In Defense of Floyd Mayweather

By Robert Ecksel on September 27, 2014
In Defense of Floyd Mayweather
“I’ll bet the only fight he watched of Maidana was when he beat his little old homie’s ass.”

“Mayweather needs someone to bring it out of him. It’s like hip hop. Nobody rapping for the music. They rapping for that big check…”

There’s no more polarizing figure in boxing than Floyd Mayweather. He has toned down his outlandishness to a degree, but he is who he is and has succeeded, intentionally or otherwise, in creating two distinct and hostile camps.

To the dismay of those attempting (and perhaps failing) to be evenhanded, there seems to be no middle ground.

Even if one doesn’t side with one camp or another, you can be sure that, given the intensity of the like and/or dislike Mayweather generates, one will be called a “hater,” the most overused word in boxing, or an “ass-kisser,” both of which I have been called at different times.

But if I had label myself, without growing defensive, it would be as an objectivist; an arch objectivist at times, but an objectivist nonetheless. I never assume that my truth is the truth. There are millions of opinions that are at least as valid as my own. But right and wrong don’t matter. The factual and counterfactual will always butt heads. There are many truths. And if your truth is better than my truth, so be it and lots of luck.

The truth according to Mayweather is Mayweather’s truth. He may rub some people the wrong way, but his fistic accomplishments, the only accomplishments that matter in this context, are a given. His skills are, or have been until recently, otherworldly. His unbeaten record speaks for itself. The fortune he has earned during his illustrious career may not say it all, but it says enough.

But age has caught up with Floyd Mayweather, just as it catches up with all men. His effective but subpar performance in the rematch with Marcos Maidana left some people dissatisfied. Be that as it may, he is, as he says, the face of boxing. He may be the face of professional sports.

In the spirit of fair play I reached out to T.O.N.E-z, the Emmy nominated hip hop artist who is one of Mayweather’s biggest supporters. He is outspoken and articulate. He is also a longtime student of the fight game. In light of those qualities, I asked T.O.N.E-z his latest thoughts on Floyd Mayweather and the recent fight with Marcos Maidana.

The first words out of mouth surprised me. “TBE,” he said, “The Best Ever.”

I thought T.O.N.E-z was being ironic.

“No,” he said. “I’m being very serious.”

“Based on what?”

“Based on everything. He embodies everything. Defense. Speed. Ringmanship. Class. And the main thing is adjustments, which not many boxers can do. Not many boxers adjust so easily. And he never actually looks and studies an opponent. He goes in there and does what most boxers should do. All of these things make him The Best Ever. Plus 47 and 0. You know what I mean?”

I warned T.O.N.E-z in advance that I’d challenge him and was as good as my word.

“I have no complaint with his record. I have no problem with his ability to adjust. You’ve got a legitimate case there. But I’ve seen fighters in the past who were much more dazzling and fought better competition.”

“See, that’s the problem right there,” T.O.N.E-z said. “There’s a huge misconception right there. There’s something that Roy Jones has said. Roy Jones had the same problem. People keep forgetting that Mayweather is not fighting bums. He’s not fighting unknowns. He fought world champions, not has-beens. Maybe Shane Mosley is questionable. But he fought all champions. He didn’t fight bums. He has the same problem Roy had, where he’s so great at what he does, he makes these fighters look not as great as they really are. Guerrero’s not a slouch. These are amazing fighters he’s fighting. He’s not fighting these losers. He gets hit, but he’s so crafty, it’s like he sees the punches before they come. Same thing with Roy Jones. They just don’t get their props because it looks like they’re fighting these amateurs but they’re fighting world-class fighters. They just make them look like amateurs.”

T.O.N.E-z has a point. Mayweather’s an amazing boxer and a great athlete. He’s the best of his generation, but The Best Ever? I’ve got a problem with that.

“Who’s better than Mayweather?” asked T.O.N.E-z. “You can name any time.”

“Well, how about Sugar Ray Robinson? Let’s start there. He’s the consensus best pound-for-pound fighter of all time. He was 120-0-2 when he suffered his first loss to Jake LaMotta.”

“Okay. Okay.”

“It’s a bit of hyperbole on Mayweather’s part to declare he’s The Best Ever, and I think he knows better. But he’s a marketing genius and most of the people who buy pay-per-view don’t know boxing. They tune in to partake of the spectacle.”

“Right, I agree with that. Definitely,” said T.O.N.E-z. “I love the science of boxing. My favorite fighter of all time is Sugar Ray Leonard—hands down. I love those kinds of guys. People say Mayweather doesn’t have knockout power, but I don’t think he fights to knock people out. He shows his skill. He’s a boxer. If you want to see big knockouts, you have to watch heavyweights for that. Not everybody knocks everybody out. He just goes in there and beats people up.”

