By: Damian Adams

The most polarizing athlete of the last 20 years has been Floyd Mayweather Jr. The arrogant, flashy, and flamboyant champion, has always made sure everyone knew he was the absolute best at what he does. As you can see in the picture above Mayweather has accumulated an abundance of championship belts during his boxing career. Floyd has held championship belts in the Super Featherweight, Lightweight, Super Lightweight, Welterweight, and Super Welterweight divisions, on his way to a 49-0 record in his career that includes 26 KO’s (Knockouts). Which gives him the ammunition in his argument that he is “TBE” which stands for “The Best Ever”.   The best ever argument is a very hard one to make because boxing has such a long and legendary history. Mayweather has definitely earned the right to be in the conversation but he is there with legends like; Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Rocky Marciano, Joe Louis, and Sugar Ray Robinson, among others. I personally like to refer to Floyd Mayweather as “TSE” which stands for the “The Smartest Ever” because of the way he outsmarted opponents in the ring and his business acumen outside of the ring. Floyd Mayweather also has a good argument to be referred to as “TMU” which stands for “The Most Underappreciated”.

Floyd Mayweather Jr and Roy Jones Jr have a lot in common. They are both boxing legends, both were trained by their fathers and had tumultuous relationships with them, and they both were robbed of Olympic gold medals. Roy’s robbery is the more infamous of the two but Floyd felt that same pain. Mayweather made sure he didn’t taste defeat again. “Pretty Boy Floyd” as his was called at that time, started off his professional career with a boom, going 17-0 with 11 knockouts. On October 3, 1998, Floyd got his first title shot against Genaro Hernandez for the WBC (World Boxing Council) Super Featherweight title, dominating him for eight rounds before the referee decided to stop it. Hernandez was no bum, he had a tremendous career with a record of (38-2-1). Mayweather would continue to defeat quality competition like Angel Manfredy, who finished his career, (43-8-1) with 32 KO’s, Carlo Gerena, who finished his career (38-6) with 30 KO’s, before going into a huge fight against Diego Corrales.

Corrales was (33-0) with 26 KO’s at the time. Mayweather obliterated Corrales knocking him down several times, forcing Corrales’ corner to throw in the towel, ending the fight in the 10th round.

Floyd Mayweather then moved up to the lightweight division to challenge Jose Luis Castillo for his championship. This was the most difficult fight of Mayweather’s career by far. Castillo’s style gave Floyd some issues but the self proclaimed “Pretty Boy” was able to pull out the disputed decision.  A lot of boxing fans still believe that Castillo won that fight till this day. No boxing fan with a substantial amount of boxing knowledge can dispute the rematch in which Mayweather used his blinding speed to get another unanimous decision over the great Castillo. Jose Luis Castillo ended his career (66-13-1) with 57 KO’s.  Mayweather went on to take control of  the lightweight division for the next few years, beating the likes of ; Victoriano Sosa (42-4-2) with 31 KO’s, Philip Ndou (37-5) with 34 KO’s, and Henry Bruseles (28-4-1) with 15 KO’s before going into a big time fight against Arturo Gatti.

Arturo Gatti was a warrior in the ring known his punching power and strong will. Mayweather promised to embarrass Gatti and delivered on his promise by hitting Gatti with blistering head and body blows for six rounds before the referee mercifully ended the fight. Mayweather won the Super Lightweight title that night. Gatti ended his career (40-9) with 31 KO’s.

Mayweather’s popularity and star was getting bigger and bigger as his piled up more and more names on his resume. Floyd’s skill gave him the opportunity to fight Oscar De La Hoya.  Mayweather was no longer the “Pretty Boy” as the perception of him began to change and he became more flashy and flamboyant. Floyd talked a lot of trash leading up to the fight and rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.

As always “Money” Mayweather backed up his trash talk and won a close fight over hall of famer Oscar De La Hoya. Oscar De La Hoya ended his career (39-6) with 30 KO’s.  This fight was the highest grossing in boxing history at the time. After the De La Hoya fight every Floyd Mayweather fight was a spectacle and huge payday for “Money”.

Mayweather would go on to beat the previously undefeated Ricky Hatton by a eighth round TKO and then took a two year hiatus from the sport. Ricky Hatton ended his career (45-3) with 32 KO’s.

After Mayweather’s break, he would come back to beat Juan Manuel Marquez in a 12 round display of boxing excellence. This is the same Juan Manuel Marquez who fought Manny Pacquiao four times and literally put Pacquiao to sleep on the fourth occasion. Marquez finished his career (56-7-1) with 40 KO’s. Marquez was never knocked out during his career.

