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Mayweather Should Challenge Golovkin To Prove He's "OOTBE"

BY Frank Lotierzo ON August 12, 2014
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There's a fighter today, and he just happens to be the top rated pound for pound fighter in boxing. He likes to wear a hat with the letters "TBE" across the front of it. "TBE" stands for "The Best Ever" but could just as easily stand for "The Best Evader." No, Floyd Mayweather 46-0 (26) isn't the best ever and really isn't in the conversation regarding who's the best ever fighter/boxer to anyone who was born before, say, 1980.

Yes, Floyd is undefeated, but when his name comes up, at least in a majority of the conversations I've had with boxing fans, the first thing that they say is, "Why won't he fight Manny Pacquiao?" Which really makes my answer tough because I'm one who never once wavered in my belief that Mayweather would've defeated Pacquiao had they fought when a bout between them was a legitimate Super Fight circa spring 2010.

Sugar Ray Leonard was once asked how a fight between he and Mayweather would've turned out had they met in their respective prime. Leonard always answers that question like a politician running for office. However, on this particular occasion he said, to paraphrase, Do you think Thomas Hearns, Marvin Hagler or Roberto Duran would've ducked fighting Manny Pacquiao? And when you think of it like that, Mayweather really does look small. Because if you live in reality, Mayweather-Pacquiao never being made had much more to do with Mayweather's reluctance than anything else. The supposed "TBE" wouldn't fight a featherweight who moved up in weight.

Since he turned pro back in 1996 there's only been one fight that boxing fans have really wanted to see Mayweather agree to. And that was a fight with Pacquiao circa 2009/2010 when the outcome was somewhat in doubt. Only Mayweather thought it was too risky and sat on his hands and threw out every excuse imaginable that some foolishly even accepted. Well, that's water under the bridge now. However, there is something Mayweather could do to erase the stench of not giving the fans the only fight they ever really wanted from him, and that's fight WBA middleweight title holder Gennady Golovkin 30-0 (27).

Golovkin is without a doubt the most formidable fighter in professional boxing weighing 160 or less. He's undefeated and one of the most talked about fighters in boxing who is at or near his prime. Mayweather should challenge Golovkin for his middleweight title without a catch-weight clause attached to the deal. Yes, Golovkin says he can make 154, but we've never seen him fight that low and haven't clue-one if he's the same fighter at that low weight. Beating Golovkin at 154 is not beating the fighter we've seen through 10 middleweight title bouts. And that's what would be the intrigue of the fight. Could Mayweather beat the version of Golovkin that's gone through the middleweight division? We know Gennady is a beast at 160 and that's the weight they should fight at. Floyd fought Canelo Alvarez, who balloons up higher after the weigh in than Golovkin does after making weight, and Floyd had no qualms with that.

Mayweather is often compared to Sugar Ray Leonard from a skill vantage point. In fact Floyd has said on the record that's he's even greater than Leonard was. Which in my opinion is as Mike Tyson would say, preposterous. However, if Mayweather wants to show that he has half the character and guts that Leonard had, he should try and follow Ray's lead and challenge Golovkin.

It was April of 1987 and Leonard, who'd only fought once in five years, faced Hagler for the WBC middleweight title. At the time Hagler was 32, as is Golovkin. Hagler was the undisputed middleweight champ for nearly seven years at the time and only the great Roberto Duran went the distance with Marvin in a title bout, something 11 other fighters failed to do. And Leonard had never fought above junior middleweight before fighting Hagler, which also applies to Mayweather if he fights Golovkin.

Some will say yeah, but Leonard demanded 12 rounds instead of 15, even though Hagler's last two title bouts before he fought Leonard were only scheduled for 12 rounds. This applies to title bouts today, being that they're all scheduled for 12 rounds and have been for over 25 years. Leonard also wanted to fight with 10 ounce gloves instead of eight ounce, which was the protocol at the time. Guess what, Mayweather and Golovkin both fight wearing 10 ounce gloves. Also, Leonard wanted a 20 foot ring when he challenged Hagler and he got it. Wow, this is nuts, but Mayweather always fights in a ring that's at least 20 foot. This is crazy, but Mayweather could challenge Golovkin and automatically receive the same advantages that Leonard bargained to get in order to fight Hagler....and Floyd wouldn't even have to negotiate for them.

