Boxing's Cultural Amnesia: A Craftsman Forgotten

Clayton HollowayContributor IIIJune 9, 2009

Is it a coming of age or is just a short 15 minutes on top? Whatever the case may be, Manny Pacquiao is on top of the boxing ranks and has won the hearts of millions.

The history of sports shows us some of the best teams and players come in two's and the argument of “who’s better” never seems to go away. In the 1970s it was the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys.

In the 1980s it was the Lakers and Celtics. For every Michael Jordan, there was a Magic Johnson. If you talk about Peyton Manning, you talk about Tom Brady. LeBron James, Kobe Bryant. The list goes on and on.

In boxing... well, as of lately if you mention Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr. gets mentioned, most in part due to the announcement of his comeback July 18 against Juan Manuel Marquez.

The problem with this is, we live in a "now" society. Meaning, we are a world that is fascinated with the people and things that are currently "in" at the moment. It can be a certain type of vehicle, brand of clothing or some sort of celebrity that's "on top of the world" in this case, its Manny Pacquiao.

Now, don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with that, but as quick as we are to fall in love with people and things, we tend to forget about others. In this case, Floyd Mayweather Jr.

I have been on countless message boards, websites and have heard banter in general about how "great" Manny Pacquiao is and how he could "destroy" Floyd Mayweather Jr. I truly believe the boxing world has forgotten how good Floyd Mayweather really is.

Mayweather retired as the undefeated welterweight champion of the world. A six-time champion in five different weight classes. Not to mention, for the last 3 1/2 years upon his retirement he was ranked number one pound for pound.

A record of 39-0 with 25 KO's would be pretty impressive to most, but since its the " villain" and trash-talking Mayweather there comes scrutiny. I like to call it hatred.

The main argument I hear about Mayweather's career is that he has "avoided fighters" or people question "who has he fought?" Why isnt anyone questioning who Manny Pacquiao has fought?

Five notable names come to mind when thinking of who the Pac-Man has fought; Marco Antonio Barrera, Eric Morales (twice), Juan Manuel Marquez (twice), De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton. Outside of the fact Manny has been knocked out twice, scrutiny comes with everyone one of these fights with the exception of his TKO victory over Barrera. He lost to Morales once.

The two fights with Marquez; many people believe Marquez won both fights (draw, split decision for Pacquiao). He beat a drained, dehydrated, old Oscar De La Hoya. Last but not least, he KO'd a defenseless Ricky Hatton.

Mayweather beat a much better, stronger, heavier Oscar De La Hoya. He beat a De La Hoya who was determined to fight, rather than his lack of offense against Pacquiao. He also had a TKO over (at the time) an undefeated Ricky Hatton.

Why is Pacquiao getting praised for something Floyd has already done? It seems as if Mayweather's achievements just get thrown under the rug only because people love to hate him.

Now with his comeback he is getting scrutinized for fighting Juan Manuel Marquez. Floyd is a business man; he’s not looking to please those who hate him. Why is he fighting the lightweight champion Marquez; because it makes sense.

Marquez, in many people’s eyes beat Pacquiao twice. Marquez is ranked No. 2 pound for pound. He called out Mayweather. He also has a huge following with the Mexican fans. It potentially sets up the show-down with Pacquiao. In Floyd’s eyes it makes “cents!”

He isn’t ducking or dodging any fighter. So that argument can be thrown away because his accomplishments over his career are uncanny.

In only his 18th professional fight he won the Super Featherweight Title.

He gave Diego Corrales his first loss ever with a TKO victory. Diego Corrales coming into the fight was also 11 pounds heavier then Mayweather. Yet Mayweather gets called out for fighting smaller fighters. The majority of Mayweather’s fights were against bigger opponents, he continually moved up throughout his career.

He beat Jose Luis Castillo twice. Destroyed a good fighter in Phillip N'dou with a 7th round TKO. N'dou had a record of (30-1, 29 KO) entering the fight with Mayweather.

He made experienced champion Arturo Gatti look like an amateur. Mayweather boxed circles around him until the 6th round TKO victory to win the Super Lightweight title.

He beat, at the time, a very feared, quick and powerful welterweight in Zab Judah to win 2 welterweight titles. Zab was still in his prime and Mayweather was on his way to a KO victory until the whole low-blow incident.

After Mayweather beat Judah, he did indeed turn down a fight with Antonio Margarito. He did that to potentially get a big "pay day" fight with De La Hoya in 2006. Since De La Hoya postponed fighting until 2007 it forced Mayweather to get one more fight in before the years end, so he fought Carlos Baldomir.

Again, his talents and speed in the ring were clearly shown as he beat and boxed circles around the much bigger and stronger champion Baldomir.

In 2007 he moved up in weight to 154, to fight De La Hoya. Unlike, Pacquiao and Freddie Roach who made De La Hoya come down in weight. 

And to end the Mayweather timeline... he beat Hatton with TKO victory in the 10th. Hatton was undefeated until Mayweather. Hatton also fought a better fight and gave more effort then he did against Pacquiao. Watch the two fights and compare.

Floyd Mayweathers boxing career has been consistent and has only gotten better. He is a very skilled, quick, defensive, accurate and smart fighter… one of the best ever. The quality of fighters Mayweather has fought are clearly more notable then those of Pacquiao's.

Manny Pacquiao's career has obviously gotten better but was inconsistent with seldom notable wins and losses. Yet he is dubbed the hands-down winner in the potential Pacquiao-Mayweather fight. Ridiculous.

It can be mind-boggling at times to see people knock on a guy who doesnt have a blemish on his career. A flawless record. Undefeated, never been knocked down. Yet he will get "destroyed" or knocked out by Pacquiao? Lets be real.

Come July 18, we will all witness what Floyd brings to the ring and hopefully after the night is over, a year’s end showdown with Pacquiao, Cotto, or Mosley will be in the making! I want it as much as the haters do.