Outrageous statements declaring greatness has been done over and over in the world of boxing. The only time it really seems to mean anything is when the person making those statements, follows through. Right now we have a fighter in Floyd Mayweather Jr., that has all the god given talent in the world. He certainly has the mouth and most importantly he wants to go down as the greatest fighter of all time. He has compared his talent to Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson. I can not say that he does not have the same ability, but let’s compare accomplishment, not ability.
Mayweather, a pro fighter for TEN years is 36 – 0 – 24 (KO’s). Sugar Ray Robinson was 36 – 0 – 25(KO’s) less than TWO years into his career and the irony is that he fought Jake La Motta in his Tenth year. He defeated LaMotta but he was tested. Robinson fought for 25 years, and finished with a record of 173 – 19 – 108(KO’s). We also have to keep in mind that a majority of those losses came 17 years into his career. He was amazing. Mayweather also claimed to be
better than Muhammad Ali. That statement could be closer to the truth, considering the amount of wins and KO’s both fighters had after 10 years, but ALI lost 3 years of his first ten years and he fought a much better grade of opposition. Mayweather does not seem to be looking very hard for his Frazier or LaMotta.
He seems content on beating his mandatory and dethroning the lesser fighters. He is winning, that is a fact that is undeniable, but his legacy will be lost in his inability to be more active and to fight the best. There is the possibity of Floyd suffering the same fate as Roy Jones Jr. Jones waited so long to fight anybody that would give him a real fight that by the time he actually found the WILL to do it, his skills had diminished and he was knocked out by two fighters of lesser talent. Yes, Roy had the talent, just like Mayweather, but he squandered it to keep his record clean. But where is his legacy? What makes a fighter great is not his record. It is who he is willing to fight. Oscar De La Hoya never ran from anyone. He has losses, but those were real fights. He did not get KO’d by Oba Carr, or Yory boy Campos, or Vargas. He lost is toe to toe battles, with the best the world had to offer, and his legacy will be rewarded for it.
Mayweather seems to believe that if he keeps fighting lesser opponents he will somehow be considered great because he has the skill. But I think it was Muhammad Ali who said it best. “To be a great fighter, you need the WILL and the skill, but a little more WILL.” Right now Floyd Mayweather’s skill is unbelievable, possibly the best since Ali, but his will is that of an average fighter clinging to the top and looking for the biggest purse. As time passes the skill will go and if the WILL is not there, his legacy will pass right along with it. I will not call Floyd Mayweather Jr., a fraud. His is a tremendous talent that should be showcasing it on a broader scale with better opponents. Maybe it is all about the money and like he said, “I don’t care about belts, I don’t need trinkets, other fighters need me, to make money”. That statement may be even sadder than the Ali, Robinson statement, but deep in our hearts we all wish he had the WILL.
We all wish he could be like the movies, and step up to that “dare to be great” situation, but we all know that is fantasyland. It is the major reason Rocky 6 is due to hit theaters in December, giving fight fans what they yearn for. A fighter with the WILL to be a champion.
“The Philadelphia Boxing Report” ESPN 920 Philly.