Is Floyd Jr. The Best Pound For Pound Fighter Of All Time?
Floyd Mayweather, Jr is considered to be the best pound for pound fighter in boxing right now. In fact, if you ask him, he is the best pound for pound fighter in the history of the sport. So, what does that mean exactly? In searching for an answer, I found what I thought to be a good starting point with a definition of “pound for pound” from Wikipedia,.
The definition states, “Judging the best fighter in the world, pound for pound, is subjective. Some people place most weight on 'quality of opposition', or take into account factors such as how exciting the fighter is, or how famous he is, whereas others simply try to determine who would beat who if all boxers were the same size.”
The first point of the definition and probably one of the most important to remember is that the term is subjective. It is really just someone’s opinion. In the opinion of most boxing experts, Floyd Mayweather, Jr is the current pound for pound champion. Although I personally feel that I could argue that point, I will agree that he should be in the top ten list of current pound for pound fighters and will focus my efforts on Mayweather's own statement that he is the best pound for pound fighter in history.
To be the best in history, surely he must have fought the best of the best and continue to challenge himself with the top opposition available? Mayweather has not challenged himself since 2002 when he won a pair of unanimous decisions in his two bouts with Jose Luis Castillo.
In the past four years, he has fought a variety of fighters with some respectable names such as Arturo Gatti and Zab Judah, but none of which were considered to be quality opposition. In fact, he has not taken a fight in the past four years where he has not been considered a heavy betting favorite which confirms that his competition has not been of top quality.
You could argue that Zab Judah was at one time considered a top 15 rated pound for pound fighter, but his inconsistencies in the ring took him from that list long before his bout with Mayweather. After Judah lost his match in January 2006 to Carlos Baldomir, Mayweather dismissed Baldomir as unworthy to fight and fought Judah. And now it appears Baldomir is a worthy opponent after defeating Arturo Gatti, a fighter that Mayweather already defeated last year. I'm not sure how defeating Gatti made Baldomir a more worthy opponent in the eyes of Mayweather, but we will get a chance to see why this Saturday.
Maybe Mayweather feels it is not his quality of opposition that makes him the pound for pound best of all time but how famous he is. One way to attempt to measure how famous he is would be to look at how well attended his fights are. In Mayweather’s past five fights, his attendance records were:
15,170 vs. Zab Judah at the Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV
7,106 vs. Sharmba Mitchell at the Rose Garden, Portland Oregon
12,675 vs. Arturo Gatti at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City NJ
4,000 plus vs. Henry Bruseles at the American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL
6,103 vs. DeMarcus Corley at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ
The only sold out event was against Arturo Gatti at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City which is due to Gatti’s popularity and the fact that Gatti has sold out Boardwalk Hall in his last several fights, regardless of his opposition. If you compare that sold out event with Mayweather’s fight against DeMarcus Corley at the same venue, the attendance was not even at 50% capacity.
Although I would consider the attendance of Mayweather’s bout against Judah a strong showing ,the Pay-Per-View numbers indicate that some of the other current pound for pound fighters have done better. When Mayweather decisioned Zab Judah over twelve rounds on HBO Pay-Per-View, he brought in around 350,000 buys, which came to about 60,000 less buys when compared to Taylor v Hopkins II at 410,000.
Another current pound for pound fighter, Winky Wright, fared better against Felix Trinidad, generating 520,000 PPV buys. More recently, Oscar De La Hoya, who is no longer even in the current pound for pound rankings mostly due to inactivity, generated a staggering 875,000 PPV buys in his match against Ricardo Mayorga.
Floyd Mayweather, Jr has a lot more to accomplish in his career before he can truly be considered the best pound for pound fighter of all time. His lack of quality opposition, as well as the figures provided, show that he has not been able to sell out arenas or generate top selling Pay-Per-Views.
If Mayweather begins to take some risks in his career and fight top quality opposition such as Antonio Margarito or Oscar De La Hoya and consistently challenge himself to fight the best of the best in the fight game, he may eventually come closer to his self- proclaimed greatness.
But, if he decides to take less risky fights, price himself out from serious competition by demanding too much money and alienating his fans, he will have to settle on being considered only one of the current pound for pound best. Who knows, if Floyd Mayweather is humble enough to accept that, he may gain enough fan support to let them rate him on his place in history.