If you needed any more reassurance of just how talented Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. is, and quite frankly always has been, then you got a full dose this past weekend. In what was supposed to be his most competitive fight in sometime, Mayweather Jr. made fairly easy work of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in front of a record breaking crowd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Alvarez was game and proved to be a worthy adversary, but that’s only when you operate under the Floyd algorithm, which teaches us that the higher Floyd raises the bar the lower the expected standards of effectiveness become for his opponent. So while Canelo wasn’t very competitive in general, he did excel to a certain degree when considering other Mayweather opponents and their lack of success.
I’ve seen the fight twice and seeing it a second time is similar to my experience watching Return of the Jedi multiple times, you notice the subtle nuances missed in the first showing and you reach a higher level of respect for the performances.
I am convinced that Floyd is the greatest defensive fighter of all time but I’ve felt that way for some time now, however I have started to consider whether or not he deserves to be in the debate for greatest fighter of all time. My thoughts are even if Floyd isn’t GOAT he definitely deserves to be in the conversation. I don’t think it’s all about the undefeated record, but it certainly doesn’t go against him.
So now you start to consider the potential opponents that stand in his way of retiring without a blemish on his record and I’m left scratching my head over realistic opponents that can conjure up a win against the great Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The answer I came up with: Nobody. I look at the remainder of Floyd’s career as merely a formality and I don’t believe there is a (realistic) opponent out there who can beat him. But forget winning for a second, I don’t even believe there is a single competitive fight left for Floyd. If there is one glitch in Money May’s career it is his lack of entertainment value perceived by the casual fan. It isn’t a major glitch because he’s already a pop culture star and if you understand the sport then you know what Floyd does in the ring is art, true poetry in violent motion.
The problem is without anyone left and assuming he doesn’t reach outside his physical comfort zone, it’s safe to say that we are unlikely to see any drama in the remainder of his career. The Canelo fight is probably the last major win of Floyd’s career, or at least the biggest from this point forward.
While he may retire undefeated, I believe the only blemish on Floyd’s legacy will be the Pacquiao debacle. I watched the fight amongst a tightknit group of “hardcores” but I was surrounded by far more casual fans and all they kept saying is how badly they wanted Floyd to fight Manny. I didn’t want to get into the specifics with them but most of them blame Floyd for the fight failing to manifest. I could’ve mentioned that they share an equal amount of the blame or even that Mayweather stood a good chance of winning that fight — in impressive fashion I believe — but I didn’t because what’s the point, they’re going to believe what they want without rationalization.
After seeing the magnitude of Mayweather-Canelo, I can only imagine how much more extravagant an event between Floyd and Pacquiao would’ve been. Floyd haters will always cling to whatever they can in order to discredit his accolades, but that’s not where I’m going with this.
My point is that in a career made up of major successes both in and out of the ring, the one fail is the botched fight that could’ve been the biggest fight in the history of the sport. There is very little reasoning behind not making the fight, but Floyd’s status won’t be defined by it. Still, I do believe that he would be even more celebrated with Pacquiao under his belt, at least from a commercial standpoint.
What is so perplexing about the Pacquiao failure is that it would’ve solidified Mayweather’s status on so many levels. Floyd is one of the most financially successful fighters in the history of the sport and the fight with Pacquiao would’ve conceivably been the biggest. Floyd is considered one of the best fighters of all time, a win over the 2nd best “Pound for Pound” fighter in the world would further his legacy. Floyd has been criticized for his less than entertaining bouts, but I think that Pacquiao’s style and approach would’ve given Floyd the chance to end the fight in spectacular fashion, on his terms and in his favor.
We as fight fans could’ve gotten a weekend like this one past and it would’ve been even grander than the one we just experienced. It would’ve been a win-win for everyone, except Pacquiao I guess. Floyd will go down as a great fighter, but that grey cloud will weigh heavier than he thinks when he no longer surrounded by “yes-men.”
Whatever in-ring obstacles Floyd has left to conquer — assuming he will fight 4 more times — I’m comfortable writing his career in the books as one of the greatest and even if BoxRec.com doesn’t record it this way, it will likely read as such: Floyd “Money” Mayweather (49-0-0-1, 26KOs).