Floyd Mayweather Jr. was criticized recently by World Boxing Hall of Famer Roberto Duran, who implied that Mayweather would not be hailed as one of the all-time greats in his era, but rather as, "just another guy in the bunch."
Elisinio Castillo of BoxingScene.com logged Duran's comments, which are a rather stinging indictment on Mayweather's competition.
As good as Money May typically is at bantering with opponents and deflecting negative press on his brand, he shouldn't chime in on this occasion. Instead of going after Duran verbally, Mayweather should let his fighting speak for itself in his next bout with Saul "Canelo" Alvarez on September 14.
Duran feels the level of competition Mayweather has faced doesn't compare to fighters in his era, per Castillo. He also believes that Mayweather should have lost his first fight with Jose Luis Castillo and should have been handed a draw against Oscar De La Hoya.
The versatility Duran had in his heyday in winning titles in four different weight classes is comparable to Mayweather's five, but it seems like a bit of a shot to discount the accolades Mayweather has captured in his magnificent career to date.
It's hard to knock Mayweather for taking on a fight with Alvarez because the 23-year-old Mexican will certainly have the benefit of less wear and tear and superior youth on his side.
Taking on Alvarez is a risk to Mayweather's undefeated record of 44-0. Despite Duran's discourse in implying that there are "no real boxers," Alvarez is a formidable opponent, and a win in this fight should silence Duran's claims of a soft lifetime of bouts.
The jab that Alvarez possesses should give Mayweather some difficulty, even though he's among the greatest technicians in the ring and can make up for any lack of power with his finesse and agility.
Rather than firing back at Duran, the focus for Mayweather should be on getting inside the head of Alvarez and trash-talking his opponent as he can do so well in order to gain any leverage possible in the bout in Las Vegas' Grand Casino and Hotel.
Who will win on September 14?
To gain the respect of a legend like Duran, it will be up to Mayweather to respond with his performance in the ring, wear down a younger fighter and ultimately emerge victorious in the 152-pound catchweight fight.
It likely won't be easy at age 36, but Mayweather has the chance to prove himself yet again and enhance his legacy, while possibly setting up an even bigger fight with a win.
Comparing eras is always difficult, so it's not worth it for Mayweather to publicly address Duran's comments. All Mayweather can control is defeating the next man in the way of growing his legend.
Mayweather has done just that in his entire time as a professional and should continue to do so for the foreseeable future.