Does Floyd Mayweather Retire as Boxing’s Best or Richest Star Ever?

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All signs (for now) point to Floyd Mayweather stepping away from boxing after Saturday’s bout with Andre Berto.

You might not have remembered that Floyd Mayweather — the presumed best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport — is fighting this Saturday night. A large part of this is fatigue, namely since we’ve seen this movie a few times and at this point no one seems to be too interested in the sequel.

Here’s something else, it’s the competition Floyd has picked. As we all know, Floyd does what he wants. He’s always done what he wants. Depending on your opinion, it’s either proof that he can manage his career better than anyone and a sign that more fighters should be willing to do that or a failing in his quest to be anointed as the greatest ever. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m in the latter camp.

Nevertheless, Floyd Mayweather steps into the ring supposedly for the last time against Andre Berto this Saturday night.

Floyd is affiliated with the supremely mysterious Al Haymon, who runs the Premier Boxing Champions on every network short of QVC including the one division where they are the most loaded is welterweight, the same division Floyd has fought at for the last decade. Exciting young stars on the come up, interesting prospects and veterans. It’s all there for you. Did Floyd pick any of them? No.

Mayweather picked a fighter he’s been trying to fight for 4 years, Andre Berto. Someone so underwhelming that on Box Rec, boxing’s official records database, he’s ranked behind such notable names as Tsiko Mulovhedzi and Leonard Bundu. This is not the fight we wanted to see after the May 2nd fight against Manny Pacquiao. Hell, the fight against Manny Pacquiao was not the fight we wanted to see May 2nd. So that begs the question:

How great is Floyd Mayweather historically?

That question might seem foolish if all you listen to about boxing is Stephen A. Smith or ESPN, who for some reason has thrown themselves with both feet into the Mayweather-as-TBE pool. But it’s just not factually accurate. The claims don’t hold up to scrutiny.

Floyd has fought in 5 divisions throughout the course of his career, two of which are part of the original six.

In each and every division, he left great fights on the table, fights which would’ve burnished his legacy beyond debate.

I’m not going to list them all here, that go be beyond tiresome on many levels. Suffice it to say when you’ve never unified titles in any of the five weight classes you’ve fought in and you missed multiple career-defining fights, it’s a mark on your legacy that can’t easily be cleaned up by expensive cars and stunning displays of excess.

You see, greatness in boxing is not like greatness in any other sport. Titles won are not a fair barometer because as we saw with Roy Jones and Mike Tyson a generation ago the competition you face matters. If we’re being honest, the list of people Floyd avoided and waited on means we can’t compare him to the immortals he seems to think an undefeated record entitles him to be compared to.

But Floyd can’t promulgate the myth of being the best of all time without two things: One being an utter lack of knowledge of boxing history and the fact that his fans share that same lack of knowledge with a willingness to play fast and loose with the facts as it suits them.

It’s an open secret to the boxing media that Floyd went up to Sugar Ray Leonard at a Boxing Writers of America dinner and told him that if Sugar Ray was fighting now, he wouldn’t be a top-10 welterweight. Leonard has done several things Floyd has never done like unify the welterweight title against a stone-cold killer in Thomas Hearns via a come-from-behind knockout, stop the sport’s biggest bad-ass in Roberto Duran and win the middleweight title, albeit controversially against Marvin Hagler — who was the best middleweight of his time. Floyd, whose biggest career victory before the Pacquiao fight had been a split-decision win over an aging Oscar De La Hoya and a 6-knockdown performance over Diego Corrales, had the temerity to tell him that he wouldn’t be a top ten welterweight.

When Floyd does anything as impressive as those two videos above let me know.

At Jr. Lightweight, Mayweather is a top-3 all-time fighter, but that’s where it ends. He’s top-20 at Lightweight (arguably), Wand then nowhere near that at Welterweight or Jr. Welterweight. The men above him historically would WAX him.

So, if we can establish Floyd isn’t nearly as great as his boasts indicate, what truly is he the best ever at doing?

Easy. Making money.

In a nutshell, that’s what this whole thing is about. Floyd thinks about money first, before legacy or victory. Proof of this is that on a conference call he stated that his biggest regret is that he wasn’t an “Al Haymon Guy” from the beginning of his career, meaning the fights that made him acclaimed don’t actually ever happen.

I am happy that Floyd Mayweather is leaving the stage. You should be too.

