Massive boxing fan and special contributor to HardFoulSports.com Brian Liebel salutes one of the greatest to ever to do it.
48 wins, zero losses. It is hard to argue with perfection, and over the past 19 years Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. has maintained a perfect record inside of the squared circle. He has won world championships across 5 different weight classes, beaten 23 former or current world champions, and generated the highest grossing pay per view event of all time in any sport in his most recent fight against boxing Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather’s career has been filled with turmoil, and his criminal record has only highlighted the “Bad Guy” persona that he has evolved into over his career. Saturday, September 12th at the MGM Grand, his home court, “Money” Mayweather will enter the ring one last time against former World Champion Andre Berto to close the last chapter on arguably the greatest career in boxing history.
Most critics and fans were extremely disappointed with the long awaited Manny Pacquiao bout. Due to its lack of action it came nowhere near to living up to its hype and anticipation. The 2 most popular boxers alive going toe to toe was supposed to be an entertaining slugfest. Or at least that’s what casual fans thought. What they didn’t know was that Manny hasn’t knocked an opponent out since 2009 and Floyd since 2011. Mayweather gave Pacquiao a masterclass in the sweet science and defensive skills.
There is a massive cliff after Mayweather and Pacquiao in the boxing world regarding popularity and unfortunately Andre Berto isn’t even scaling the mountain at this point. The sports community was in shock when Floyd announced his final opponent and it wasn’t popular up and comer Keith “One Time” Thurman, or English sensation Amir “King” Khan. Four years ago in 2011 Berto was a one man demolition crew with a record of 24-0 and 22 KOs, he was flattening everyone he faced and was expected to face Mayweather after he beat the overlooked Victor Ortiz. Unfortunately for Berto, Ortiz won a Unanimous decision in the 2011 fight of the year and upset Berto. He skidded to two more losses after the Ortiz decision and thought about hanging the gloves up. Training legend Virgil Hunter reached out to Berto and the pair have won two in a row going into the Floyd fight.
Four years ago Berto would have had a fighting chance, today, every single news outlet has counted him out and for the first time in the past couple Mayweather fights, absolutely nobody is saying, “he’s too big for Floyd” or “Floyd is too old, he’s going to drop this one”. The Vegas betting lines according to Odd Sharks have “Money” Mayweather a 1-35 favorite. In reality the past his prime Berto doesn’t stand a chance on September 12th. Fortunately for Berto, he has a fighter’s chance, all it takes is one missed step from Floyd and one powerful right from Berto to score what would be regarded as the biggest upset in the history of sports. Unfortunately for Berto, Mayweather hasn’t missed a step in the last 19 years. Optimists look at this fight as an outlet to see a wild upset, realists look at this fight as a one sided affair, Mayweather fans look at this fight as the last time to see the greatest fighter of our generation.
It doesn’t have the hype that most of his past bouts have had but it does have an excellent under-card featuring George “Saint” Groves an English fighter who sold out Wembley stadium in his past fight, taking on Money Team member Badou Jack and pound for pound great Roman Martinez in a rematch verse slugger Orlando Salido. For those who tune in there won’t be a lack of action that is for sure, the 4 fighters have a combined 74 knockouts.
The “dead” sport of boxing can boast the highest paid athlete of the last 3 years according to Forbes one last time Saturday night. Most experts thought the sport would regress into extinction after Mayweather’s retirement. With the launch of PBC: Premier Boxing Champions the sport has gotten a second wind with championship caliber fights airing on national cable networks, NBC, ABC, CBS, and ESPN.
Mayweather has cemented his legacy as a mogul in the boxing world: the rare combo who’s as good of a fighter as he is a promoter. Whether you love him or hate him, you know his name. Fifty years from now he will be regarded as one of the greatest athletes ever, tune in one last time Saturday night to watch a once in a lifetime athlete complete his career.
Statistics Credit: Boxreq.com