No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. It is the same for a fighter. Indeed, there is an irresistible human urge in us that seeks to set the individual for contrast and comparison, not only among his contemporaries but also the contemporaries of his long-gone predecessors.
In this sense, when we are to consider Floyd Mayweather one of the greatest boxers of all time, we must see him in contrast and comparison. Otherwise, the title of “one of the greatest boxers of all time” not only seems unsuitable but also a conjecture strictly imposed by the common.
Furthermore, if Mayweather is to carry a crown as heavy as the one just mentioned, he in one way or the other is entitled to carry a burden, a set of responsibilities, to be precise. This set of responsibilities simultaneously lies in being a role model and having a journey that sets a mark. Therefore, although Floyd Mayweather [50-0] equals mastery over art, does he have enough credentials to qualify as a master?
He’s “bad” but Mike Tyson would still exclude Floyd Mayweather from his list of “masters”
One of the most talked-about athletes of the present time, Mayweather propels a plethora of discussions in boxing. Seldom is his name missed. However, in a talk about “masters”, when the name Floyd Mayweather was again mentioned, the following is what Tyson replied to his hosts:
“When I say about the masters, I’m talking about our league – Joe Gans, Roberto Duran. I [do] think Floyd’s bad. But I’m talking about some real nasty, monster, savage sh*t here.”
Whether Tyson excluded Mayweather based on his social role and ability to preserve the sport remains unclear. However, the one thing that Tyson spoke of explicitly was the number of professional fights. In this matter, let us now investigate how Mayweather falls short in a comparison with Duran, Gans, and the others.
As opposed to Mayweather, they had hundreds of fights
To argue his case, Tyson spoke of statistics. In his assessment, where Mayweather retired with a record of 50-0, and for which fans address him with such high regard, fighters like Sugar Ray Ray Robinson, Roberto Duran, and Joe Gans each had hundreds of fights.
Duran had 119 fights, and he won 103 of them, 70 by KOs. Likewise, Joe Gans fought 179 battles and won 147; 101 by knockouts. And finally, Sugar Ray Robinson had a total of 201 fights. Amidst all these noble names, the record of Floyd Mayweather might seem a little pale to the eye. However, none can deny that Mayweather has a winning percentage of 100 and that barely any of his predecessors had a gate of $77.85 m from a fight. Here is what we mean by this statement.
One hundred fights or a fight worth one hundred million?
Boxing is a combat sport and the primary concern here is to hurt and win. As much as fighters take part out of the will to test their skills, they do it so to earn their daily bread and live a life. Recently, Shark Kevin O’Leary urged Logan Paul to quit boxing. His argument was Paul had already made it in life and need not fight again.
In the light of O’Leary’s implications, if one made one hundred million just from one fight, would they ever need one hundred more fights in their career? There goes that argument. Honestly speaking and considering this modern time, we will barely encounter another fighter with a record of one hundred professional boxing matches.
In this manner, as mentioned before, and to reiterate Eliot, it is true that no poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. And that he/she must be seen in comparison with others. However, it is also unfair to compare on the basis of quantity alone, with other variables kept apart.
In conclusion, the master does not merely indicate one who has attained mastery over his art. It is he who does not trouble art at all but rather borrows for the sake of his growth and then does not even consider his own contribution a contribution to the continuous flow of both art and life.