By Liam McInerney
YOU know boxing has changed when a fighter is stripped of a world title and remains nonchalant. Why would Floyd Mayweather mourn for his departed WBO welterweight crown anyway? Four other championship belts can keep him company for now.
Titles are removable but something forever indelible to Mayweather is his unbeaten record. Love him or loathe him but respect his artistry in the ring.
The best ever? No. One of the greatest of all time? Certainly.
Floyd has been doubted too often. Against the bigger Oscar De La Hoya he boxed his way to victory. I scored the bout 115 to 113 and observed no controversy. A close encounter but only one winner.
Saúl Álvarez is one of many victims of a masterclass by the pound for pound king. While active in boxing Mayweather proclaimed that Canelo must wait for his retirement before being the best.
“Who would not like to dance around the ring with Mayweather for 180 million dollars.” I enjoy Conor McGregor’s infectious demeanour, but he and plenty of others, have a misconception of Mayweather. Round 12 with Marcos Maidana drew boos from those present as the champion avoided the Argentine’s offensive. But Mayweather hits rapidly and accurately. 51% of Mayweather’s total punches landed compared to his opponents 22%.
All legendary boxers have endured wars. Sugar Shane Mosley rocked Mayweather twice in round two of their contest. The money man weathered the storm and aggressively competed toe to toe. In that battle on the inside Mayweather came out on top. Granted hes never experienced a scrap like Jamie Conlan vs Junior Granados. To his credit he hasn’t had to sustain such extremes as we witnessed at the National Stadium despite the quality opposition he has clashed with.
Unless Mayweather fights for as long as Bernard Hopkins (obviously not going to happen) he wont be defeated. His defence is genius and at 38 his speed still kills.
Manny Pacquiao held the hopes of millions of fans who yearned to see a 1 placed on Mayweather’s record. But even he was outclassed. Injured or not would it really have altered the outcome?
Timothy Bradley, Keith Thurman, Amir Khan and Kell Brook are all excellent fighters. Yet like tremendous boxers before them, they would fail to blemish Mayweather’s perfect career.
In his own words: “You’ve got to have a villain and they’ll always make me a villain. I’m used to it – it makes me work harder and it makes me fight harder.”
Whether you are a fan or not, now is the moment we accept that in a ring the infamous Floyd Mayweather will never be conquered.