Darrian Michael Hopson
“And then there were none.” These were my exact thoughts after witnessing what was the 45th victory of professional boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr’s career.
On September 14th, 2013 at the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, for 12 rounds, “Money” put on a clinic of boxing excellence in his win over Saul Canelo Alvarez.
Numerous boxing experts had claimed Alvarez to, in fact become the next Mayweather Jr., selecting Alvarez to upset Floyd in a convincing fashion. The critics, naysayers, and doubters never ate their words more than that Saturday night.
For 12 rounds, Jr. made easy work of his welterweight counterpart, besting Alvarez in a majority decision win. Many a fighter have challenged Jr. for the crown and all have failed to dethrone boxing’s pound-for-pound king. In regards to the conversation of the greatest boxer of all time, Muhammad Ali sits at the throne in the eyes of most. I think it is time those eyes reconsider.
In an era when the face of boxing has a declining number of popular fighters, Mayweather Jr. has stood at the top of the sport for a number of explanations whether negative or positive.
With that being said, it is not difficult to understand why he has single-handedly become the face of boxing today. He is the pay-per-view draw, with spectators clamoring to see him perform no matter what the cost may be.
What we pay for when it comes to Floyd Mayweather Jr., is the most complete boxer anyone has seen since Roy Jones Jr. In every spectrum of offense and defense Floyd displays a quality of skills that are of rare breed in the modern athlete, turning experience foes into what looks like lackadaisical amateurs on fight night.
Arturo Gatti, Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, Juan Manuel Marquez, and now Saul Alvarez are the many faces of which Mayweather has defeated over a span of 1996 to the present. At the age of 36, many are patiently waiting for a decline of Mayweather Jr., following along with the history of many other greats who retired on the downside of their career. If there was any indication that Floyd would be beaten anytime soon, it was not present the night of September 14th.
To put things in perspective, in comparison to Muhammad Ali, Ali lost his first tilt at the age of 29 to heavyweight Joe Frazier. Disregarding that, Jr’s record is unblemished, even if he were to suffer a defeat at this point in his career it would strike as far more impressive than most of boxings’ historic combatants.
I would even argue that the athlete of 2013 is a more evolved athlete of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Technology, research and more advanced training has produced, physically, a new breed of fighter.
This is not to say that because Ali lost at an early age, Mayweather is conclusively better. Floyd Mayweather Jr. receives considerations for the greatest of all time because he is the epitomy of perfection in the ring. 45 have shown up and 45 have fallen.
These wins are not your run of the mill, average joe wins. Floyd is simply outclassing, frustrating all opponents with his style of grace, elusiveness and deception in the ring. Experts in the field of boxing are scratching their heads, searching feverishly to find an explanation as to who can conquer this man.
The term “sweet science” coined by the first British champion James Figg, attests to the perfection of Floyd Mayweather Jr. The sport is hanging by a thread onto Mayweather’s gloves. There are many who are left asking the question, who will be left after Mayweather? The answer is unclear, and in many other sports, this question is not being asked.
This is what Floyd means to the sport of boxing. Literally and figuratively promoting the sport, which is dying in the western hemisphere, on his own in terms of his Pay-per-view figures, ticket sales, and pre-fight hype.
There may be no bigger draw in sports. In terms of boxing, the versatility that Floyd brings to boxing is class personified, and at this point it seems that Floyd Mayweather Jr’s toughest opponent will be father time himself.