In the run up to Floyd Mayweather Jr's eagerly anticipated fight with Manny Pacquiao, lighting up the billboards of boxing websites, I wanted to find out how Mayweather Jr compares with the great boxing Welterweights of old, why he should embrace his talent, not his treasure and question what the future holds for the sport.
From a rough upbringing, Floyd Mayweather Jr has transformed into arguably the greatest pound for pound boxer of the 21st Century, beating the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Marcos Maidana, to become a 5 division world champion and maintain an astonishing record, undefeated in 47 fights.
Reading comparisons of him to previous great Welterweights such as Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran and Thomas Hearns, most agreed that he would have had a tough time against these fighters and most likely be beaten by all of them.
In my opinion Mayweather Jr would have struggled against Sugar Ray Robinson, regarded by many as 'The Greatest', a complete boxer, who possessed great punching power with both hands, a boxer who used his considerable height, range and speed to beat opponents.
Although Floyd is a very intelligent boxer, he doesn't quite have the punching power to really trouble the talents of old, that said, he always rises to the occasion, studying his opponents and working out the best way of beating them. I think he would have given Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas 'Hitman' Hearns close matches and maybe Roberto 'Hands of Stone' Duran an epic contest, but all three would go the distance and certainly you would fancy Ray Leonard, who always seemed to step up and find ways of beating even the toughest opponents over Mayweather Jr.
Much of Floyd's success lies in his ability to choose opponents which suit him, the matchups that will get him the best reward financially and stylistically. Pacquiao is an astute choice of opponent because he is a similar age to Mayweather Jr, he is a fighter that will come forward and be the aggressor, a style which suits the counter-attacking play of Mayweather Jr, a fighter in the mould of Ricky Hatton, all be it better. Pacquiao has fast hand speed and throws flurries of punches, and although he is frequently able to hurt and overwhelm opponents with his speed, how much of it will land on Mayweather Jr, the master of evasion, will he be able to keep it up for 12 rounds or will he tire?
You might argue that the best days of both fighters are behind them, but just how fit is Mayweather Jr? a man who works tirelessly in the gym, a fighter whose insurmountable stamina has often been too much for opponents, not able to cope with his movement.
I disagree with Rob Blakeman's article to the extent that I believe he has thus far evaded Amir Khan, a tall rangy British boxer who is constantly improving, a fighter who is able to bounce back from defeat like the great Sugar Ray Robinson, a fighter who at 28 is in his prime. Is the mismatch of styles the reason why Mayweather chooses not to fight him?
For all the glitz and glamour I somewhat wonder about whether he should be considered a great, whether he should be lauded as one of the greatest or just merely the richest sports person in the world, a figure of mass consumerism, of fast cars, a boxer basking in the riches of his trade rather than his talent.
Over the years, boxing has increasingly been dictated by advertising, by how much money is invested in the match. Boxing's foundations have been swamped by changes in the rules, making it less enjoyable to the spectator and virtually forgotten due to the infrequency of fights, boxing ultimately has lost its soul, its heritage.Suggest a correction