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The Legend of Pretty Boy Floyd
By Martin Wade (May 21, 2004) 
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
As the first week of Antonio Tarvers “reign” as pound for pound king closes I look forward to seeing my choice as boxings best. This Saturday on HBO boxing fans will be treated to another chapter in “The Legend of Pretty Boy Floyd”. When examining most lists of boxings best pound for pound Floyd’s relative youth by comparison is difficult to fathom. Like most who choose Floyd as #1 pound for pound I feel he deserves the distinction for many reasons.

My first argument is this (sorry Bernard, Antonio) boxing’s best should never be past his prime. Floyd is in his prime, right now and he is farther away from suffering Roy Jones’ fate than Hopkins and even Tarver himself. Tarver, even with a time capsule (I’ll never forget where I was) KO over Jones should never be placed over Floyd who since 98’ has been putting on transcendent performances against the toughest opposition. Tarver, since 2003 has just begun to fight up to potential, he’s even alluded to as much. Floyd Mayweather’s whole career has been nothing, but performing to his highest expectation. Floyd’s ability to fight at this level is what allowed him to earn his first belt at such a tender age. Floyd Mayweather never needed crushing defeat, as a motivator to become what he is, the best fighter in the game.

Some observers of the sweet science say they favor the longevity of Bernard Hopkins. I also love Bernard’s sustained excellence, but I also believe that little Floyd is in the Philadelphians league. Bernard failed in his first attempt at a vacant belt (albeit to a young Roy Jones) and drew against Segundo Mercado before finally demolishing him for the IBF trinket in 1995. Ponder this, Floyd appeared on the pound for pound scene a mere three years later. Subtract Bernard’s “lost period” after Trinidad and it all evens out. The”Pretty Boy’s resume is spotless and prolific filled with tough nuts like Emanuel Augustus. There are no Carl Daniels or Morrade Hakkar’s on the pretty boy’s dance card. Although undefeated in an amazing 11 years since the Jones defeat that “version” of Hopkins is often granted a well-understood “green” status. This makes it even more impressive that the pretty boy (12 yrs. Hopkins junior) has never been considered “green” at any stage of his career.

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Floyd Mayweather, JR. combines all of the better elements of boxing’s top five with the exception of De La Hoya’s mainstream notoriety and “name” opponents. Roy Jones athletic gifts, Hopkins consistency plus a longer sustained “zone” than Tarver equals the legend of Pretty Boy Floyd. Only James “Lights Out” Toney is on Floyd’s level defensively, but Mayweather can also shut down an opponent’s offense with his feet. There will be a huge disparity in how Floyd handles his buddy Zab’s common opponent (Demarcus Corley) on Saturday night. Once the clinic is taught there will be even more truth to Floyd’s boast to Judah (after schooling him in hoops) “you can’t beat me at nothing”.

Hopefully after Saturday night Floyd’s status as the WBC mandatory will bring Arturo Gatti to the table. I, for one would understand if Gatti chose not to become a footnote in the story of NraGE Sports Management newest client. Floyd would turn Gatti like a Ferris wheel, countering his every move as if he got the memo first. Maybe Don King will swoop in like a vulture, offering Cory Spinks as bait for the Michigan maestro. The compelling thing about watching a legend unfold is the sense of anticipation, the sense that soon something big “has” to happen. The question is “who” will step forward and take their role in this boxing drama, who will risk their status in an already deep division? Whatever transpires with boxing’s resident boy genius I’ll be there to press “record”, salvaging it all for posterity.

In case you want to know: The Boxing Junkie’s top Five Pound for Pound List

  1. Floyd Mayweather, JR.
  2. Bernard Hopkins
  3. Antonio Tarver
  4. Roy Jones, JR.
  5. Oscar De La Hoya and James Toney (Tied)

Until The Next “Jones”

The Boxing Junkie.

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