Before asking about Mayweather-Maidana II, I wanted to make sure that T.O.N.E-z thought Floyd struggled in the first fight.

“Of course he struggled. He went in there with a guy who pretty much tried to body slam him. He wasn’t used to that. Three other fights were tough for Mayweather. The first fight with Jose Luis Castillo may have been the toughest. Zab Judah gave him a good run. Cotto also gave him a good run. He wound up lumping him up, but I still gave it to Mayweather. He had a tough time adjusting to Maidana in the first fight because, like he says, you’ve got a guy who goes in there and figures I’m going to just throw him and elbow him and manhandle him and punch him in the balls, all that crazy stuff. Yeah, he did have a tough time with that. Who wouldn’t? I think he was definitely thrown off, mentally and clearly physically. He could have said everything you do to me I’m going to do to you. But he did like he always does. He showed class, even with the dirty tactics, he still adjusted and won the fight by decision.

“When people say it was a close fight I’m like, ‘what do you mean he won a close a fight?’ Was the guy a whole lot rougher? Sure he was rough and tough, but not in the sense of Marvin Hagler. He was rough and tough in the sense of doing just anything. Even in the corner they told him, ‘Go in there. Get dirty. Do whatever it takes.’ I mean that’s just like c’mon.”

“But shouldn’t Mayweather have known that going in? Anyone who has ever watched Maidana fight knows that that’s what Maidana does.”

“He doesn’t watch the fights. I’ll bet you the only fight he watched of Maidana was when Maidana beat his little old homie’s ass.”

“Then aren’t Mayweather and his team at fault for not studying film of his opponent?”

“You’re right,” T.O.N.E-z said. “But he still adjusted, and he picked up where he left off. This guy was walking to the wrong corner. You could tell he was frustrated. I thought he was going to say ‘No mas’ after awhile. You know what I think about the fight? I think Mayweather is probably just trying to run out his contract. I think that’s part of it. You keep winning, you keep fighting, and you’re the only reason the majority of people watch the fights. I think that has something to do with it.”

Winning is everything. It doesn’t matter how you win. All that matters is that you win. But there’s an aesthetic criteria when it comes to winning, whether it’s in or out of the ring. Mayweather won. He successfully frustrated Maidana. But he also frustrated the fans.

“Don’t get me wrong,” said T.O.N.E-z. “I was frustrated too. The fight with Guerrero was good. The fight with Canelo had some action. Everyone has boring fights. It’s not like he’s been fighting like that his whole career. I’m with you on that fight. It wasn’t exciting. It’s like watching a movie. You know Bruce Willis isn’t going to die, but you watch it anyway. But he hasn’t gotten lazy. He’s still training just as hard as he did when he was 19 years old. Same determination. Same team. Same attitude. The dude could easily just chill. He could lose his next two fights and still be considered one of the greatest fighters of this generation and probably all time in the top 10 or 20. But he’s not hungry, I mean boxing hungry. Mayweather needs someone to bring it out of him. It’s like hip hop. Nobody rapping for the music, for the passion. They rapping for that big check.”

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

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  1. Jethro's Flute 06:25pm, 10/03/2014

    “Duran was a “monster” in this fight, it was mercifully stopped in the 13th round, “

    This was because Ken Buchanan had been punched in the wedding tackle.

  2. Jack 05:04pm, 10/01/2014

    I had to rewrite my comment and put Ray Arcel and Freddie Brown with Buchanan, instead of Duran, sorry!!!

  3. Jack 04:58pm, 10/01/2014

    I will offer one fight that would have knocked Floyd from the ranks of the unbeaten, but there are many more fighters mentioned here, by knowledgeable boxing guys like Pete, Eric etc. etc. It is 06/26/1972 at Madison Square Garden, Roberto Duran at 28-0, is challenging Ken Buchanan, a classic boxer/excellent ring technician, at 43-1, with Ray Arcel and Freddie Brown in his corner for the WBA Lightweight Title. Duran was a “monster” in this fight, it was mercifully stopped in the 13th round, I thought Duran might kill him in the ring!!!! Floyd would have thought he was fighting 2 Maidana’s at the same time. Unfortunately, for Floyd, he is fighting in an era, where boxing is at an all time low, and the best athletes are in other sports or professions. There are many other fighters mentioned, that could possibly have beaten Floyd, but Duran, given how he handled Buchanan, leaves no room for debate IMHO!!!

  4. sam 11:00am, 10/01/2014

    u can’t consider chicken floyd a best fighter…when he heard the name of the filipino boxer manny pacman pacquiao..chicken floyd start mumbling with his big mouth and trembling to death to fight filipino best pound for pound….fight manny coz right now his the best fighter out there in his weight division….try not to always run chicken shit floyd…...

  5. The Flea 05:59am, 09/30/2014

    TONE Z is in that crowd of painfully annoying Floyd fans.

