Examining Floyd Mayweather's Legacy After Win vs. Marcos Maidana

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Examining Floyd Mayweather's Legacy After Win vs. Marcos Maidana
Isaac Brekken

Although it was one of the toughest fights of his career, Floyd Mayweather added another impressive win to his resume to show that he is one of the best boxers of all time. The veteran fighter earned a majority decision against Marcos Maidana, improving his personal record to an incredible 46-0. 

Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports provides a look at the scorecard in the bout:

It was so close that Mayweather even offered a possibility for a rematch:

Despite the narrow scoring, Money showed that he can do whatever it takes to escape with a win.

As Mayweather continues to wind down his career, every match becomes another way to examine his overall legacy. No matter what he does going forward, there is no denying that he has proven quite a bit in his time in the spotlight.

Since making his first professional appearance in 1996, Money has had little problem getting past the best opponents in the sport. He won 13 of his first 15 bouts by knockout or technical knockout, earning the other two wins by unanimous decision.

He continued to move up the ranks over the years, defeating some of the biggest names in boxing along the way. He earned wins over Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley and others considered to be among the best of their generation.

Al Bello/Getty Images
Floyd Mayweather celebrating after his win over Oscar De La Hoya in 2007

When he could not get knockouts, Mayweather instead showcased his incredible defensive ability, demonstrating that he was one of the toughest boxers in the world to hit. Few of his opponents could land punches with any consistency as the champion was able to simply dominate on the scorecards.

Heading into his latest fight, publications such as ESPN.com and Sports Illustrated agreed with just about every boxing fan out there in saying that Mayweather was the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. 

Of course, his skill went beyond just the ability to win matches. He has also shown throughout his career that he is a premier entertainer, bringing in huge audiences virtually every time he steps into the ring.

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According to Dan Rafael of ESPN.com, Mayweather's victory over Saul "Canelo" Alvarez rated as the highest-grossing match of all time, generating $150 million in revenue from 2.2 million pay-per-view buys. This is one of three fights ever to top two million buys, and each of them involved Mayweather.

In 2012, Mayweather was rated as the richest athlete in the world by Forbes, generating $85 million. After his recent high-profile events, it would not be surprising to see his name back on top of this list a few more times. In fact, in April, ESPN again announced Money as the top-paid athlete in the world. 

This ability to win matches and entertain in the process cannot be touched, no matter what else he does for the rest of his career. At 37 years old, he has shown that he should at least be in the conversation of one of the best ever.

Unfortunately, there are also plenty of criticisms that came with Mayweather before this latest fight with Maidana. One of the big questions is whether he truly competed against the best available or just cared more about keeping his undefeated record.

The big story regarding Mayweather in recent years has been the inability to set up a bout between Money and Manny Pacquiao. After the Filipino's latest win over Timothy Bradley, promoter Bob Arum discussed his disdain for Mayweather's scheduling:

Even Bradley appeared to take a shot at Mayweather with his quote about respecting Pacquiao:

This is something that many fans and experts have considered when examining his legacy. Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports argues that the lack of competition has hurt him:

Mayweather is far beyond being judged against his peers, but the lack of depth and quality among them keeps him from seriously being regarded as one of the 10 best fighters ever.

Sugar Ray Robinson is, without question, the greatest fighter who ever lived. He was 128-1-2 before he suffered his second defeat, and he beat enough Hall of Famers to fill a football team. The thing that Robinson, and more recent superstars such as Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran and Marvelous Marvin Hagler, had over Mayweather was elite opposition.

Some could argue that there simply was not as much depth for him to face in this era, but the lack of a bout against Pacquiao certainly hurts the perception.

When thinking about the best, you want people who have beaten the best out there. Unfortunately, Mayweather simply does not qualify, especially later in his career.

Even with the latest win, Mayweather has not done much to help his cause. Maidana is a talented boxer with an impressive victory over Adrien Broner on his resume. However, he entered this match with little chance to win, and few people were surprised by the result.

Eric Jamison/Associated Press

The veteran boxer has three more fights remaining in his six-bout deal with Showtime, after which he will likely retire. What he does in those final matches could have a big impact on his legacy going forward.

In order to put himself into the conversation of the best ever to step into a ring, he must not only challenge himself a bit more, but also ensure that he remains undefeated. One setback could change everything because there is simply no replacing the zero in the loss column.

On the other hand, an undefeated run with a few more tough matches would show that there was simply no one in his class during his time.

No matter what happens going forward, he will have a place reserved in the Hall of Fame as an elite boxer who dominated his era. The rest will be left to fans to carry on his legacy in arguments until the end of time.

 

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