Floyd: Knock, knock. Who’s there?

By Robert Ecksel on August 8, 2015
Floyd: Knock, knock. Who’s there?
Everyone knew who he would pick as number one. What about numbers two through five?

In anticipation of his upcoming victory lap against Andre Berto, Floyd Mayweather is making the rounds…

When Floyd Mayweather began calling himself “The Best Ever” (TBE), many people thought he was joking. He is known for many things, but a sense of humor, especially concerning himself, isn’t among of them.

But he wasn’t joking. He was deadly serious, even if he happened to be wrong.

In anticipation of his upcoming victory lap against Andre Berto, Mayweather is making the rounds. He is hyping the fight, which needs all the hyping it can get, and swung by ESPN Deportes studio in Los Angeles to sing his own praises.

An employee of ESPN asked TBE to select his top five fighters from a list of ten all-time greats.

Suspense filled the air. It was thick enough to cut with a knife. Everyone knew who he was going to pick as number one. But what about numbers two through five?

“We’re not going to be biased,” Mayweather said. “One thing about us, we’re going to have an open mind. Now every champion up here, I respect totally. These are the guys that paved the way for me to be where I’m at.”

Mayweather, naturally, chose himself as number one.

“He’s beat more world champions than any other fighter right here,” said Mayweather about himself. “He’s done it in a shorter period of time than any other fighter up here. And he’s done it with less fights than any fighter up here. Record breaking numbers all around the board in pay-per-view and live gate, landed punches at the highest percentage, and took less punishment. And done it in 19 years and been world champion 18 years. Done it in five different weight classes.”

By those criteria, Mayweather might indeed number one. By other criteria, he might not even be on the list

Number two was Roberto Duran.

“Unbelievable,” he said about Manos de Piedra. “He was the guy that came from lightweight and he was the first guy to beat Sugar Ray Leonard. He went from lightweight all the way to 160 and became world champion. He’s a legend. I love that guy.”

One might ask what love has to do with it, but let’s look at Floyd’s choice for number three, who is Pernell Whitaker.

“He knows how to win,” Mayweather said. “He didn’t lose until the end of his career. Unbelievable. He beat Chavez for real. And I’m a Julio Cesar Chavez fan. He beat my uncle Roger twice.”

Mayweather’s choice for the fourth greatest fighter of all time was Julio Cesar Chavez, a choice which, according to FightHype, “received cheers from the studio audience.” And his number five pick was Muhammad Ali.

Mayweather explained why he thought Chavez was greater than Ali.

“Chavez was 79-0 before he lost. And he went to different weight classes. Muhammad Ali was only at one weight class. And Ali really lost all three times to Ken Norton. This is me just being honest. It’s so hard, I mean, these are my top five. What Ali did is he stood for a cause in an era where African Americans didn’t stand up for their people and he stood up for a strong cause in his era.”

There are other fighters beside Mayweather, Duran, Whitaker, Chavez, and Ali that I might have picked, but since no one asked, I’m not telling.

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  1. ROB 07:35pm, 08/10/2015

    Ali is the greatest! It is settled law

  2. KB 10:06am, 08/10/2015

    Well I must say his weepy acceptance speech at the Las Vegas Hall of Fame was sickening and bile-inducing. Ugh

  3. Clarence George 07:57am, 08/10/2015

    And he should take Manny with him.

  4. Mike Casey 07:06am, 08/10/2015

    If Floyd makes it to 49-0, will he be kind and go away?

  5. KB 06:50am, 08/10/2015

    Thanks Beau

  6. Beaujack 08:49pm, 08/09/2015

    Yes Jim, my dad who worked in Greenwich Village in New York, where Gene Tunney came from. Saw his idol Gene Tunney take a horrendous beating from the 13 pound lighter Harry Greb at MSG in 1922. He came home a Harry Greb fan… I as a young fella saw the Dead end Kid Rocky Graziano an 1-8 underdog take on a young knockout artist named billy Arnold who was nicknamed “the young Joe Louis”...Graziano who took a terrible beating from Billy Arnold in the first round and just escaped being ko’d Exploded his right hand grenade on Arnold and flattened Billy in the 3rd round. We in the crowd went crazy including I recall Vice President Harry Truman who attended the fight. Graziano became the greatest boxing attraction from then on and Billy Arnold went downhill pronto after this ko loss.. Rocky Graziano was the most exciting fighter I ever saw before the 3 wars with Zale ruined both of them…

