Like many great athletes, Floyd Mayweather is a man who evokes both admiration and detest in equal measure, perhaps indictive more so of humanity’s wish to knock someone down when they achieve great things. But 30 years from now, he will be known as one of the greatest boxers that ever exchanged punches in a ring with another man, make no mistake about it.
Human Beings Have Short Memories
If you may indulge me, there is precedence for the previous statement, in overall sports.
Let’s take a quick look back at some different sports men who reached the top of their professions – only for society and the media to throw sticks and stones at them, once they reached the pinnacle of their chosen professions.
The two that stand out for me as both a boxing and golf (yes golf) fan, are Muhammad Ali and Tiger Woods.
First, Ali. Many forget people absolutely hated the man when he was an active boxer in the prime of his career, and churning in genius, devastating beatings of fighters like Cleveland Williams for example (one of my favourite Ali fights, ever).
Yet, once he got a bit older and health-wise was not doing too good, people began to adore him. Human beings eh, funny old creatures aren’t we?
Tiger Woods, too. Sure, it’s a totally different scenario, but still an applicable example. Many forget that Woods was (and still is the only) first man in the history of professional sports to become a billionaire from sports directly.
Yes, Floyd is the current highest paid athlete on Earth, but never matched Wood’s earning power in his prime.
Long story short, we all know what happened with Woods’ extra curricular activities outside of the golf course, but again, he was loathed for it – and dramatically brought down to Earth by both the media and society afterwards.
Similar parallels can be made with Mayweather in terms of different problems he has faced (legally) outside of his sporting activities.
But that’s my point, people forget how the sports man or woman performed at his or her job, once he or she reaches the top, and purely look to take them down a peg or two through any avenue they can – and don’t mind using their personal life to do so.
In short, Floyd Mayweather is a man who attracted a lot of negative PR during his career but trust me, he’ll be missed when he’s gone.
Electric Prime, Strategic Overall Career
In terms of Floyd’s sporting and in the ring achievements, I think to his credit, you’d have to say he faced virtually 90% (plus) of the best names that were out there during his era.
That’s all anyone can ask, in truth.
Yeah, some will say he should have fought some guys earlier and that maybe he ducked Margarito when he was in his prime, but we all know Margarito since went on to do some questionable things – so where does that argument go, realistically?
Likewise, the whole “Mayweather should fight GGG” argument. Where does that end, too?
Should Mayweather keep moving up the weights and fight until he gets knocked out by a light-heavyweight? Of course not, but that would be the old story in boxing. Ali boxed on too long in reality, because the fans wanted to see it.
Instead, Floyd Mayweather is going out at the top of his game, having won world titles in five different weight categories – to compile his Rocky Marciano’s equaling 49-0 record.
Again, many will point to Marciano’s record being more impressive in that it contained a higher knockout percentage, but when you stop and look at the fact that Mayweather did it in so many weight divisions and did it against better names (in my opinion), who’s record is really better?
Think about it.
For me, Mayweather’s prime where he dispatched of guys like Diego Corrales, Arturo Gatti and Angel Manfredy (for example) will be remembered as some of his most ruthless and sharpest work, before he started having hand problems, and basically couldn’t knock guys out cleanly with one punch anymore (on a consistent basis anyway).
His overall career will probably be remembered for how he approached fighters in the ring and outside, which lets be honest, was strategically.
His handlers plotted a boxing career like no other boxer before him, where he changed the financial landscape for boxing, in essence.
For me, his quickest and most violent exhibition of his prime boxing skills are a tie between the Corrales and Gatti fights.
On that note, let’s take a quick look back at the Gatti fight (RIP Arturo):
What Will Floyd Mayweather Be Remembered For?
The answer to the above in my view? A master of the term: “Hit and not getting it”.
After all, isn’t that what boxing is about for anyone at any level, who is thought the craft?
He personifies the term statistically through historical CompuBox figures which are unrivaled, in terms of punches landed percentages and taking the least amount of damage in the sport, ever.
Simply put, he’ll be remembered as a pure boxer.
There’s no denying it, he would have been a difficult man to beat in any generation with the style he possessed. His ring IQ, too, perhaps will be one of his most remembered attributes as a prize fighter.
People will always criticize those on a high platform to make themselves feel better about themselves, it’s just one of those distasteful things in society that’s always been there.
Make no mistake though, long after this article is written and this boxing writer is no more, Floyd Mayweather will be remembered certainly as the finest fighter of his generation, and without doubt – one of the best of all time.
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