Floyd Mayweather declared himself ‘The Best Ever’ after ending his boxing career with an impressive 50-0 record. In 50 fights nobody standing across the ring from him has found a way to beat him, putting him amongst the greatest boxers ever. Although he has got an incredible record, is he really the greatest of all time, or is his record padded to make him look better?
His early days
Mayweather’s most impressive record arguably comes during the early days of his career when he was trying to impress the boxing world. Of his first 15 victories, 13 of them came via stoppages. That put him on the map, and soon he would be fighting for world titles. In his 18th fight, he won his first world title against Genaro Hernandez, taking the WBC super-featherweight title while maintaining his unbeaten record.
He won his first world title in 1998, and ten years later he was one of the biggest names in boxing. By the end of 2007, he had won his 39th fight and had beaten some of the best fighters in the world along the way. His knockout of British boxer Ricky Hatton is one of his finest performances, and the Hitman had been unbeaten going into that fight.
He also beat boxing legends Oscar De La Hoya and Mexican fighter Jose Luis Castillo. No one could surely doubt Mayweather, but there were still questions asked of him. His final 11 fights read like a who’s who of top talent.
The best of the best
Mayweather was getting older, but he had the all-time greatest unbeaten record of Rocky Marciano in his sights. He retired after beating Ricky Hatton, but couldn’t resist the lure of fighting and 21 months after retiring fought formidable Mexican legend, Juan Manuel Marquez. Mayweather then fought big boxing names like Canelo Alvarez, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, and Victor Ortiz.
For years people had accused Mayweather of ducking his greatest challenge, Manny Pacquiao and finally, in 2015, boxing fans got what they wanted. Anyone who came up against Mayweather wound up losing, he was just that good. His final fight, and victory number 50 came against Irish MMA star Conor McGregor.
Many people argue Mayweather picks and chooses his opponents, but it’s hard to argue that his boxing skills are not better than anyone’s in history. In his early days, he was capable of overwhelming his opponents, but later in his career, he took a more defensive approach to boxing. Mayweather was impossible to hit and ended up frustrating just about every single fighter who came up against him.
His ability to know where he is in the ring at all times means he can get out of the way of an opponent’s punches with ease. He doesn’t just dodge blows though, and he hits back with shots of his own. Later in his career Mayweather relied on the judges, but the fact he barely ever got hit made it easy for the judges to pick him as the winner.
Mayweather is smart in the ring and can change his strategy mid-fight if things aren’t going his way. He is talented enough to overwhelm opponents with punches if he needs points on the scorecard, and he sets the tempo in every fight he has.
His hands are so fast that he can throw a counter punch from just about any angle, meaning opponents have to try their best to get out of range. Because Mayweather controls the ring, that becomes almost impossible, and he just keeps winning rounds.
Floyd Mayweather is one of the greatest of all time, but many argue he is not the very best of all time. The boxer claims he is better than Muhammad Ali, and his record might be better, but most believe he didn’t face the level of competition Ali did. Ali fought the very best in the world regularly as the heavyweight boxing division was super competitive.
In contrast, Mayweather has beaten other champions, but many believe they were champions of empty divisions. For others, Sugar Ray Robinson is the greatest ever thanks to his 173 victories, 108 which came by knockout. The fact Robinson fought so long makes him a contender for the greatest of all time.
Fighting outside of their peak
Although Mayweather beat some of boxing’s greatest names, many believe he did so at a time that suited him. He was accused of ducking Pacquiao for years until the Filipino was past his best. Also when he beat Canelo Alvarez, the Mexican fighter was young, and most believe he wouldn’t have lost to Mayweather at his peak.
Boxing records are there to be judged, but what you can’t deny is that Mayweather has the greatest unbeaten run in the history of the sport. Maybe one or two of his opponents were not as good as they should have been, or maybe Mayweather’s skills in the ring made them look out of his league.
Whatever people think of Mayweather, the boxer doesn’t care. He claims he is ‘The Best Ever’ and knows, in his own mind at least, that he is better than everyone who ever laced up a pair of gloves.