There are only two things that Floyd Mayweather, Jr. seems to concern himself with in the sport of boxing. One is his undefeated record. The other is the money he rakes in from his fights. Those things, of course, are somewhat related. The more tallies Mayweather adds to his win column, the more money he makes.
In a somewhat noble, yet frustrating decision, Mayweather seems to have decided that his record means more to him than money. If he wanted to just make money, he would have taken a fight with Manny Pacquiao a long time ago. That fight would easily shatter all money-making records for a PPV fight.
Mayweather firmly believes that keeping his unblemished record in tact is the key to being remembered as the greatest of all time.
That's where he is wrong.
For starters, perception is reality. Many view Mayweather's style as "boring" or "weak." Those that say that are already going to be predisposed to slighting Mayweather. I'm not saying that's right, but it's what will happen.
Those that go out with a bang, win or lose, are almost always remembered most fondly.
Unless things change quickly, he will also always be known as the fighter that ducked a bout with Pacquiao for so long. That can't help his legacy.
Even if he weren't dealing with both of the previous two issues, a boxer's record isn't the be-all and end-all.
Sure, Rocky Marciano gets a lot of attention for retiring undefeated, but he is also known as a fighter that won his fights in spectacular fashion. As it stands right now, he is behind only Vitali Klitschko in terms of knockout percentage.
Joe Calzaghe, on the other hand, is an undefeated boxer that isn't as highly-regarded. Clearly, record isn't everything.
I can't help but think that taking a fight with Pacquiao would help Mayweather's legacy win or lose. Getting into the ring with Pacman will silence a lot of the doubters. Retiring undefeated, even if he is 50-0, won't do that.
Mayweather is an all-time great regardless of what happens from here on out. Taking some chances from this point on rather than playing it safe, however, is the only way that he will be remembered as the greatest of all-time.