    As for the opening gambit: a lot of hip-hop is legitimate music with substance.

  6. Eric 06:09pm, 09/28/2014

    @tuxtucis…Actually, I am pretty middle of the road when it comes to Floyd. I see through the Ali-style “TBE” act and the whole made for TMZ “gangsta” lifestyle. Floyd would have probably captured a title back in the 80’s or maybe two, but how difficult is that when you had 3 “world” champs per weight division. I’m not saying Honeyghan or Roger Mayweather were better than Floyd, I’m just saying that Floyd’s success in that era would have been comparable to a fighter of their caliber. Plenty of good solid fighters back then who aren’t household names now, and Floyd would have been one them. Floyd would have been grouped with the Marlon Starlings, the Milton McCrorys, the Donald Currys, etc., all good fighters, but not in the class of the truly elite from that era.

  7. Mateng 03:23pm, 09/28/2014

    No way that the Fab 4 will beat mayweather, there’s just no way!  Coz mayweather will duck them. Are you crazy? Health is more important to him, why bother get in the ring with those gladiators?

  8. tuxtucis 01:53pm, 09/28/2014

    @Eric: You can like not Mayweather jr., but to tell Honeyghan was at His height is out of reality. And I think both Chávez and Arguello would had troubles against him at 135: they struggled against far lesser pure boxers than Mayweather Jr.

  9. jackbenny 08:55am, 09/28/2014

    lol, probably does not make it fact, delahoya in his prime was a beast but fought mayweather at the end of his career, his choice.  The boxers back in the day were fighters. I get the feeling a lot of them would give mayweather the respect he is due, 18 years with 26 knock outs and 18 unanimous decisions against top guys in their division, champions on top of their game is not a walk in the park. And you take on whats in front of you not the ghost of boxers past.

  10. Eric 08:35am, 09/28/2014

    Sorry, but Maidana, Cotto, Alvarez, and a washed up De La Hoya probably would be dispatched in short order by Leonard or Hearns. And 47 fights in 18 years isn’t exactly something of worthy of praise. If Mayweather Jr. had boxed in the 80’s, he would have been a good, solid fighter and comparable to someone like Honeyghan, his uncle, etc. He MIGHT have captured a title or two, but he wouldn’t hold multiple belts in several weight classes. The weight classes Floyd has competed in were stacked with talent in the 80’s and even early 90’s. Would Floyd have gotten past Pernell Whitaker or Chavez Sr? Doubtful. The Fab Four? Get Real.

  11. jackbenny 08:12am, 09/28/2014

    check wikipedia 47 pro fights, in a 18 year span. 
    26 knock outs
    18 unanimous decisions
    2 majority decisions
    1 split decision
    cant say he has been running his whole career, love him or hate him from a pure boxing point of view the record speaks for itself.

  12. jackbenny 07:20am, 09/28/2014

    tbe is a hyperbole used to attract interest and it is working. Folks are tuning in just hoping to see him get knocked out. He is a skilled boxer, he is out boxing his opponents and winning by unanimous decision. The article hit
    the nail on the head he is boxing top contenders, champions, not journeymen, not unknowns. He is just making them look like amateurs.
    Those back in the days boxers that are mentioned in the other post,
    95 percent of them have slurred speech, and early stages of dementia and most of them are broke.

  13. Balagtas 08:43pm, 09/27/2014

    TBE mean The Best Entertainer, The Boring Entertainer, The Best Escaper, and The Boring Ever.

  14. Mateng 03:44pm, 09/27/2014

    Sugar Ray, Duran , Hearns, Hagler ,Benitez? These warriors represent what boxing is truly all about, taking the toughest challenge where victory is uncertain, going to war where they know they can be hurt, defeated, put their life at risk, and for what? To know who’s the best among the best. Have they chosen not to face the best, they could have all retired undefeated, and they could have all claimed themselves to be TBE, but they are not cherry pickers, and so they all retired with defeat. But does it matter? And their legacy? I’d say it’s solid as a rock! As a matter of fact it’s one of the greatest era in boxing history! And for Floyd? Shame is what’s Floyd giving boxing at present, that’s the legacy he’s leaving behind, nobody cares about his cherry picked 0 defeat.and no matter who’s defending him, no matter for what reason, there’s nothing they can do,say or write to change the truth.his money is good only at this present time, but it has no value in the future once he’s dissected by the future boxing generation. Do not insult those true boxing legends who put their lives on the line to give us the most exciting fights ever by putting Floyd’s name above or inline with them. By Floyd saying that his health comes first tells us all what kind of fighter he is, boxing is dead if every fighter will think that way. And once the smoke has settled, Floyd is just TBE The Boring Entertainer rich boxer who dominated the corrupt system, BUT NOT THE HISTORY OF BOXING.