And let’s face it, who would you rather be, the fighter trying to take Hagler's title away from him in 1987, or the one trying to take Golovkin's away from him in 2014? I know which line I'd be in - that long one in front of Golovkin that would extend way, way around the block. Golovkin is no doubt a formidable fighter and it'll take a special fighter to beat him, but again, I live in reality, and there's no way in the world Golovkin of today would take Hagler's title in 1987. He might go the distance, but he'd probably get beat up worse than John "The Beast" Mugabi did when he fought Hagler in Marvin's last bout before meeting Leonard. And don't think Leonard caught Hagler at the perfect time, because had Ray not defeated Marvin, he would've reigned as middleweight champ for another two years if he wanted to. There wasn't a chance in the world that Hagler would've lost his title to the likes of Sumbu Kalambay, Michael Nunn or James Toney circa 1988-89. No way.

Think about the credibility that Mayweather would gain if he actually fought Golovkin in a legitimate middleweight title bout without any gimmicks or cons. And if he beat the undefeated Golovkin, he could have a hat made that read OOTBE..."One Of The Best Ever" and it would actually apply.

Floyd Mayweather is a great fighter, but I don't care what anyone says, his stature and record are very much in large part due to his brilliant managing skills and picking his opponents. He'll retire with his health and wealth, on that there can be no denying. However, what about his respect? For his entire career there's been one opponent, Manny Pacquiao, that boxing fans clamored for him to face and for whatever his reasons, the fight never happened. Think about that, if the boxing world pined for Leonard, Duran or Hearns to fight Pacquiao because there was a question as to whether they could beat him or not, do you think they would've made the fight a reality?

There's one name in boxing between welterweight and middleweight, excluding Mayweather, that fans are excited about, and that's Golovkin. If Floyd wanted to prove beyond all doubt that he's maybe OOTBE, he'd go for Golovkin before he gets better. And the funny thing about it is, Golovkin isn't even a big middleweight and would only come to the ring a few pounds heavier than the 165 that Marcos Maidana did when he fought Floyd three months ago in his last bout.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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Comment on this article

The Shadow says:

It's a non-starter for several reasons:

1) Different weight classes.

2) They're signed to exclusive deals with competing networks.

3) Mayweather doesn't challenge anyone.

Though we like to see welterweights go to middleweight, I don't agree with the Ray Leonard comparison.

It's one thing if you start there and go up. But Floyd is maxed out at 147, which is evidenced by the fact that he walks around at the same weight as current lightweight fighters -- a weight he has plateaud at for almost 10 years.

Remember, he was the top senior amateur in the country at 106 pounds. He competed in the Olympics at 125 pounds/57 kg, the same weight class as Vasyl Lomachenko.

The only weight class he has competed in with any kind of consistency is 130. So Frank, he has actually done the Ray Leonard thing by going to welterweight.

So the weight issue makes it a non-starter. But if GGG could squeeze down to 147 then I think it could be interesting.

But even then, the fact that Golovkin just signed an extension with HBO and Mayweather is heavily invested in Showtime and vice versa.

Fun fight to talk about, though.

the Roast says:

It's a non-starter for several reasons:

1) Different weight classes.

2) They're signed to exclusive deals with competing networks.

3) Mayweather doesn't challenge anyone.

Though we like to see welterweights go to middleweight, I don't agree with the Ray Leonard comparison.

It's one thing if you start there and go up. But Floyd is maxed out at 147, which is evidenced by the fact that he walks around at the same weight as current lightweight fighters -- a weight he has plateaud at for almost 10 years.

Remember, he was the top senior amateur in the country at 106 pounds. He competed in the Olympics at 125 pounds/57 kg, the same weight class as Vasyl Lomachenko.

The only weight class he has competed in with any kind of consistency is 130. So Frank, he has actually done the Ray Leonard thing by going to welterweight.

So the weight issue makes it a non-starter. But if GGG could squeeze down to 147 then I think it could be interesting.

But even then, the fact that Golovkin just signed an extension with HBO and Mayweather is heavily invested in Showtime and vice versa.

Fun fight to talk about, though.


True Shadow, all true. As En Vogue used to say "We're Never Gonna Get It."

