Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s legacy is secure, even if he never fights Manny Pacquiao. So while boxing pundits like myself will discuss the potential "dream fight," it simply isn't necessary—especially not for Mayweather.
While I'd certainly watch the fight, and I recognize Pacquiao as one of the greats of the era, Mayweather Jr.'s accomplishments won't be diminished if Pacquiao's name never appears on his resume.
The outcry for a Pacquiao-Mayweather bout is more a product of the desires of the casual boxing fan, or those who yearn to see the spectacle.
While there is a little of that in all boxing fans, at the end of the day, it is clear who has had the more impressive career. In addition to that, once both men have hung up the gloves for good, neither will be defined by the fact that they never fought each other.
If one of them did need the other to claim or restore the shine to their legacy, it would be Pacquiao who needed Mayweather.
Money Is Unblemished
As of now, Mayweather's record is clean. That could change on Saturday night, but barring an upset or major difficulty, Money has been dominant.
Mayweather might be my favorite athlete lol .. Anybody who can talk that much trash and back it up every single time gets my respect— Julius Randle (@J30_RANDLE) April 30, 2013
The only fight he's ever had that even produced a controversial decision happened 11 years ago. Some believe Mayweather deserved to lose his first meeting with Jose Luis Castillo, but Mayweather was officially the winner.
He rematched him six months later and won more convincingly to drive the point home.
Not only has Pacquiao lost, which isn't shameful in the sport, but his defeats are very fresh in our minds. Why should a fighter with recent losses on his record hold the key to an undefeated champion's legacy?
It just doesn't make sense.
It's Not Just the Losses, It's the Manner in Which the Losses Occurred
As I mentioned, there is no shame in losing in boxing. Most of the greatest fighters in history have losses on their records.
But it is impossible to clear the image of Pacquiao lying motionless on the canvas from our minds. Juan Manuel Marquez's destruction of Pac-Man was the type of win that ends debates.
That KO loss wasn't the only time Pacquiao had been stopped. Granted, the other two KO losses were early in his career (1996 and 1999), but they still happened.
Money has never been dropped, and he's only ever been visibly hurt twice (by DeMarcus Corley in 2004 and Shane Mosley in 2010).
Mayweather stands head and shoulders above every fighter of his era, primarily because he remains undefeated throughout a 17-year-career. After Pacquiao's last defeat and the controversial loss to Timothy Bradley in June, his stock is way down. BoxRec.com ranks Pacquiao fifth amongst welterweights, and Ring Magazine ranks him fourth.
Fighting a fighter that isn't even ranked in the top three, who is also riding a two-fight losing streak is not a necessity for Mayweather.
Even if that fighter's name is Pacquiao.
Mayweather's List of Opponents Speaks for Itself
Believing Mayweather needs Pac-Man to complete his legacy is discrediting the fighters Money has already bested.
Some fighters' undefeated records are deceiving, but Mayweather’s resume includes at least four future Hall of Famers (Marquez, Mosley, Oscar De La Hoya and Miguel Cotto).
Money has also bested 16 former world champions (WBA, IBF, WBC, WBO) en route to winning championships in five weight classes.
Beyond the ones listed above, here are a few more of the fighters Mayweather has defeated: Arturo Gatti, Diego Corrales, Victor Ortiz, Ricky Hatton and Genaro Hernandez.
That list looks Hall of Fame worthy to me.
Money Doesn't Need the Money
A major aspect of the business is based on monetary gain. As big as a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight would be, I think it is safe to say Money is doing just fine without the potentially record-breaking payday from a Pacquiao fight.
MGM = Mayweather Gets Money— Floyd Mayweather (@FloydMayweather) April 30, 2013
If Mayweather never fights Pacquiao, where will he rank amongst fighters of his era?
Money was the highest-paid athlete in the world, per Forbes.com, in June 2012 with $85 million of estimated income.
That total came out before Mayweather signed the epic deal with Showtime/CBS. His income total for 2013 could be even higher with members of The Money Team flourishing.
The Work Has Already Been Done
Based on in-ring accomplishments and monetary gain, Mayweather is already a legend. If he never wins another fight, or retires after the Robert Guerrero fight on Saturday, he has out-performed and out-earned every fighter of his era.
A loss would only drop him close to an even plain with the greats beneath him. His legacy is cemented, with or without a Pacquiao fight.
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