Floyd Mayweather, Jr. wants us to believe he should be mentioned in the same breath as Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali. Or at least he wants us to think that he believes such an absurd overstatement. Pretty Boy, you sure do remind us of the throwbacks. You know, the all-time greats that will always be associated with pioneering work in their field:
Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Carnegie. Like them, you are a master capitalist. You’re also a pugilistic virtuoso, but on your current career path, we will remember you more for being a businessman than as someone who took care of bidness in the ring.
Allow me to blunt for a moment. Your victories over Oscar and Hatton impress on paper only. Your win over De La Hoya was akin to defeating the Spanish Armada in the 1600’s. Both big-time names. Both already depleted.
And your kayo of Ricky Hatton at 147 was an impressive display to be sure—if you’re into watching snakes devour mice.
We applaud your ability to maximize your payday, while minimizing your risk. Adam Smith would be proud. But discerning boxing fans are not fooled.
Congratulations on the victories, though. I do not intend to entirely diminish your accomplishments, but we know you are capable of more. You are, after all, the best fighter of your era and your work ethic is among the best in any sport.
However, a young gauntlet of up-and-comers in your own weight class awaits you. You have an opportunity—one that far too many never get—to truly legitimize your reign. Your pockets are sufficiently stuffed. I beseech you to not retire. I beg you to not fight Oscar. And I hope you will listen.
If you need some time off, you’ve more than earned it. But when September rolls around, I do not want to see you in the ring with Oscar and telling us that a 2nd win over him will cement your legacy.
Miguel Cotto. Paul Williams. Kermit Cintron. Ready yourselves.
These are just a few of the names that would present unique challenges to you. Between them they have just 1 professional loss. There’s risk involved. That means there’s intrigue involved. That gets people talking. That gets people caring, which in turn leads to honest debate about your place.
Cotto is considered the biggest threat, while Williams has a reach and build rarely seen in your class. Cintron, conversely, punches with the fury of a larger man. These would be tests where you can truly prove your mettle. You might get knocked down. You might even lose. But until we see you sweat against a dangerous opponent, we (and you) will never know how great you truly are. At some point you’ve got to put your neck on the line if you want to be considered for boxing’s Mount Crushmore.
Ali lost 5 times. But he stepped in the ring with legends that pushed him to a higher level. If you’re worried about your health, take solace in the fact you’ll never have to spend 15 rounds getting acquainted with the fist at the end of Smokin’s Joe’s left hook. For years you’ve had a crutch when addressing your lack of big-name victims: You beat everyone in front of you.
But, if you want to be taken seriously, put a worthy adversary in front of you. They now abound. They’re not the biggest money fights available, but only by making these fights will you silence your remaining critics.
Please Floyd, accept a fight with Cotto. Afterwards fight whoever is left standing if Cintron and Williams ever get around to a showdown. You’re arguably the greatest fighter of the last 10 years, a unique talent. Perhaps one day, the rest of the world will believe you’re as good as you think you are.