New York Tony says:

Typically fine work from Frank Lotierzo, though I don't at all share his certainty that Hagler would have beaten, let alone destroyed, Golovkin. I also don't think Mayweather would have beaten Pacquiao five years ago. He probably would today, but what would that prove, that he's aged better? He's a boxer, not a wine. As for Mayweather-Golovkin ... won't happen for any number of reasons, including the weight disparity. All things being equal, however - a win for Triple G. But Frank hits the nail on the head with his contemptuous dismissal of Mayweather's megalomaniacal claim to being The Best Ever. Not while guys like Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Louis, Harry Greb, Willie Pep and Sandy Saddler live in the hearts and minds of true-blue boxing fans. Which means ... never. Not even the best of the welterweights. Mayweather better than Henry Armstrong? Take that on the stage - you'll get a good laugh.

The Commish says:

Great points, Shadow. $$$May v GGG is a fun fight to talk about, but there are too many factors going on here to make it a reality.

It's just too bad for boxing fans and for the legacy of both $$$May and Manny Pacquiao that the mega-fight between them never materialized!

-Randy G.

Brad says:

I agree that Floyd needs to swim in deeper waters if he wants to be considered an "OOTBE." Enough of these nonsense fights: Victor Ortiz, Guererro, two with Maidana. There was a real challenge that everyone wanted to see with Pacquiao and they couldn't get it done. Spar me the network deals bs. If either really wanted that fight to demonstrate that they are the best, they could get it done. Don King and Bob Arum worked together on Duran-Leonard I. Showtime and HBO got together for Lewis-Tyson even after both said it had to be on their network or it wouldn't happen. If the fighters really want it, the networks will find a way to make it happen. They'll make money. Problem is Floyd doesn't really want it to happen. Or it would. It's the difference between him and guys like Ali and Duran. Those two were always looking for bigger challenges. Duran beats Moore to win the junior middleweight title, he goes after the baddest fighter out there Marvin Hagler. At MIDDLEWEIGHT. Marvin's weight. His natural weight. And only a few months after the Moore fight. I'm sure Duran could have given us hundreds of good reasons not to fight Hagler, like Floyd would have if he was around back then. But he didn't. He fought him. Then he went after Tommy Hearns!! Even though Duran lost both those fights,the fact that he wanted them at all is something to be celebrated. Unlike Floyd's never ending list of reasons big fights can't be made. So Floyd has stayed in shallow waters his entire career while true greats like Duran and Ali swam out in deep seas. No OOTBE for Floyd in my book.

Radam G says:

Money May is a lightweight fighting welterweight, just as the great Jose Napoles was. But JN listened to nonsense and fought and almost got killed by fighting Carlos Monzon at middlweight.

Money May is fine. He is one of the greatest lightwieght-welterweight champions of all times. Pundits cannot handle it. But it doesn't't stop it from being so. Holla!

Brad says:

Money May is a lightweight fighting welterweight, just as the great Jose Napoles was. But JN listened to nonsense and fought and almost got killed by fighting Carlos Monzon at middlweight.

Money May is fine. He is one of the greatest lightwieght-welterweight champions of all times. Pundits cannot handle it. But it doesn't't stop it from being so. Holla!


Duran was also a lightweight, that took on some of the all-time greats at welterweight and middleweight. Sugar Ray Robinson wasn't a middleweight, yet he fought at that class against bigger men. Henry Armstrong same thing. Look, Floyd owes us anything. he doesn't have to risk anything if he doesn't want to. But if that's the case don't try to sell us this TBE bullsh*t. He doesn't pass that test because he didn't take the test.

brownsugar says:

Duran was also a lightweight, that took on some of the all-time greats at welterweight and middleweight. Sugar Ray Robinson wasn't a middleweight, yet he fought at that class against bigger men. Henry Armstrong same thing. Look, Floyd owes us anything. he doesn't have to risk anything if he doesn't want to. But if that's the case don't try to sell us this TBE bullsh*t. He doesn't pass that test because he didn't take the test.


Duran fought at middleweight because he couldn't get down to welterweight... He eventually ballooned all the way up 180 lbs. and weighing nearly 200lbs between fights in his later years.