  15. manny benitez 03:04pm, 09/27/2014

    TBE? Doesn’t want to fight smaller manny pacquiao in his prime? End of discussion

  16. Mateng 01:51pm, 09/27/2014

    Sugar Ray, Hearns, Duran, Hagler, Benitez?  What made you think that Floyd’s gonna fight this guys?  His health comes first before anything else, he said it himself. He’s only willing to fight if he’s confident enough that he’s gonna win. These legends you’ve mentioned are all true warriors, willing to die and get hurt in the ring just to prove they’re the best in what they’re doing. When they fought each other they knew that it’s gonna be a war, a battle that they knew they had to take a chance, willing to take a risk, willing to hurt and to get hurt, that’s the reason why there’s no boring fight between these legends. These fighters got their first lost among each other, have they chosen to cherry pick like Floyd, they could have all retired undefeated. It’s an insult to put Floyd’s name along with them, these fighters have the courage that Floyd could only wish he also has. These legends represent what boxing is truly all about. Shame is what Floyd’s giving to boxing at the present, and that will be his legacy, and no matter who’s defending him there’s nothing they can do to change the truth, he’s money is good only at the present, it has no value in the future once he’s dissected by the future boxing generation.once the smoke has settled, he’s just a rich fighter who dominated the system but not the history of boxing.

  17. Eric 12:58pm, 09/27/2014

    @Pete…Damn, my apologies for leaving out the Hawk. I would also throw in Alexis Arguello at 130-135lbs against Floyd. Pryor is definitely included. And had Salvador Sanchez stuck around, he would have definitely grown into a 130-140 pounder.

  18. AKT 10:40am, 09/27/2014

    Why are fighters in eras past always ‘better’? That goes for Goods and Products too - “Oh they made them so much better in those days!”. I think sometimes, it’s our sentiments that get in the way of our thinking. Deities get created of these old time boxers probably because people saw their heroes fight at the most impressionable stages of their lives. I mean, how can anyone convince an 11 year old who witnessed Ali beat up Liston that he isn’t the greatest? It’ll be difficult, right? But I’m sure Ali had plenty of detractors even after that awesome achievement (just like Mayweather does now). Do I think Mayweather is the TBE? Nope. But I think it is pointless making comparisons of boxers who existed in different eras. No one knows what’ll truly have happened, they never faced each other and most importantly never will!

  19. Pete The Sneak 09:09am, 09/27/2014

    FMJ…Good?...Yes…Great? perhaps for his era…TBE?.. Read Eric’s post below and if you come to the conclusion YES, then you haven’t seen nor known much about those fighters Eric mentions. I would most certainly throw the Hawk, Aaron Pryor in that mix as well…By the by Robert Ecksel, you forgot to mention the phrase ‘Nut Hugger’ as another of those overused words associated with FMJ…Peace.

  20. Matt McGrain 08:55am, 09/27/2014

    Interesting stuff Robert, interesting angle.  I don’t think that Floyd needs defending him personally, i think he’s one of the best boxers i’ve ever seen.  I think there are only maybe a dozen fighters i’ve seen on film, ever, that are clearly better than him, and maybe another dozen who are in a class neither below or above him.  I don’t think “TBE” is such a ridiculous claim, though it very obviously isn’t true. 
    Every sportsman lies to themselves.  Floyd is in a culture where those around him lie back to him.  Every sportsman needs one guy that does that, Floyd has about fifty.

  21. Eric 08:05am, 09/27/2014

    Sugar Ray Leonard fought Duran, three times, fought Hearns, twice, Benitez and Hagler. Against that type of competition, Leonard emerged with a record of 5-1-1. The draw with Hearns was questionable, but for the life of me, I can’t see how people say the Hagler fight was controversial. Hagler was one of my all-time favorite fighters but that fight wasn’t even close, Leonard won, and pretty convincingly at that. Imagine what Floyd’s record would be if he had engaged in 7 fights with Duran-Hearns-Benitez-Hagler? Duran and Floyd are roughly the same size men, now imagine Floyd moving up and taking on a full-fledged middleweight like Hagler. Imagine Floyd taking on a huge middleweight like Barkley. Floyd would have been lucky to have been ranked in the top 10 back in the 80’s, if he had fought welterweight. He probably would’ve have been a notch above his father or at best, on par with his uncle, as a fighter in that era. Floyd would’ve had his hands full with fighters like Cuevas and Palomino in the ‘70’s, or Donald Curry and Lloyd Honeyghan of the ‘80’s. Imagine Floyd taking on Mike McCallum? Even brutal 154lb punchers like Julian Jackson and John Mugabi would’ve probably flattened Floyd. Floyd taking on Chavez Sr. at 130-140lbs? No way. Even Hector Camacho at that weight would’ve presented Floyd with problems.

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