MANILA, Philippines – American superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr. has a perfect 44-0 record and is widely considered to be the undisputed pound-for-pound best boxer in the world today, but a boxing analyst said he cannot be considered the greatest boxer of all time.
Last Saturday in Las Vegas, Mayweather put on a boxing clinic against tough veteran Robert Guerrero, as he took “The Ghost” apart over 12 rounds to win a unanimous decision.
It was an impressive performance even by Mayweather’s standards, considering the unbeaten boxer was coming off a one-year lay-off and had also spent two months behind the bars.
Yahoo! Sports analyst Kevin Iole, in his post-fight analysis, said Mayweather’s performance against Guerrero showed that he was “the greatest fighter of his generation.”
But even with this latest addition to Mayweather’s resume, Iole is hesitant to put “Money” in the conversation for the greatest fighters ever.
“Mayweather is far beyond being judged against his peers,” he wrote, “but the lack of depth and quality among them keeps him from seriously being regarded as one of the 10 best fighters ever.”
Iole notes that the legendary Sugar Ray Robinson, whom he calls “without question the greatest fighter who ever lived,” defeated “enough Hall of Famers to fill a football team.”
“The thing that Robinson, and more recent superstars such as Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran and Marvin Hagler, had over Mayweather was elite opposition,” Iole said.
While Mayweather has fought most of the best of his era, he did not fight former world champion Kostya Tszyu and has yet to fight Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao.
Iole counts four future Hall of Famers that Mayweather beat – Arturo Gatti, Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley and Miguel Cotto – but this was not enough to put him in the conversation with Robinson and Leonard.
“(Mayweather’s) lack of opposition will never allow him to be compared to guys like Robinson, Henry Armstrong, Muhammad Ali and the sport’s other super elite,” he said.
But Mayweather’s father, Floyd Sr., insists that it was not his son’s fault that he lacked truly elite opponents.
“Let me tell you this right here about the boxing game,” Floyd Sr. told Iole. “There were much better fighters when Sugar Ray Robinson was coming along. There were much better fighters when Joe Louis was coming along.”
“That’s not my son’s fault. My son beat who’s here today,” he said.
Mayweather, for his part, declined to compare himself to the legends.
“I take my hat off to Sugar Ray Leonard and all those other fighters who paved the way for me to be where I am at today,” he said during the post-fight press conference.
“I’m not here to match myself against them because I’m not in their era. I respect them. I take my hat off to them. But I’m in my era, and I just do what I do,” Mayweather said.