The only thing not surprising about Floyd Mayweather’s list of top five all-time boxers is where he put himself. Could it be anywhere but number one?
Elsewhere, the rankings that Mayweather unveiled Monday on ESPN Deportes did not go in a predictable order. Muhammad Ali, the self-proclaimed “greatest of all time” — a status with which many agree — checked in at number five, and Sugar Ray Robinson was left out completely.
Choosing from an assortment of 10 boxing greats shown on a video screen, including Sugar Ray Leonard, Joe Louis, Henry Armstrong and Rocky Marciano (whose iconic 49-0 record Mayweather will attempt to duplicate when he fights Andre Berto in September), the undefeated welterweight placed, between himself and Ali, Roberto Duran, Pernell Whitaker and Julio Cesar Chavez. Perhaps Ali should simply be honored to be the only big-bodied fighter to crack the top five.
Mayweather offered several reasons to the hosts of “Nacion ESPN” for putting his own name atop his list, pausing between comments to give them a chance to provide Spanish translations. Referring to himself in the third person, the boxer said, “He’s beaten more world champions than any other fighter right here. … And he’s done it in less fights than any other fighter up here.”
“Record-breaking numbers all around the board, pay-per-view and live gate,” Mayweather continued, in making his case as the all-time greatest boxer. “Landed punches on the highest percentage, and took less punishment.” He also noted his championships in five different weight classes, while knocking Ali for losing to a relative neophyte in Leon Spinks.
Here’s some of what Mayweather had to say about the next four fighters on his list:
- 2. Duran: “He went from lightweight all the way to 160 and became world champion.”
- 3. Whitaker: “He didn’t lose until the end of his career. … He beat Chavez for real.”
- 4. Chavez: “Was 80-0 before he lost. … And he went to different weight classes.”
- 5. Ali: “He really lost all three times to Ken Norton. … Ali was the greatest, for standing up in an era where black people didn’t stand up for each other.”
Mayweather dinged Ali for not fighting in multiple weight classes, which seems unfair. What was Ali supposed to do, lose 50 pounds? It’s far easier for, say, a lightweight to move up to welterweight, or even middleweight, especially given that athletes often add bulk as they get older.
However, Duran does deserve greater credit, at least among U.S. boxing fans, for his tremendous career, rather than just being recalled as the guy who said “No más” as he quit against Leonard in their second fight.
Here is video of the “Nacion ESPN” segment:
(H/T Sporting News)