By Ludwig O. Daza
To what extent would one go through just to protect a reputation, or a legacy for that matter? If you have millions in the bank, and you’re offered more millions in exchange for a chance to shut up your detractors, but you have to put your legacy on the line, would you take it? Will the real Pretty Boy stand up, Please!
By the looks of it, Floyd Mayweather seemed hell-bent on protecting his legacy. And what is this legacy? His reputation as the best boxer of all time! That is according to none other than Mayweather himself. Forget Sugar Ray Robinson, Jack Dempsey or Muhammad Ali; they all suffered defeats.
“If a fighter is making $70 million dollar per fight why fight Manny Pacquiao,” said Mayweather, further saying that Pacquiao is fighting his left-overs! Last time I checked, he never tasted cuisines named Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto when offered! Last time I checked, the Pacman devoured them!
Mayweather never tasted defeat, so he must the best boxer of all time, right? You know what? I think he might just be correct! But is he the greatest? I don’t think so.
Unblemished record alone is not enough for a fighter to claim he’s the best. Joe Calzaghe is also unbeaten but would never say such thing. There are a lot of former champions out there that retired unbeaten, but Mayweather is in a league of his own, a sui generis.
Mayweather’s claim as being the best is not grounded on this score alone, but in addition to his skill-set that will never be seen in the next century. Make no mistake, Floyd as a fighter is very special. He is the face of sweet science right now – which is to hit the opponent and avoid being hit in the process.
Floyd’s skill-set is like a navy fleet, with an offense similar to an aircraft carrier provisioned with varied ammunitions. His vaunted defense, comprising the shoulder roll, adeptness in clinching and cat-like reflex, is like a frigate that takes care of enemy strikes, both ground and air.
His movements are so effortless and so balanced that he is able to fend off attacks from all angles and launch an attack himself in split second. It’s like watching a movie of Bruce Lee and his Jeet Kune Do discipline where a defense is at the same time an offense.
If Mayweather is a basketeer he would be Michael Jordan, an ambidextrous who lays-up basketball using left hand or right hand with equal ease. His balance is what makes him so fluid in his offense and defense. His shoulder roll is a defensive gem. How many fighters can do that? Only James Toney does a shoulder roll other than Mayweather, and he claims that Mayweather copied it from him.
Every fighter copies from his role model but he eventually develops a shot that is uniquely his own. Whenever Mayweather does a shoulder roll he tilts his head backwards, adding a unique safety feature. James Toney, however, does it hunching forward with his elbow flailing a bit.
Shoulder roll is first and foremost a defense, but it can also serve as a way to launch a straight with telling effect, because it hides a punch traveling at a shorter distance as the same is launch from the chest level. Shoulder roll protects the chin and the head from straight, and from left or right hook depending on which shoulder is utilized.
Mayweather seldom uses his jab, but with his dizzying hand speed he doesn’t need a jab to penetrate his opponent’s defense. His footwork can get him instantly within striking distance. Oscar De La Hoya found that out in their fight; he was always a step slower in reacting to Mayweather’s punches.
These are the things that make Floyd the best boxer ever. But these things will not make him the greatest because greatness transcends personal abilities. It’s the persona thing. Skills are distinct and separate from the person. Skills are just launching pad to greatness.
His path to greatness is littered with obstacles that some seemed insurmountable. To overcome such, he needs to start with his boorish behavior.
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