# Ricky Hatton.

Brad says:

No. Duran fought at middleweight because Marvin Hagler was there. That's the point. He easily could have stayed at 147 or 154. he's only 5' 7". When he fought at middleweight he was hardly cut. There was plenty of pounds he could have shed. But he wanted the biggest fight out there- Marvin Hagler. That's why Duran is Duran and Floyd is Floyd.

deepwater2 says:

Terrific article. Floyd is not the best ever period. The Tbe hat and shirt nonsense is just a marketing ploy.
Floyd won a belt at 154. If GGG came down to 154 then the self proclaimed the best ever would make the fight . No excuses because other fighters have done it, Mickey Walker was a 5 ft 7 in welterweight that won a welterweight title and middleweight title ,and fought light heavyweights and heavyweights like the brutal Max Schmeling . Imagine 5 ft 7 in Floyd going up to fight to fight for the heavyweight belt against Stiverne?

Imagine Mickey Walker making excuses to get out of the Harry Greb fight? Boxing history is filled with small guys moving up

If Floyd really wanted the Pac fight or the GGG fight networks,promoters and anyone else that would have a chance to make money would jump over backwards and come to terms to make the fight.

Coxs Corner says:

How can one say Floyd Mayweather has "already done the Leonard thing by moving up from 130 to 147? " Ray Leonard fought the best of the best at 147 Wilfred Benitez, Roberto Duran, and Thomas Hearns while Mayweather never unified any titles and avoided the best competition that was available. In 2000-2001 a period when Mayweather was 130 pound WBC champion he could have tried to unify that title against WBC 130 pound champion Joel Casamayor but didn't. Floyd won the WBC 135 pound lightweight title in early 2002. If he wanted to prove he was one of the best ever he could have challenged 140 champion Kostya Tszyu anytime between 2002-2004 but didn't. Roberto Duran went from 135 to 147 against an all time great Leonard and skipped 140 altogether. Hagler is considered by many as a top 5 all time middleweight champion but Duran showed no fear in challenging him. Why can't Floyd do the same with GGG? After winning a version of the 147 title Mayweather avoided the only fighter people wanted him to fight, who is in fact a natural 140 pounder and has only weighed in at the welterweight limit of 147 I believe one time, Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao fought Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, and JMM multiple times each. Mayweather could have had multiple fights against Manny over the last 4 or 5 years, but made excuses. Floyd also avoided Antonio Margarito when he was considered a threat. He retired for 2 years rather than fight Paul Williams when Williams looked to have a style and physicality that would present problems for Mayweather to solve and he was unwilling to take the risk. Rather than take the opportunity to prove himself one of the best ever he has had a cherry picked career fighting men like Shane Mosley when they were clearly past their prime. As Frank stated would men like Roberto Duran or Ray Leonard avoided fighting each other or bigger challenges? No. Floyd is TBE, the best evader ever not one of the best ever.

Radam G says:

Duran was also a lightweight, that took on some of the all-time greats at welterweight and middleweight. Sugar Ray Robinson wasn't a middleweight, yet he fought at that class against bigger men. Henry Armstrong same thing. Look, Floyd owes us anything. he doesn't have to risk anything if he doesn't want to. But if that's the case don't try to sell us this TBE bullsh*t. He doesn't pass that test because he didn't take the test.


He is one of the best ever -- TBE -- end of discussion. He doesn't owe fans, scribes, pundits or aficionados a d@mn thing. I'll never understand why some people be they are more important than the athlete.

Money May does da dang thang [$¡¢] his way. Not liking his swag or tude is own you. GOAT Ali is what he said -- "The Greatest." Money May is what he says : "TBE -- The Best Ever."

Money May is entitled to his opinion. He has made more moolah from boxing than other pug. He's indeed TBE. Holla!

The Commish says:

No. Duran fought at middleweight because Marvin Hagler was there. That's the point. He easily could have stayed at 147 or 154. he's only 5' 7". When he fought at middleweight he was hardly cut. There was plenty of pounds he could have shed. But he wanted the biggest fight out there- Marvin Hagler. That's why Duran is Duran and Floyd is Floyd.


Exactly, Brad. I wonder what the Duran who beat Sugar Ray Leonard in June 1980 would have done to the Floyd Mayweather Jr. of ANY date?

-Randy G.

Radam G says:

No. Duran fought at middleweight because Marvin Hagler was there. That's the point. He easily could have stayed at 147 or 154. he's only 5' 7". When he fought at middleweight he was hardly cut. There was plenty of pounds he could have shed. But he wanted the biggest fight out there- Marvin Hagler. That's why Duran is Duran and Floyd is Floyd.