After beating Marquez, Mayweather would fight future hall of famer Shane Mosley. Mosley came ready to fight and hit Mayweather with two vicious right hands in the 2nd round. “Money” looked to be in trouble but recovered and adjusted to win the fight easily. Mosley is currently (49-10-1) with 41 KO’s, hopefully he retires soon.

Floyd “Money” Mayweather would continue to rack up victories and checks as he got a controversial knockout win over Victor Ortiz, then beat Miguel Cotto and Robert Guerrero by unanimous decision before facing the young lion primed to take him out, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.

Alvarez was no match for Mayweather as Floyd made Canelo miss all match and countered him with hard right hands. Saul Alvarez is currently (47-1-1) with 33 KO’s. Alvarez is arguably the best pound for pound fighter in the sport now.  After the Alvarez fight, Mayweather won two decisions over the hard-hitting Marcos Maidana, before entering the perceived “Fight of The Century” against Manny Pacquiao.

Mayweather dominated the legend in the long awaited bout. Pacquaio only won two or 3 rounds max. The fight did not live up to the hype but that was no fault of Mayweather’s as he threw more punches, landed more punches, and landed at a higher percentage. Pacquaio is a future hall of famer who is currently (58-6-2) with 38 KO’s.  This was the highest grossing fight in history.  Mayweather only fought once after Pacquaio, ending his career, by putting on a show against former champion Andre Berto.

Any other boxer with the history, resume, and skill set of Mayweather would be beloved but Mayweather tends to show off the benefits of his boxing skill as you see above. This rubs plenty of fans the wrong way and it makes people look for reasons to not accept his greatness. A lot of people don’t like Floyd Mayweather because of his history with women and of course domestic violence is not condoned but that is separate from his boxing career. Fans will say things like he didn’t fight anyone, even though he beat several current or future hall of famers, and over 20 champions.  Mayweather’s detractors also say he didn’t fight, he ran, like dodging punches is against the rules. Other fans who dislike “Money” will say he only plays defense, which makes his fights boring. Did they forget that Mayweather has won several fights with strong offensive performances like when defeated; Arturo Gatti, Diego Corrales, Ricky Hatton, and Saul Alvarez?

Mayweather is also a promoting genius by creating the “Money” Mayweather persona, he made sure that people would turn in to see his fights. Boxing fans either hated or loved Mayweather, no one was or is indifferent about this man. Which is brilliant because all fans will tune in and pay to see Floyd Mayweather either win or lose depending on how they feel about him. Which has led to Mayweather being in the top three grossing fights of all time and four of the top ten. Mayweather found a way to make hundreds of millions dollars in a sport where the athletes are usually broke at the end. Even with his huge list of accomplishments, Floyd may never be beloved and that’s why he will go down as the most underappreciated boxer of all time.

Baddest Man on the Map

His smile is the scariest thing about him, because it usually flashes the brightest when his opponent is still confused and trying to pick himself up off of the mat.

That happens quite often, as Gennady Gennadyevich Glovkin, better known as GGG, carries a record of 35-0, with 32 knockouts, 22 of them being consecutive.

Glovkin is one of the most humble men in sports, but he won’t hesitate to toy with opponents even after he knows he has conquered them. 

“I come to fight, I bring Big Drama Show.” He said when asked about his almost playful style. “I know about boxing for points, I was an Olympian. I have a lot of experience with that style from the amateurs. It’s not interesting. I can go 12 rounds with my jab and just moving, but why would fans pay to see that?”

That’s the beauty of Glovkin. He can lay an opponent out almost immediately if he needs to. He’ll also study the other boxer for 4 or 5 rounds and make you think it’s a close fight before he flat out destroys him. However, when he’s focused and in the zone, he will methodically whittle away at the challenger with that eerie smile painted on his face, and when the crowd is finally worked into the peak of their frenzy, he will lay him out flat.

The only knock against Glovkin, is that he doesn’t always play the best defense, but even that is deceiving. He doesn’t need to since, he has an iron jaw. He’ll take a punch or two to prove it, before he shows you the most devastating part of his game.

That’s why it’s no surprise that the biggest names in the world make every excuse imaginable to avoid fighting him.“I’ve fought the best,” Canelo Alvarez said,when asked about Golovkin. “I’ve never been afraid of anyone. My record speaks for itself. You look at my last 10 opponents compared to his last 10 opponents and you guys can see it. There’s no reason to be afraid of him.”

