I'll start by stating the obvious: Nobody can truly become the "top pound-for-pound fighter ever" because there is no legitimate, in-the-ring way to settle the debate. It can only be based on argument and opinion.
But, argument and opinion form a critical part of the sports fan experience. And comparing the best from across the eras, while ultimately futile, is a time-honored and sacred way to pass the time while drinking beers with your buddies.
Because boxing is a weight-class contested sport, even trying to establish the greatest of a single era is an exercise in subjectivity. Still, there are generally enough head-to-head matchups or common opponents to put the debate on more sure footing.
Among the current generation of boxers, I rank Floyd Mayweather as the pound-for-pound king. An argument can certainly be made for Manny Pacquiao; I can pretty much make it myself. But, I don't think it is quite as solid as the one for Money.
Trying to rank Mayweather among the greats who came before him is much tougher. Until his career is completely in the books, I am ultimately loathe to do it. I did write an article a few months ago that laid out a course of action that would leave him with a pretty impeccable case.
If he just partially fulfills my prescription between now and retirement, he'll end up in plenty of people's all-time top five.
But, this article isn't about that. This article is about the arguments against Mayweather. As I will hopefully make clear,, I don't necessary put a lot of weight into some of them.
But like I said, this is a debate based only on argument and opinion—in other words, hot air. And, these will be the arguments that will prevent a good percentage of fans from ever granting Mayweather a place at the very top of boxing's Mt. Olympus.