Somebody is making up syet and sanitizing reality. B-Sug is RIGHT. Roberto Duran fought heavier because he could not make the weight. I was the kid fly on the wall so I know. And YUP, he was actually 5-foot-6. "ONLY (a reported) 5'7" has absolutely nothing to do with making weight. Dwight Muhammad Qawi was 5-foot-6 at light heavyweight and cruiserweight during most of the same era. Roberto Duran would put own weight that would make him 6 foot in bulk. Holla!

Brad says:

I followed Duran's career very close back then. He was may favorite fighter. He started fighting professionally in 1968, he weight 118 lbs. From 1972-1978 he was the lightweight champ. He always gained weight between bouts. He drank and over ate. He left the lightweights because for two reasons, it was harder for him to lose the weight, but more importantly all the big fights were at welterweight. Palomino, Benitez, Leonard, Hearns, Cuevas, etc. He won the title in 1980 from Leonard, then quit in November of 1980. From 1981-1983 he fought at junior middleweight. In all those fights, he looks overweight. Go to youtube and watch the Gonzalez or Minchillo bouts. Watch the Benitez fight or the Laing fight. He had zero problem making weight at 154. The ONLY reason he fought Hagler was because Hagler was the MAN. Everyone thought he was crazy for even trying. He didn't grow out of the 154 division. He wanted to fight Hagler and Hagler only fought at middleweight. But Duran, if motivated, easily could have fought at 147 in 1983. But Benitez, Hearns and Hagler (all the big names back then) were fighting at the higher weight. So Duran followed them. Duran was the anti-Floyd Mayweather.

Radam G says:

I followed Duran's career very close back then. He was may favorite fighter. He started fighting professionally in 1968, he weight 118 lbs. From 1972-1978 he was the lightweight champ. He always gained weight between bouts. He drank and over ate. He left the lightweights because for two reasons, it was harder for him to lose the weight, but more importantly all the big fights were at welterweight. Palomino, Benitez, Leonard, Hearns, Cuevas, etc. He won the title in 1980 from Leonard, then quit in November of 1980. From 1981-1983 he fought at junior middleweight. In all those fights, he looks overweight. Go to youtube and watch the Gonzalez or Minchillo bouts. Watch the Benitez fight or the Laing fight. He had zero problem making weight at 154. The ONLY reason he fought Hagler was because Hagler was the MAN. Everyone thought he was crazy for even trying. He didn't grow out of the 154 division. He wanted to fight Hagler and Hagler only fought at middleweight. But Duran, if motivated, easily could have fought at 147 in 1983. But Benitez, Hearns and Hagler (all the big names back then) were fighting at the higher weight. So Duran followed them. Duran was the anti-Floyd Mayweather.


Very well put. "Duran was the anti-Floyd Mayweather." Different folks, different strokes. Different time, different rhyme. They are two different types. Both greats, who fought over-their-weight-limit fights. Coulda, woulda, shoulda ain't worth a hill of beans. Holla!

Brad says:

Randy, Hitler's Army couldn't have got Floyd Mayweather to step into the same ring with the June 1980 Roberto Duran.

Froggy says:

I remember when the two P4P best fighters in the world were widely considered to be Ali and Duran ! Duran was asked what would happen if they met in the ring, Duran said " I keek sheet out of him" ! Duran thought he could beat anyone at one time !

amayseng says:

Exactly, Brad. I wonder what the Duran who beat Sugar Ray Leonard in June 1980 would have done to the Floyd Mayweather Jr. of ANY date?

-Randy G.


He would have given him a beating, with ease.

SouthPawFlo says:

I'm a Mayweather fan, but I don't think he's the Best Ever, "One of The Best Ever," but definitely not the best...


His "safety first" mentality has kept him at the top of the sport for a long time and he's been a world champ for 16-17 years, and that can't be taken away from him....

But offensively he just never has enough of a "killer instinct" to be considered TBE....


In my opinion...

King Beef says:

I think everyone is taking that TBE thing too seriously, you should know by now Money has mastered the fine art of "turning the screw" to evoke reaction and keep a certain level of buzz. As Rad-G said if he truly believes it, thats his opinion. As far as the competition along the way all the "big dogs" can pick and choose opponents as they want...because they can.

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