Not many of the world’s top sports stars openly argue about their place in the pantheon of greatness, but then, not many share Floyd Mayweather Jr’s narcissistic streak.
The Money – as he’s become known thanks to gross career earnings in the region of $400m, soon to be increased by an estimated $120m when he takes to the ring against Manny Pacquiao on May 1st – doesn’t hold back in the boasting department.
“No disrespect to Muhammad Ali, but he did it in one division. Ali lost to a fighter with seven fights (on his record, Leon Spinks), but he’s still known as ‘The Greatest’. That’s what he put out there. It is what it is,” said Mayweather,
“I’ve beaten everyone for 17 years. I know what I can do.”
Having already labelled most of his apparel with the acronym TBE ‘The best ever’ it is pretty clear where Mayweather places himself in boxing history.
Although this kind of rhetoric does much to put people off the American prize-fighter, it’s difficult to find arguments against his place at boxing’s pinnacle, from a statistical perspective at least.
Mayweather enters the MGM Grand ring as the warm 8/15 favourite to defeat Pacquiao for very good reasons.
The American’s record precedes him. He is 47-0 as he takes on the Pac-Man having conquered fives separate divisions in his chosen sport before now, while he currently holds three belts to his opponent’s one.
Although Ali’s size was a clear hindrance in respect of traversing the weights, this pound-for-pound pedigree is only really rivalled by his next opponent, though Pacquiao has already suffered five defeats and two draws during his distinguished career.
If it was a contest based on style over results then many would give it to Ali by unanimous decision.
Even then, some purists of the sport could counter that with Mayweather’s ability to evade punches as well as throw them, rendering him the ultimate pugilist.
Many will be hoping a man that carries so much bravado and bluster around with him, will fall at the final hurdle, but even if The Destroyer finally blemishes his career in Las Vegas, it’s difficult to squash his claims as the genuine greatest.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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