15 Responses to “Does Floyd Mayweather Retire as Boxing’s Best or Richest Star Ever?”

  1. mapoui says:

    Mayweather is a close to perfect I believe a black man in professional sports can be.
    Mayweather is actually stunning, consistently brilliant, planned out his career, achieved it all, and now walks away a rich man and good for the wear and tear.

    Mayweather surpasses Muhammad Ali by a large margin..although he could not have achieved but for Ali along the way.

    Mayweather pissed of and pisses off so man people its incredible, for his smarts, determination, strength to stay on his path, imperturbable to criticism. Mayweather turned the game right around and made the boxer himself master of his trade on all levels. it is Mayweather who called the shots, not the mafia of old and all manner of suckers in between, who feasted on the blood of boxers.
    Mayweather is the very model of how things should always have been in boxing, and how it must be for boxers to get their proper and fair share of the boxing pie
    Floyd Mayweather is the very greatest boxer of all time, on all levels of the game..a champion in and out of the ring.

    My hat is off to him, I wish him wee in retirement and am certain that as he has kept his word all along the way he will not return to the ring for any reason at all..will have no reason to do so.

    Sail on Mister Mayweather, down the line to a well deserved happy and successful retirement

  2. ks says:

    It’s kind of disappointing to read this article. Especially here. Along with Venus and Serena Williams, Floyd Mayweather is one of the most important black athletes of the past 25 years. He, like the Williams sisters, did it their way proud, talented and unapologetic and won against the establishments in their sports and the media. Overall, he’s probably one of the few black athletes period that overall “won” in the real sense of the word without having to kowtow to the powers that be.

    A technically brilliant black boxer, not a football player, not a basketball player, not a baseball player, not a track star, not anything else made more gross career earnings than anybody in the history of sports and, considering this is boxing, left undefeated with his faculties intact and the mainstream media flustered. Bravo!

    If you could put aside your continued and obvious personal distaste (like dwelling on the TBE marketing stuff) for Mayweather, hopefully you’ll be able to see that his career, taken on the merits, deserves much praise and overall historical consideration in terms of black athletes.

    Speaking of the merits, c’mon now with the SRL hagiography. You know as well as I do that the Leonard often “carefully chose who he fought and when. All fighters leave “fights on the table” per se and fights don’t get made for a variety of reasons. In the end, Mayweather won all of his big legacy fights and won them going away and any attempt to distort that reality by framing a repetitive narrative will eventually fall by the wayside.

  3. Okori says:

    @KS: See, here’s the thing. If you call yourself TBE enough you leave me with the expectation that you believe it. And if you believe it, I have to investigate it. And he’s found wanting on just about every level that I can think of, excluding money. And since his finances don’t benefit me, that’s not something that benefits his historical resume.

    The fact that (if the rumors are true) he ignored a career-high payday to fight Antonio Margarito to fight Carlos Baldomir instead is a bit more germane to the plot. And yes, I don’t like Floyd because I don’t like the way he fought. I liked Roy Jones Jr. who also controlled his career in the same way, by and large, because he was a more exciting fighter.

    I’m tired of him. I’m tired of his fights against handpicked guys. What are his legacy fights, KS, if you don’t mind me asking? Jose Luis Castillo at lightweight? Oscar De La Hoya at Jr. Middle? The facts are clear: He missed summit fights at welter against Paul Williams or Antonio Margarito, lightweight against Stevie Johnston and Paul Spadafora, or Jr. Welterweight against one of the 3 greatest Jr. Welter’s ever Kostya Tszyu.

    And I doubt SRL’s handlers wanted him to fight Duran when he did, who was better by a factor of at least 10 than anyone Floyd’s ever fought, or Hearns. But he did.

    Mapoui: No he isn’t. Sugar Ray Robinson, who fought in an era loaded with mafia men, went his first 40 fights without a loss, lost to a full-grown middleweight when he was a welterweight, and then won his next 88. He has more knockouts than Floyd has fights. And if Floyd fought the original Sugar Ray, he gets KTFO’d and starched.

  4. I don’t know about that. Floyd Mayweather is an elite defensive fighter. That’s his MO. The object IS to not get hit. We’ve grown accustomed of relying on a perception through the lens of a heavyweight. As far as him ducking cats? Please. He’ll fight the winner of Khan/Pac. What else can we ask of him?

