Sports Illustrated’s Bryan Armen Graham warned that failure to secure a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr will affect Manny Pacquiao’s legacy as one of the world’s greatest fighters (http://edition.cnn.com/2010/SPORT/12/16/boxing.pacquiao.mosley.tax/).
Or should the premise be stated differently and made the other way around?
Mayweather’s continued avoidance of Pacquiao is now hurting his image and he is imploding while trying to anchor his arguments as the greatest boxer ever with his zero loss record.
Just exactly what are the legacies these boxers will be leaving, who are toiling in the same division and are considered the top two fighters in all of boxing, when they are done with the sport?
If Mayweather wants to cement his as a fighter who never lost a fight, he might as well retire for good now but that won’t earn him a place in boxing lore.
Mayweather failed to fight boxers who were in their prime during his reign as one of the best welterweights in his time. That is one thorn in his rapidly eroding legacy. His zero loss meant nothing because he selected his competition when he was the toast of boxing.
Remember Miguel Angel Cotto, Antonio Margarito and Paul Williams before each suffered devastating defeats? Mayweather never rose to the challenge and dared to climb inside the ring with any of them while he was the ‘The Man’ in the welterweights.
He was a good lightweight, maybe even better. But the competition was then lacking. When the opportunity to solidify his claim came as a welterweight, he walked away.
Now that Manny Pacquiao has taken over the mantle as the best pound for pound boxer in his generation and is making a strong statement as an all time great, a handful are tying what he has accomplished with a fight that may not happen because of the unwillingness of Mayweather to face him.
No other boxer in his generation has accomplished as much as what Pacquiao had already done. Among the cream of fighters today, Pacquiao arguably fought the best competition, pound for pound, record for record.
His three losses notwithstanding, he is an unprecedented boxing phenom that will never be equaled in many decades to come, if ever.
With or without Mayweather, Pacquiao already has his own niche in boxing lore.
In fact, in spite and despite of Mayweather, Pacquiao will have a legacy of his own.
Mayweather? Just a zero loss. How many champions retired undefeated? You can count on your fingers, yes.
But how many boxers won eight titles in eight different weight classes?
Exactly one. His name is Manny Pacquiao.
Who has the singular shot of making it nine in nine different weight classes?
Only one. His name is Manny Pacquiao.