  7. Beaujack 08:28pm, 08/09/2015

    Lest we forget Harry Greb beat heavyweights such as Bill Brennan Five times who weighed about 197 pounds. It has been said that Brennan didn’t even win a round in all their bouts. Greb also beat the tough Willie Meehan, a HWt who beat Jack Dempsey and Sam Langford. ...Greb fought almost every 10 days, Why in one year Greb won 46 fights going undefeated…In one yeat he beat as much fighters as Mayweather did in his ENTIRE career…And we must remember in the last 5 years or so of his career Greb was BLIND in one eye. Almost surreal was Harry…

  8. KB 01:31pm, 08/09/2015

    Thanks Beau, that’s what I was looking for—some rationale and I don’t doubt for one minute what your dad saw, I will say that I am hardly alone in my own viewpoint. I am no historian and continue to be confused by what the term means. I just analyze some things and come up with a conclusion. I am also not a per se believer that the “old timers” were better than modern day fighters. Maybe in the lower weights, but not per se in the heavier weights, For what its worth, the one expertise I WILL claim is a technical knowledge of boxing.

    Also, In my lifetime I have seen many of the greats who could be listed in any top 5 I guess, Age has its virtues.

  9. Jim Crue 01:28pm, 08/09/2015

    Beaujack,
    Tunney outweighed Greb like LaMotta outweighed Robinson in their early fights. By 15 or more pounds. And Robinson fought Georgie Abrams and Artie Levine. They were fine MW’s and he was a welterweight. Floyd is just plain ignorant. Ignorance of the highest order.
    You dad saw Tunney vs Greb. Oh my gosh. And you saw Graziano vs Arnold. I love your comments.
    My uncle told me my grandpa woke him from a sound sleep in 1926 yelling Tunney beat Dempsey, Tunney beat Dempsey!!

  10. beaujack 12:24pm, 08/09/2015

    How can anyone have Harry Greb ahead of Gene Tunney P4P alltime ?
    They fought each other 5 times and after the first fight at MSG my dad saw in 1922, in which Greb weighing about 13 pounds less than Tunney,
    gave Gene a horrendous beating. In the following 4 bouts public opinion had Greb winning at least 2 more bouts over Tunney. And remember that Tunney outweighed Harry by 10-15 pounds. Greb was truly a middleweight fighting a strong and heavier light heavyweight than Tunney who was morphing into a heavyweight…So what Greb did was akin to a Marvin Hagler taking on a lightheavyweight like an Ezzard Charles or Archie Moore…No one gave away as much weight as Harry Greb throughout his 300 bout career, against bigger, heavier HOF fighters…

  11. KB 11:27am, 08/09/2015

    Tunney = 65-1-1 and against Greb 3-1-1

    Also beat Dempsey

  12. KB 11:21am, 08/09/2015

    How can anyone have Greb in front of Tunney? Just asking

  13. AKT 01:06am, 08/09/2015

    I agree Robert. The guys from the golden era definitely pushed themselves farther and against a much wider variety of opposition - modern fighters wouldn’t even be in the same argument.

  14. beaujack 07:53pm, 08/08/2015

    In my lifetime I have seen two of the greatest fighters ringside,Ray Robinson and Willie Pep ringside several times…Ray Robinson was the greatest I ever saw as a welterweight..I saw him outclass a fading Henry Armstrong at MSG, and later on as a middleweight stop the tough Randy Turpin at the Polo Grounds in the tenth round, with a badly cut eye…
    Willie Pep was before his near fatal plane accident almost impossible to hit solidly…The “will of the wisp ” he was called for good reason…
    But IMO the greatest P4P fighter was Harry Greb who beat great HOF fighters such as Gene Tunney, Tommy Gibbons, Maxie Rosenbloom, Tommy Gibbons, Jack Dillon, Gunboat Smith, Mickey Walker, Tommy Loughran, etc,. And most of those fighters outweighed Harry Greb by 10 to 25 pounds pounds. Harry Greb had 300 pro fights and in the last 280 bouts or so was NEVER stopped…And we must remember in the last 5 years of his career Greb was sightless in ONE EYE. Amazing…
    And we must not forget Benny Leonard who outclassed a great crop of lightweights for seven years..Leonard could box as good as willie Pep and hit much harder…He was considered every bit as good a lightweight as Ray Robinson was as a welterweight..All great fighters from a Golden Age of boxing…