  5. Okori Wadsworth says:

    Mizzo, here’s all I’ll say: If he can get caught with a right hand by a Shane Mosley who has one foot in the grave, and again by a clubfighter in Marcos Maidana, what is the greatest non-heavyweight fighter ever and the game’s preeminent finisher of all-time going to do to him? Simply put, if Sugar Ray Robinson catches him clean with a single shot and wobbles him, Floyd’s going to sleep.

    Also, i can ask you to fight Gennady Golovkin. I can ask you to do that. I can ask you to fight Keith Thurman, a young undefeated welterweight in his prime. I can ask you to do that too.

    The object is to hit and not get hit. Floyd does one supremely well, and one not so well. He doesn’t let his hands go like he used to, which is why he doesn’t have knockouts anymore.

  6. that Floyd’s career is diminished because people WANT to see him get hit is ridiculous, AND, that his career is questioned because of his competitors is also ridiculous. There isn’t a fighter alive that can truly state he is a better pugilist than Floyd, and history will laugh at anyone and everyone that questions his professionalism within the ropes. Book that.

  7. Tezzie says:

    Floyd will retire as the richest boxer ever and the best boxer in his era, but not the best of all time

  8. Okori says:

    THis isn’t a team sport where your competitors are not chosen for you. This is the sport where you choose the people you face, and there are far too many Victoriano Sosas and Henry Bruseles against far too few tough top fighters in their prime. It is impossible, really, for me to judge him against Sugar Ray Robinson, Roberto Duran, Chavez Jr. Arguello, Ricardo Lopez, Marvin Hagler, or any of the other greats he wants to put himself above. He doesn’t have the opponents to back it up.

    But the hypothetical Floyd is a different matter. The hypothetical Floyd beat Freitas and Casamayor at 130, unified at 135, stopped Kostya Tszyu in the biggest fight at 140 since Taylor-Chavez I, and unified again at 147. That’s the hypothetical Floyd, and I would have loved to see him fight. Unfortunately, I never got the chance.

    I’m not impressed by a dude who doesn’t throw a lot of punches, and wins because of defense. I saw that movie when it was called Erislandy Lara, Guillermo Rigondeaux, and everyone else who people call “runners” but don’t put the same thing on Floyd.

    I’m more impressed by Vasyl Lomachenko, the best featherweight in the world. I’m more impressed by Gennady Golovkin, and Roman Gonzalez, and all of the other top fighters who finish fights instead of letting them go to 12-round boring decisions but who can also still box and not get hit unnecessarily.

  9. Why aren’t they the draw Floyd is?

  10. Yeah, my GOAT is definitely Ali Tezzie.

  11. Okori says:

    Golovkin sold out MSG for his first PPV ever, and Roman Gonzalez (who is a flyweight) is on the undercard of that in is what should be a barnburner against Brian Viloria. Lomachenko was the most impressive fighter on the May 2nd card.

  12. Sweet Jones says:

    @ Okori,

    Couple of things.

    1) Being mad at Mayweather over the ‘TBE’ marketing scheme sounds dangerously close to the mainstream media glee over any LeBron James ‘failure’ becuase of his ‘King’ nickname. Be better than that, bruh.

    2) Regarding Margarito: Had Bob Arum paid the man his market worth instead of trying to (continue) screwing him over, you would have gotten that fight. You can here it from Arum himself (link here: http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/boxing/news/story?id=2420382)

    “The reason Mayweather opted for the buyout rather than waiting for the May 6 result was because the contract had a limited window for the buyout, one that expired before the De La Hoya fight. However, Arum said he would have extended the window if Mayweather had asked. What Arum wouldn’t do, he said, was raise the guarantees for other fights outlined in the contract.

    Arum said while Mayweather would have taken the $8 million to fight Margarito, he asked for a $10 million guarantee to fight opponents such as Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton, when Arum was only willing to guarantee $7 million.”

    Considering that PBF went on and fought Hatton (10mil plus guarantee plus larger slice of PPV) and Cotto (32mil guarantee plus larger slice of PPV) AND didn’t have to give Top Rank a cut, seems to me he made the right call. Arum fugged that up. You disagree?

    It should also be stated that reportedly got 8 Mil plus one dollar for the Baldomir fight, topping the Margarito offer. So he STILL got that career high payday AND positioned himself for his dream match (and ultimate payday) against De La Hoya.

    3) Floyd’s resume: You hurt your own argument when you offer fighters like Chavez Jr (best win is probably Rosario, 80+ “Tijuana taxi drivers”, shaky stoppage against Meldrick Taylor and a robbery of Sweet Pea) and Hagler (victories over former lightweights and welterweights Hearns and Duran among best career wins and LOST to SRL). Everybody loves Duran, but how much weight do you give to a guy ‘No Mas’-ing himself, getting single shot flatlined (Hearns) or losing to the Kirkland Laing’s of the world?

