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Just say it. Say it with me. Say, “Mayweather is the greatest.”
That wasn’t so hard, was it?
I’m an admirer of Floyd as a boxer, not necessarily as a person (he clearly seems like a massive bag of dog crap in his personal life). But misbehavior and illiteracy jokes aside, you can’t argue against Mayweather’s superhero-level awesomeness as an athlete even though we’re obsessed with making excuses for his greatness.
When Mayweather fought McGregor, there’s no doubt that his age showed. He was 40, and you could tell; he was a shell of his former self. On top of that, Conor was a beast and fought a hell of a fight, so props to him. Not only did he exceed our expectations, but he won a few rounds and made it an entertaining night.
But Floyd still won by TKO despite his age, smaller stature, brittle hands, and lamer entrance music. Also, the less said about that unintentionally hilarious ski mask he wore the better. He looked like he was gonna go rob a liquor store after the fight or audition to play one of the teenage girls in Spring Breakers 2.
All the people saying Floyd was gonna get knocked out are now making excuses like, “Well, why did it take him 10 rounds to knock out a non-boxer?” We’re doing what we always do. For some reason, we’re terrified to admit that Mayweather is the greatest.
He’s our generation’s Muhammad Ali. No, he doesn’t have the political activism or literacy (fine, I made ONE illiteracy joke), but in terms of skill he’s a Cassius Clay with less charisma and more Instagram followers. We constantly make excuses for Floyd.
“He dodges and cherrypicks his opponents.”
“He dances around the ring and doesn’t throw any punches.”
“His comedic timing was atrocious every time he appeared on Conan” (very valid point).
Let’s start with “He dances around the ring and doesn’t throw any punches.” The people who get bored from Mayweather fights only know boxing from Rocky movies, old Tyson fights, or the video of that one time Woody Allen boxed a kangaroo (I tried to pick the most dated, obscure reference possible). Sure, Mayweather’s style is based on defense, but what’s wrong with that? He’s not a brawler; he’s a tactician. This shit is chess, not checkers (I stole that line from Denzel in Training Day. Pretty badass, though, right?).
Mayweather clearly plays up the role of the villain. His flashy, arrogant persona seems to piss tons of people off. The boos in the arena are like music to his ears, though. He knows how to sell the hell out of a fight. He knows people will shell out $100 to watch him fight because they want to see him get knocked out, even though it never happens. Ever.
So why do we refuse to consider that Mayweather may be the GOAT? Is it his cockiness? The dude has every right to be cocky. If I was a professional boxer with zero Ls on my record, I’d the most insufferable narcissistic prick in North America. Is it that he’s “boring” to watch? I’d argue that his impeccable defense is just as impressive as a quick knockout, just in a different way. Is it the despicable things he’s done outside the ring? I can at least respect that opinion, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s a perfect boxer. His (shitty) personal life is a separate thing, though. Floyd could murder 27 people in an Applebee’s in Wyoming with his bare hands on Christmas Eve and he’d still be a champ. And I’m actually betting $500 with my friend Kyle that he’ll do that one day.
50 and 0 is… Well, it’s 50 and 0. Numbers don’t lie. Men lie, women lie, Bill Clinton lied, my ex-girlfriend Carol lies, but numbers don’t lie.
So stop being afraid to say Mayweather is the greatest. I’m not saying Mayweather is definitely the GOAT; I’m just saying that it isn’t unreasonable to claim that he is. He’s a legend. He’s a machine. He’s the answer to the age old question, “What would it be like if Muhammad Ali was a rich douchebag who owned a strip club?”.
Image via Shutterstock