It's Past Time For Mayweathers' Legacy Fight
Five division champ Floyd Mayweather must never sleep. His mind is always working. Last week he floated (yes, it was he who put it out there through one of his gofers) a rumor that he bet $10.4 million on the Denver Broncos to win the Super Bowl, then after the Broncos went down 43-8 to the Seattle Seahawks, he confirmed that he didn't even bet the game.
Before that he Tweeted that he wanted boxing fans to pick who he should fight next between Englishman Amir Khan 28-3 (20) and Marcos Maidana 35-3 (31). Yeah, that'll really make fans feel as if they have a say in the process. I wonder how the vote would unfold if there were other candidates involved named Manny Pacquiao, Sergio Martinez and Gennday Golovkin? Think Floyd would give the fans what they wanted then? Of course not.
However, since we're stuck with Khan or Maidana that's what we have to work with. There's definitely a better story line surrounding Maidana. After all, Marcos just took apart Floyd Mayweather-lite in Adrien Broner in his last fight, and he is an aggressive guy who can hit pretty good. The problem is, Mayweather has already handled bigger and stronger fighters than Maidana without too much trouble. It's unlikely in my mind that Maidana could hurt Mayweather enough to turn the fight with one shot even if Floyd stood right in front of him and gave him a freebie. Add to that Mayweather's boxing skills and defense, how many good shots would Maidana even land over the course of 12 rounds? I bet you could count them on one hand.
So the thought of Mayweather fighting Maidana does nothing to stimulate me and I'm sure I'm not alone. Amir Khan used to be trained by Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach, and Roach believes Khan could be Mayweather's stumbling block.
"I've always said Amir has the right style to beat Floyd if he fights correctly and doesn't stay in the pocket too long," Roach told reporters earlier this year. "I always thought he could beat him with his speed. I think he's faster than Mayweather and that's what it takes to beat him. Floyd might have his hands full on the night."
Sure, what Roach said is very plausible on paper. But Floyd is too long, strong and accurate for Khan. And though Mayweather is not a single shot knockout type puncher, his accuracy would be a problem for Khan, being that Amir will be lured into pushing the fight and get hit very cleanly on the point of the chin as he tried to pursue Mayweather. The reality is Khan isn't skilled enough and Maidana isn't nearly a big enough puncher to unravel Mayweather. Mayweather's skill set is in a different universe compared to Amir Khan and Marcos Maidana. There's just no buzz, interest or drama in seeing either Khan or Maidana in the ring with Mayweather at this point. Everyone knows Floyd would jog to an easy win over both of these outstanding fighters. The time has come for Floyd to finally take a career defining fight that critics like myself can't attach a "but" too. Like Shane Mosley was a corpse when Mayweather finally fought him seven years after it meant something, or Saul Alvarez hadn't yet arrived as a real threat when Floyd agreed to fight him at a catch-weight. How about beating the much smaller Juan Manuel Marquez on the scale before manhandling him in the ring? Sugar Ray Leonard had a chance to fight Alexis Arguello in 1980 and declined because he felt it was too one sided in his favor. How much credit would Leonard have received had he taken Arguello apart the way Mayweather did Marquez? Not much. Well, Mayweather beating up an over-fed featherweight in Marquez is the same thing.
I was one of the last hold outs to submit that Floyd Mayweather is an authentically great fighter, but I've evolved, he is and he doesn't have to beat Manny Pacquiao to justify it. That said, I still think of him as being greatly managed before I think of what he brings to the ring as a fighter, and I'm nowhere close to being in the minority when it comes to holding that view among boxing observers and historians. Floyd needs a legacy fight in a bad way. Everyone knows there's no one around in his weight vicinity who can beat him, there just isn't. It's past the time for Floyd Mayweather to finally step up and take on a legitimately dangerous bigger fighter without shrinking him down before the fight to where he is compromised. Mayweather has amassed all the money and material things he'll ever need or desire. However, the chance to establish an ever-lasting legacy as an all-time great is running out like sand through an hourglass.
In reality, Gennday Golovkin is the only fighter near his weight who could provide Floyd a real challenge and that's the only fight out there for Mayweather that should interest the public. Roberto Duran and Thomas Hearns took on Marvin Hagler when he was in his prime and lost, but losing didn't hurt their legacy a bit. Sugar Ray Leonard fought Hagler when Marvin was riding an 11 year unbeaten streak and Ray had only fought once in five years, and Golovkin is no Hagler, yet Leonard beating Hagler sealed his legacy forever as one of the greatest of the greats.
Sure, Mayweather is a certain first ballot hall of fame fighter and boxer. But does he really belong in that adjacent room where only the greatest of the greats reside - namely Harry Greb, Henry Armstrong, Sam Langford, Sugar Ray Robinson, Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran and a few other pound for pound greats? Not based on his current resume despite him being undefeated. In fact, it's not even close.
Even if he won a decision over the determined and hard punching Golovkin, it wouldn't open the door for him to join the fighters in that adjacent room as the greatest of the greats, there's nothing he can do to get in there. But beating Golovkin without a stipulation or catch-weight would be a monumental signature win, especially at age 37, and very well could get him a window seat outside it and stir the debate as to whether he should be invited in or not.
Unfortunately, those of us who have followed Floyd Mayweather's stellar career know this will never happen. Floyd is only concerned about retiring undefeated and could care less if he's more remembered for being risk averse instead of as Muhammad Ali once said, not being "afraid to dare to dare!"
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com