  15. Robert Ecksel 05:30pm, 08/08/2015

    AKT—I agree that comparing different fighters from different eras is an iffy proposition. I also agree with you about Tunney, who was some kind of genius. But any all-time list of greatest fighters has to include the greatest fighters of the past, whether it was Daniel Mendoza, Benny Leonard, or an imperfect but ballsy character like Mickey Walker.The old-timers didn’t only fight more often than the fighters of today. They also fought tougher opposition, men they weren’t expected to beat, so that they could test their mettle and grow as fighters. That is gone now. All that seems to matter is a pristine record. Pride seems to be a thing of the past.

  16. AKT 02:54pm, 08/08/2015

    I think a distinction needs to be made when comparing boxers. The guys from the golden eras - pre and post 65ish are in a totally different league (not necessarily that they were more skilled) but they were more active. Fighters today fight on average, a third of the time that they fought, so it’ll be difficult to make direct comparisons.

    Oh! and if I made a list, it will definitely have to have Gene Tunney in it. Awesome ring IQ.

  17. AkT 02:41pm, 08/08/2015

    Well said Robert.

    No top pound for pound list should ever leave Sugar Ray Robinson or Henry hank Armstrong off the list. Harry Greb sometimes I’m not sure what I read about him. Complete beast mode. It’ll be carnage if he were around now! It’s interesting that most of the fighters that I’d say are the greatest very nearly lost their lives to the fight game and it does make me wonder if it’s right for the standards to be set so high for any sport. The bottom line is their achievements will probably never be matched (at least I should hope not!). Damn Greb regularly fought guys who outweighed him sometimes by more than 20 pounds without ever being a heavyweight!

  18. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 02:14pm, 08/08/2015

    He’s the poster child for this “sport” and it’s only fitting because he’s never given the people who have pissed away their money to see him “fight” their money’s worth….ever. Let’s see now….he’s probably suckered in a half billion bucks during his career….he didn’t get a single red cent from me….nothing….nada..zip..zilch. Who gives a shit what he thinks…. about anything let alone all time rankings. For that matter who gives two shits for Paulie’s post fight analysis of how he got his ass handed to him after pretending that he was going to put up a fight.

  19. Clarence George 09:15am, 08/08/2015

    Ah, I see that we have Robert’s selection.  Not much to argue against, though I no longer have Ali among my own top five and I have Duran lower, I think at number nine.

    While I don’t consider active fighters for these lists, that’s not the reason I’ve excluded Mayweather—he’s just nowhere near the same league as Robinson & Company.

  20. Clarence George 09:03am, 08/08/2015

    I’m asking, Robert.

    I’ve been toying with my own top five pound-for-pounders of late, revising the list, and this is what I’ve tentatively come up with, in descending order:

    Sugar Ray Robinson
    Joe Louis
    Harry Greb
    Willie Pep
    Sandy Saddler

    No matter what, Henry Armstrong always winds up in sixth place, which kinda bothers me.  My gut tells me that he should be higher.

    Mayweather’s list is just laughable.  He should stick to defrauding clueless fans and spending his ill-gotten gains.

  21. Robert Ecksel 09:01am, 08/08/2015

    I’d leave Duran and Ali on the list. But I’d replace Mayweather, Whitaker, and Chavez with Sugar Ray Robinson, Henry Armstrong, and Harry Greb. Kinda old school, but their records and accomplishments speak for themselves.

  22. AkT 08:48am, 08/08/2015

    Hey Mr. Ecksel, I’m asking. Who would you have picked?

  23. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 08:06am, 08/08/2015

    This is all so much horseshit….he’s going for a KO in this one make no mistake because he knows he can get it with Berto….it won’t be clean but it will be a stoppage. He’s padding his record plain and simple with some feel good for himself because after all Berto will get a nice payday for the pounding he’s gonna’ get.

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