What do you want your legacy to be? "When you mention boxing, all I want you to mention is one man, and that's Floyd Mayweather. When my career's over, I don't want y'all talking about nobody else." - Floyd Mayweather Jr.
These are the words of Floyd “Money” Mayweather after his third fight of a six fight deal signed with Showtime. How many athletes in the history of sports can even come close to the performance record of one Mr. Mayweather. It has been said that the only certainties in life are death, taxes and a Floyd Mayweather win. The confidence has never wained, in fact it has only increased. Considered to be the best pound-for-pound boxer today, it is Mayweather who believes that this should read “of all-time.” While many view him as arrogant and brash, there are times when Floyd can be a charmer and an extremely likable character. So which one is the real Money? It is my belief that it falls somewhere in the middle, and the reason for this is because of one distinct question: What is the motivation to keep boxing?
Being Floyd Mayweather seems like it is a pretty easy life, especially when you are the world’s highest paid athlete. Upon cashing in multi-million dollar checks for his fights for more than a decade, Floyd has banked at least $25 million for each of his past nine bouts going back to 2007 when he defeated Oscar De La Hoya in the most watched fight in the history of boxing pay-per-view events. He has earned almost $400 million in the ring since he turned pro in 1996 after the Olympics, but he has never had a year like this past one. Mayweather earned $105 million during the past 12 months for 72 minutes of work in the ring for fights against Canelo Alvarez and Marcos Maidana. The payday puts Mayweather atop Forbes’ annual list of the world’s highest-paid athletes for the second time in three years. And although his nickname and company name suggest that it is all about the money, there has to be something else that drives Floyd other than a fleet on extravagant sports cars.
Since making his first professional appearance 18 years ago, Money has had little problem getting past the best opponents in the sport. He won 13 of his first 15 bouts by knockout or technical knockout, earning the other two wins by unanimous decision. He continued to move up the ranks over the years, defeating some of the biggest names in boxing along the way. He earned wins over the aforementioned Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley and others considered to be among the best of their generation. But now at the age of 37, what is there left to prove? Perhaps it is some boxing experts who argue that the lack of competition has hurt his legacy.
“Since making his first professional appearance in 1996, Money has had little problem getting past the best opponents in the sport. He won 13 of his first 15 bouts by knockout or technical knockout, earning the other two wins by unanimous decision. He continued to move up the ranks over the years, defeating some of the biggest names in boxing along the way. He earned wins over Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley and others considered to be among the best of their generation.” - Kevin Lole (Yahoo Sports)
Others will most notably point out that they believe Floyd has run from the once mega-fight against Manny Pacquiao and is the reason his legacy will never be what he wants it to be. To make this fight happen now will satisfy some, but there will be enough critics that will say it simply took place two to three years too late. Mayweather has three more fights remaining in his six-bout deal, after which he will likely retire. What he does in those final matches could have a big impact on his legacy going forward. In order to put himself into the conversation of the best ever to step into a ring, he must not only look to challenge himself a bit more, but also ensure that he remains undefeated. One setback could change everything because there is simply no replacing the zero in the loss column. On the other hand, an undefeated run with a few more tough matches would show that there was simply no one in his class during his time. No matter what happens going forward, he will be remembered as one of the best to set foot into a ring and one who dominated his era. The rest will be left to fans to carry on his legacy in arguments until the end of time.
Watch ESPN First Take and get the assessment from Stephen A. Smith, Skip Bayless, and guest Nelly:
Floyd is next scheduled to fight on September 13th, a rematch against Marcos Maidana. We'll see if Floyd and TMT can stay on the path towards his goal of becoming "TBE"- The Best Ever.