Floyd Mayweather is one of the best boxers in the history of the sport and arguably the best fighter of his generation.
Mayweather’s combination of speed, accurate counter-punching, defensive prowess and ring generalship has helped him secure titles in five different weight classes. At 34, he is inching closer to closing the book on a brilliant, first ballot Hall of Fame career.
Tonight Mayweather enters the ring for his 42nd professional bout. He is a huge favorite to win the WBC Welterweight Championship from current champion Victor Ortiz.
Should Mayweather prevail, the attention of most in the boxing community will turn to a future fight with Manny Pacquiao.
Pacquiao is generally regarded as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, an appointment that Mayweather scoffs at.
The two have tried and failed to schedule a fight which could be the richest in the sport’s history. The consensus in the boxing world is that Mayweather is afraid to fight Pacquiao.
Mayweather insists that he is not scared and is not ducking Pacquiao or any boxer for that matter. The biggest obstacle in the way of a fight between the two is a debate over blood testing.
Mayweather refuses to fight unless Pacquiao agrees to random blood drawing rather than the pre-approved NSAC (Nevada State Athletic Commission) testing.
Many have accused Mayweather of using the testing as an excuse to not fight Pacquiao. However, it seems on the surface that this is more about egos and less about fear.
Recent history is filled with occurrences where egos and circumstance have threatened the potential for super fights.
Let’s not forget former welterweight champion “Sugar” Ray Leonard retired rather than fight Marvin Hagler only to later do so. It also took him eight years to grant Thomas Hearns a rematch after their epic first fight.
Lennox Lewis didn’t get a fight with Evander Holyfield or Mike Tyson until the latter two were past their prime and Roy Jones and Bernard Hopkins waited some 17 years before they fought again.
This is not to suggest that great fighters don’t fight the best in their prime, but Mayweather has generally fought the best fighters out there. His resume includes victories over 16 former world champions in five different weight classes.
Assuming Mayweather can beat Ortiz and Pacquiao can beat Juan Manuel Marquez in November, then there will be no excuses to not make this fight.
On an episode of 24/7, Mayweather repeated the phrase “Showing is better than telling.” He has said he “only wants to fight the best.” Well it’s time for him to stop telling and start showing.
If Mayweather doesn’t fight Pacquiao, he won’t have to tell us he’s afraid to fight, he will have shown us he is.
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