Newton’s Third Law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction– and that is certainly the case when it comes to Pacquiao idolatry in today’s world of big-time professional prize fighting.
Aside from the copious reporting of Pacquiao minutia and the establishment of a Pacquiao-centric cottage industry of carpetbagging boxing scribes, the Pacquiao love has spawned an equally brutish and completely opposite reaction among fans of the Filipino fighter’s arch-nemesis.
In the face of unreasonable Pacquiao worship, some Floyd Mayweather fans have taken to message boards and social media sites with similarly ridiculous declarations and claims of inflated grandeur for their favorite.
So, as an indirect response to some of the off-the-wall statements I’ve been seeing lately, here’s my take on Floyd fans’ attempts to be as blindly loyal as their Manny counterparts– Mayweather doesn’t belong on any all-time lists and shouldn’t even be mentioned in fantasy match-ups against guys like Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard, or, heaven forbid, Sugar Ray Robinson.
Mayweather has forfeited his right to make any claim to greatness by cruising on semi-retired mode for the last five years of his career.
Every fighter has the right to decide how often he wants to fight, but every action has its repercussion– And the price for four fights in five years is instant dismissal from any all-time consideration, especially since the five years in question are prime, 29-34, years.
For the record, I believe that Mayweather has been the victim of a real double standard in the sport as well as a series of brutally focused public relations attacks, initiated by former promoter, Bob Arum. Mayweather’s resume is much better than many care to admit and, frankly, he has been the subject of a media pile-on since ditching Arum’s protective relationship when it comes to the mainstream boxing media. In a lot of ways, the man has had his reputation wrongfully sullied for essentially being boxed out of the welterweight scene by a jilted former promoter.
When Mayweather does fight, it has been against logical, quality opponents. With the exception of Juan Manuel Marquez, everybody on his recent resume has been a Top 3 divisional fighter. And as far as ring work goes, Mayweather has always shown great respect for the sport by taking the time to learn his craft and by always showing up in shape for his bouts. “Money” persona notwithstanding, few fighters from this era have treated boxing with as much respect as Mayweather.
However, none of this makes the case for him achieving legendary status. Mayweather is phenomenally talented and would be the favorite going into a bout with anybody from 140 to 154 lbs., but the data on him is incomplete. We simply haven’t seen enough of him at 140 and above to make reasonable comparisons with the all-time greats.
Personally, it has been a disappointment to see so little of what Mayweather has to offer, but the man is entitled to make his own career decisions– and the fans are entitled to make theirs.
For me, regardless of what he does against Victor Ortiz on September 17, Mayweather will always be in the “What Could’ve Been” file.
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