Canelo has a point. There is no reason to be afraid of Glovkin. Yet when it comes down to scheduling a fight, the superstar gives plenty of reasons.

The lack of big names in his history is not for a lack of trying. Glovkin has invited, challenged and even taunted the best fighters in his weight division and any nearby to step into the ring with him, but they refuse.

Canelo is so opposed to it, that he willingly handed the belt over to Glovkin rather than making him earn it in the ring, while making the excuse that he wouldn’t bow to “artificial deadlines.”

In the meantime Glovkin has continued to prove, he is the baddest man in the ring, and until another fighter grows a set, it doesn’t appear that anything will…

dim that smile.

Down goes Muhammad Ali (1942-2016)

It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.

Known for his clever witticisms as well as his undying determination in the ring, Muhammad Ali, the legend of legends, has moved on from this life. 

We remember him for his brash confidence, the way he could destroy an opponents psyche before he ever landed a punch in the ring, for his proclamations of greatness, his refusal to be ordinary, for changing the way we look at ourselves and others, for bucking authority, and for some of the most epic battles the world of boxing will ever know.

I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.

Ali was a poet, a politician, a gentleman, a savage beast, and a humanitarian.

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, January 17, 1942, Ali passed away on Friday after being taken to the hospital with respiratory issues due to a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

He was a hero, hated by opponents, and adored by fans who enjoyed the sincere way he brought light to the darkest situations.

The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.

Ali who started boxing at age twelve after his bike was stolen and he vowed to “whoop the behind” of the thief, fought in what many consider to be the toughest era in boxing history and won many of his fights as the underdog.

He was able to pull this off because of discipline to a rigid but well thought out training program and diet. Ali trained six days a week, starting with a 6 mile run in combat style boots at 5:30 in the morning.

I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’

Unfortunately for “the Greatest” most of his suffering came later in life due to the punishment he put himself through to become the champion.

But a true champion he was, and will always be to those who knew him, loved him and followed his life.

After blessing us with some of the greatest quotes and clever nicknames for his opponents, Ali lived out the rest of his days in relative silence, but he was still worshipped by many who admired his style and was given awards and admiration for his work right up until his last days.

I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.

Although he clearly was a devastating fighter, (the three time heavyweight champion had 37 knockouts to go with a record of 56-5), what we admire most about “the Champ,” has little do with what was accomplished in the ring.

We admire the fact that he refused to submit to others opinions on religion, war, boxing and how he should live his life in general.

Because of this he gave many the courage and strength to question the status quo, and to shape their own lives to fit their true feelings and beliefs.

It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.

Ali seemed to know right from the start what he loved and hated, who he was, and who he wanted to be.

It was that strength of mind and character that allowed him to defeat the toughest men of his era and cement himself among the greatest ever.

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.

Ali was very quick and agile and won many fights with finesse… What he didn’t want you to know, is he could follow all that up with one hell of a wallop.

The fight that changed it all was when he finally fought Sonny Liston, who he dubbed a “big ugly bear” for the heavyweight title as a 7-1 underdog. Ali made Liston’s normally heavy punches look slow as he wore them down with speed, quickness and movement, until the fight was ended in the sixth when Liston said he couldn’t continue due to a shoulder injury.

In their next fight Ali knocked Liston out in the first round then stood over him, yelling, “Get up and fight, sucker!”

If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologize.

In a story that was littered by political drama as much as glory in the ring, Ali made many great men suffer for thinking they could beat him.

Sonny Liston, Floyd Patterson, Zora Folley, Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, Leon Spinks and Joe Foreman, where just a few of the names who were submitted by “the Greatest” in his illustrious career.

Each fight was as special as the man himself as he brought a unique flair to every individual fight.

The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.

Ali spent his early years wreaking havoc in and out of the ring.

Since then, he devoted his life to helping promote world peace, civil rights, cross-cultural understanding, interfaith relations, humanitarianism, hunger relief, and the commonality of basic human values.

He worked to not only shed the light on such things as hunger, poverty, and discrimination in our country as well as many others, but he also gave tirelessly of himself by forming and working with numerous charities and organizations in an effort to make a difference.

Silence is golden when you can’t think of a good answer.

After a life in the spotlight, full of meaning and warmth, it would seem the “Louisville Lip” has finally run out of rebuttals.

It is now our time to carry on his “Greatness” to generations to come!

R.I.P Muhammad Ali   (January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016)