By Qadir Hussain
Urban Echo’s boxing columnist, Qadir Hussain, takes a look at the potential fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao and asks the question… Is Mayweather running business, or simply running scared?
Any mention of the name Floyd Mayweather Jr is sure to illicit a response. There are those who consider Floyd at the very top of the all-time pound for pound list giving credence to his self proclaimed TBE (the best ever) title whilst there are others who vehemently attack his boxing legacy and reduce his status to that of a showman who has cleverly maneuvered his way to multiple boxing titles without truly putting himself in any danger.
The truth is often somewhere between the two extremes and in the case of Floyd Mayweather Jr, no objective boxing fan can possibly deny his talents and downplay his exceptional achievements. However, at a time when prime time boxing is finding itself in the shadows of popular recreations, be it football on this side of the Atlantic or basketball on the other, one has to question why the most highly anticipated fight in pugilistic history has not come to fruition? Floyd Mayweather Jr vs Manny Pacquiao was expected to be an era defining battle that was certain to cement the legacy of the victor into any conversation concerning the greatest ever.
Yet, what has ensued is a finger pointing drama that we tend not to associate with fighting men who we consider to be the modern equivalents of brave ancient warriors.
If historical interpretation of a ‘boxing great’ is to be assessed then one has to agree that any of the discussed consistently participated in the most dangerous fights in the most difficult of circumstances. Consider Ali vs Foreman, Ali achieved the seemingly impossible by defeating a man who at the time was considered unbeatable or the fight between Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvellous Marvin Hagler where the odds were steeply stacked against Leonard but some immeasurable quality, something beyond technical boxing ability allowed him to overcome a man who had not suffered a defeat in the previous ten years.
I think it would be fair to say that it’s this immeasurable and indefinable quality that would some would call courage and others call belief that allows fighters to transcend beyond the realms of their perceivable limitations and achieve ‘greatness’.
Much of the boxing world is now pointing the finger at Floyd Mayweather Jr. He is accused of ‘ducking’ the fight and as one fan stylistically put it “Floyd is too scared to let go of his 0”. The boxing world beyond his own circles cannot and should not consider Floyd to be an all time great until he has competed with his era defining counterparts and Manny Pacquiao is the very of best them.
Based on recent history, some would say that Floyd is intelligently picking his opponents only considering those younger, stronger and more predictable come-forward fighters whom he exposes using his superior technical ability and cunningly avoiding the quicker speedy counterpunchers such as Amir Khan or Keith Thurman. However, justifiably, Floyd can put forward a cogent argument and reel off a string of names from his resume which are not limited to; Oscar De La Hoya, Diego Coralles and Ricky Hatton all of whom he defeated at the prime of their careers.
Floyd maintains that he is boxing’s biggest draw, he maintains that it’s he who keeps Vegas alive and its equally true that no fight week in boxing even closely compares to a Floyd fight week. Undoubtedly, Floyd is the first fighter in history who dictates the terms of engagement and is not dictated to.
Whilst this is true and I have much admiration for his savvy and skillful mastery of the political complexities concerning the fight game, the title of TBE or an ‘all time great’ is not determined by politics or finances, in the end the purists will only base his legacy on his pugilistic prowess and history will only remember how he fared against the very best amongst his peers. He has to be mindful of the fact that the ‘greats’ before did not fear ‘letting go of their 0’, rather, they consistently put themselves in the most difficult of challenges and win, lose or draw they always came out fighting.