One day, I was looking at the boxing rankings for fun and I discovered something interesting. Of all the top fighters in the Welterweight division, guess how many Floyd Mayweather Jr has fought. Zero. Junior Middleweight? Zilch. Junior Welterweight? One.
That's right. out of all three of those divisions he has fought just one real contender. That is a strange statistic for someone who considers himself to be the best pound for pound fighter in the world.
Floyd Mayweather Jr has been taking a lot of flak lately, some deserved, some not. One fact that can't be disputed is that he may be one of the best fighters around right now. He's got speed, power, intelligence and a great defense.
The biggest complaint seems to be his choice of opposition. He seems content to fight fighters that he knows have no chance against him. His biggest threat coming from Ricky Hatton.
After easily knocking out the rugged Manchester native, Mayweather decided to retire. A strange decision since there were some really good fights available, with people like Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley and Antonio Margarito there for the taking.
But, maybe that was the reason he retired. Maybe he realized the only fights left were the ones he couldn't easily dispatch. Maybe he cares more about his unblemished record then the way history will remember him.
One example he should keep in mind is Rocky Marciano. Even though Rocky was the only undefeated heavyweight champion ever, he is still not considered the best ever. Why? Because of level of competition. The rock is ranked anywhere from sixth to 15th on many lists.
The difference is that the Rock fought everyone that wanted a piece of him. He was more then happy to issue an ass-beating to any and all comers. Like Floyd Mayweather Jr, Rocky wanted to keep his undefeated record but, he was also concerned that some would suggest that he didn't fight everyone available.
So what's the reason for Mayweather's reluctance to take on the best? Is it fear? Maybe. Fear of losing his "0"? Definitely. But I think there's another fear he hides. A fear that goes beyond skill and power.
I think he fears that he doesn't have the heart to compete with real warriors. I think Mayweather doesn't have the confidence in himself if he is truly tested. I think he really loves to be in control. If he fights someone who can give him a run for his money, he might lose control.
The truth is heart is something that you can't be sure of until you are truly tested. You can't know for sure you have it until you've taken some good shots and still fight on. Or until your cut badly and bleeding into your eyes.
Then, at that moment. The moment when your body is screaming to stop. And your trainer is asking if you want him to stop it. That same moment that the referee asked you if you want to continue.
Then, you look out at your wife and children and see they are crying. Then, somehow you dig deep and find the inner strength to fight on. Win or lose, that's heart. That's what separates the good champions from the great ones.
Like when someone finally stood there ground against Mike Tyson and exposed the the fact that he didn't have heart. Or a fighter like Diego Corrales who, would fight until he couldn't fight anymore. Or the aforementioned Rocky Marciano, who had his nose split in two but found the courage to come back and knockout Ezzard Charles.
Its not complicated, it's the simplest thing in the world. Either you have it or you don't. But, I'm afraid that the day Floyd Mayweather Jr finds he has to dig down deep for the first time, he will find that there is nothing beneath the surface.