him fight Khan. I'm telling anyone who'll listen...Floyd would beat the hell out of Amir Khan. He MIGHT have hand speed that matches Mayweather, but that is where it ends. Floyd is better in every statistical category. People want to see him fight someone different. I'd rather see him rematch Maidana if the choice is the same as it was before.
It seems everybody thinks that Floyd has seen him now and he'll know what to expect in a rematch. I say Floyd knew what was coming the first time and still got caught with it. He says he doesn't watch film on his opponents, but I've never believed that. If it's true that he doesn't I know he saw Adrian Broner get his ass kicked by Maidana because he said he did. There was nothing different. He came after the two men exactly the same way. Floyd figured something out all right, he found out that he really didn't want to go with Maidana again. Not only that but he's convinced the viewing public that there is no reason to do it again. He also tried to convince us that we didn't want to see him fight Pac after he got a bad decision and hit by a lucky punch for a knockout. I'd still like to see him fight Pac-Man.
The Legacy of Floyd Mayweather
If Floyd is able to maintain the undefeated streak then he'll be remembered highly for that. When you look at who he's faced to remain unbeaten then it becomes clear he isn't the greatest of all time. The best fighter he's ever faced was Oscar De La Hoya. There's no doubt that Oscar wanted the fight, but he was no where near the fighter he'd once been. With that being said Oscar could have won half the rounds. There were several close rounds that could have been scored either way. When you factor those swing rounds in with the definitive rounds it's real close to even.
Floyd Claims to be TBE:
There is no way that Mayweather is the best ever. He has had the ability throughout his career to make multiple weights. Sugar Ray Robinson had that ability and he fought the best competition. Floyd has not fought the best competition. He did the opposite throughout his career. He has gone after the weak belt holders. He needed the Pacquiao fight four years ago. The fight is still out there but it won't cement his legacy the way it once could have. The fights are out there for Floyd to prove he's the best, and they've always been out there. He's not the best ever for the same reason Rocky Marciano isn't the best ever, because the competition just wasn't there.
Fighters That Could Help Floyd's Legacy:
Manny Pacquiao - He will never get full credit for this fight, but if he added Pacquiao to his resume he'd be better for it.
Gennady Golovkin - This fight would be like the Canelo fight. Floyd could make weight and could even get this fight at a catch weight. I think Mayweather could easily make 154 and so could Golovkin.
Shawn Porter - is a powerful welterweight that has gained respect after blowing out Paulie Malignaggi. The respect he has gained makes him a valuable opponent.
Miguel Cotto: A rematch with Cotto would be a huge fight. When Cotto destroyed Martinez he gained mountains of respect. Could Cotto and Roach beat Floyd?
Keith Thurman - This would he a big fight. Fans everywhere have been impressed with Thurman, and he is very respected for his power. If Floyd could tame him it would be impressive.
Danny Garcia - Danny didn't look good in his last fight. He was awarded a decision he clearly didn't deserve, but he is an undefeated champion who'll end up with a solid career when he's done. Floyd could use this name on his resume.
Canelo Alvarez - If Canelo wins the fight against Lara then I think his value would be even more than it was in the first fight. The fight with Lara is a 50/50 toss up, but if Canelo wins it would set up a super fight. If he can't beat Lara then maybe Mayweather vs. Lara at the light middle weight limit.
If Floyd wants to be the best ever he has to go after the best names. It's my opinion that Lennox Lewis put himself in the top 5 greatest heavyweights of all time. He did that by going after the best fighters out there. He cleaned out the division before he retired. That is what Mayweather must do if he wants to be considered TBE.
The Best Fighters Floyd ever faced
I think Oscar De La Hoya was the best fighter Floyd ever faced, but nobody really believed an old Oscar was really going to beat Floyd. When he faced Canelo I thought there was a chance that he could lose, but Canelo hadn't had the big fights. I thought Cotto was a threat, but that fight should have happened at lightweight in the early 2000's. Floyd only faced 10 elite world class boxers. (11 if you count Mosley) I don't think Shane was even a shadow of his former self. He was beyond finished at the time of the fight.
Floyd faced a decent fighter when he won the belt from Hernandez. Both Corrales and Castillo were both good fighters, and Maidana might end up proving he's better than both of those former champions. I've always thought Marquez was a solid fighter, and I think you saw Floyd beat an older fighter, but one who still had something to prove at the time of the fight. He was a game fighter, but who really thought he had a ralistic shot? Zab Judah had fast hands and was able to throw with Mayweather, but just like Khan would find out...it takes more than hand speed. Hatton had won some big fights and brought an undefeated record into the ring, but he never really looked good again. So how good was Ricky Hatton?
As much as I liked Arturo Gatti. He didn't have the tools to beat a skilled boxer like Floyd. When Gatti fought Ward those were three of the best fights in the history of boxing, but they were made for each other. Both were tough as hell and they'd get in there and throw. That's just not good enough to beat Mayweather. There might have been a few people that thought Gatti could beat Floyd, but most didn't. Floyd Mayweather can claim some legendary fighters, but the time frame he fought them in means everything.
Why didn't he fight Antonio Margarito?
Antonio Margarito had a style that would have given Floyd fits. Margarito threw punches from everywhere and from angles that made his offense tough to defend.
Who Floyd Didn't Fight
Floyd ducked Margarito just like he did other fighters. We have to give credit to Mayweather for beating Mosley and Cotto, but Shane was old and Miguel should have gotten a shot much sooner. Floyd never fought Paulie Malignaggi when he was winning at junior welterweight. He never took on the tough Joshua Clotty, but Manny Pacquiao did and beat him. I personally don't think he wanted any part of the late Vernon Forrest. What about Jessie James Leija or Kostya Tszyu in 2003 at light welterweight or welterweight? The truth is he didn't even want to fight the tough Ben Tackie or Juan Urango, and everyone that was anybody was fighting those guys. Not fighting Pac-Man will be what hurts his legacy. I always said Floyd would have beaten him, but not fighting Manny when it was the only fight anyone really wanted to see, that hurt his legacy.
The names listed above would have assured him greatest of all time status.
The Closing Bell
Unless Mayweather is going to be another Bernard Hopkins his career is coming to a close. I think the choices for Floyd's next are going to be the same as before. Amir Khan or Marcos Maidana in a rematch. Those are both semi-compelling fights, and they'd both be another elite world class fighter on Floyd's resume, but there are fighters out there that could restore some of the greatness that he's missed in the past. I think Shawn Porter has done enough to deserve a shot, and he's a Showtime fighter too. If he beats the undefeated Kell Brook he deserves the shot. If Kell wins it would be a great time for Mayweather to get him.
Those who don't like Mayweather recognize the skill. Most would just tell you he rarely ever fights anyone that has a real shot at beating him. I think fans believed that De La Hoya had a shot, Cotto, Hatton, and Alvarez, all had decent odds against him. That's all the fighters that weren't a foregone conclusion of defeat. Even Maidana who beat the hell out of Floyd wasn't given a chance in hell of doing so. The fans recognize that Floyd has the skills to be the best ever, but they also recognize the fact that he's never truly tested himself against the best. If he wants to be considered TBE he needs to fight the best fighters in the division. Great fighters fight great fighters to become "The Best Ever".