    B!tching about Mayweather ‘ducking’ a Paul Williams or Margarito fight is the equivalent of blaming Hagler for not fighting Donald Curry or De La Hoya for missing a Vernon Forrest fight. At the end of the day, when you name the ATGs of this era near Mayweather in weight, he fought and beat them all (ODLH, Sugar Shane, Pac, and Cotto). He’s got other HOF caliber fighters on his resume (Marquez, G. Hernandez, Diego Corrales, Castillo, Hatton, Canelo -maybe-).

    And let’s be honest, before Mayweather became ‘Money’ and was still ‘Pretty Boy Floyd’, A LOT of those dudes didn’t want no parts of the 130-140 lb version of him, who was basically ALL risks and ZERO reward for them (just like Rigo now).

    You think Spadafora’s Pittsburgh people were in a rush to get their meal ticket in there with Floyd? Barrera, Morales, Hamed or any of them lighter dudes moving up for parts of that? Freitas turned down the fight numerous times. By all accounts, Don King priced Casamayor out of the market a bunch of times. Tszyu was a network problem (Showtime).

    Lastly, at least be consistent in your critique. These other guys your so impressed by now: who are the HOF’s on their resumes? Who are the all time greats that Triple G, Chocalito, or Loma have defeated? I’ll wait. You like guys who ‘finish fights’, but Lomachenko has faced 2 world class fighters (Gary Russell and Salido) and didn’t drop nor knock out either one.

    4) Legacy – You ask for his ‘legacy fights’, as though Mayweather needs some dramatic ring moments to define him. But, IMO, that’s not the proper way to digest his career.

    IMO, the best analogy to Mayweather would be Tim Duncan and the Spurs. No one argues that Duncan is, at minimum, the 2nd best PF and arguably a top ten player of all time. But 20 years for now, even the most knowledgeable fan will be hard pressed to name their top 5 ‘Tim Duncan moments’.

    It is the string of consistent, long running, championship level of ATG play that defines Duncan. It’s the same for Mayweather. It’s the fact that all those world class fighters, whether southpaw or orthodox, bigger or smaller, all time great or young hungry lion, entered the ring with him only to have the exact same problem: couldn’t penetrate his defense, couldn’t match his ring IQ, and couldn’t avoid his lead rights, leaping left hooks (when younger), pull counters and jabs to the body. ALL of them. Same fate.

    Just my thoughts.

  13. Sweet Jones says:

    Apologies, didn’t realize that was so long.

  14. ks says:

    @Sweet Jones,

    Exactly! It’s amazing how history gets reinvented into negative talking points when it comes to Mayweather. The Cheater!? Please! The fact the Margarito is still boxing is a disgrace to the sport. Also, while Paul Williams was very solid fighter and is a good guy, he had no ring IQ. He was 6-2″ with long arms who fought like he was 5-2″ with short arms. The idea that Floyd “ducked” either of those guys is ridiculous. It was just bad business by Arum.

    What I really find funny is the “Well, if the “corpse” of Shane Mosley and a “club fighter” like Madiana can land a significant shot on Floyd then…insert name here…will do…whatever.” I guess now that Pac failed we’re on to the next hyped one – GGG. The popular 34 year old!!! fighter who’s fought nobody of note and wants to fight a much smaller 38 year old welterweight for the big payday while staying far away from Andre Ward.

    What’s outright hilarious is the Khan and Thurman talk! I REALLY don’t get the fascination with Khan thing. Dude talks so much begging for a big payday that he must have somehow put people under his spell. He won’t rematch Danny Garcia who KTFO him nor fight Kell Brook but will beg for the big $$$ fight from Floyd or Pac. Last time we saw him in the ring, Chris Algeri!!! was able to put the stanky leg on him and forced him into a tough fight. Khan is the classic guy who individual parts (e.g., hand speed, length, decent technical ability) don’t add up to a great whole. Last time we saw Thurman, he almost got finished from a body shot from the old vet Collazo. But yet we hear how these guys were worthy challengers for Mayweather. Floyd would’ve scheduled Thurman and might have stopped Khan.

  15. ks says:

    “Floyd would’ve scheduled Thurman and might have stopped Khan.”

    That should be Floyd would’ve schooled Thurman…