Mayweather's legacy still up for debate

Sun Sep 13, 2015 3:29pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Should Floyd Mayweather's boxing career now be over, as the undefeated American insisted after easily beating Andre Berto in their welterweight showdown on Saturday, his place among the sport's very best is assured.

He will certainly be remembered as one of the greatest defensive practitioners of all time because of his remarkable ability to stay away from danger in the ring, right up there with fighters such as Pernell Whitaker and Willie Pep.

As for his brash claim to be 'TBE' (The Best Ever), that will fall to historians to judge, though many pundits would be reluctant to put him on a pedestal alongside true greats like Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis and Roberto Duran.

Part of the problem for Mayweather is public perception directly caused by the way he promoted himself as a boxer, both inside and outside the ring, with an extravagant lifestyle.

His career-long pursuit of perfection, with his focus on iron-clad defense to stay out of trouble, and his frequently arrogant showmanship helped him compile a stellar 49-0 record to match former heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano.

All too often, though, he has been criticized for hand-picking his opponents, and there is also the question of his relatively low knockout rate, just 26 for a boxer who prides himself on his brilliant defensive skills and agile movement.

Former world heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield felt that Mayweather's legacy was all about the 'numbers' game with the American bowing out as boxing's richest ever prize fighter after setting records in the sport when it comes to annual earnings, pay-per-view buys and gate receipts.

"Mayweather has made more money than anybody else in the game of boxing," Holyfield, who has been crowned world heavyweight champion a record five times and watched Saturday's fight at the MGM Grand, told Reuters.   Continued...

Sep 12, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather is introduced against Andre Berto (not pictured) for their WBA/WBC welterweight title bout at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mayweather won via unanimous decision. Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports 
Picture Supplied by Action Images