Day 18: On our countdown today we scratch off day #18 as we find ourselves less than three weeks from the promise land. Every day as we count down we’re gonna take a different look at the fighters to narrow down the possible results. Today we take a long, hard look at Floyd Mayweather Jr. who, as great as he is, some argue he’s still not quite at the peak of the mountain in his sport. The flip side of that argument is how can you deny a man as talented and gifted as he is? Some love him, some hate him…some praise him…some degrade him…thus the aforementioned title…Is he the G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) Or A Hoax? Is “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather For Real? What makes Floyd Mayweather Jr. so good? As you look at the long list of Boxers from the early days of old to current, what puts Floyd in the same class as the fighters Boxing historians continue to ponder about? The “Sugar” Ray Leonard’s, the Rocky Marciano’s, and the Muhammad Ali’s of the Boxing world. Fighters come in so many variations that it could be perceived as totally asinine to even discuss one man as ‘thee’ Greatest Of All Time so in an era where fighters setup one mega fight per year and cash out rather than stay active and busy, how is it conceivable that anyone in the current market could be the G.O.A.T.? Well, let’s take a look at the man most think comes closest. Skill Level Breakdown Power Boxers: When you think of some of the great ‘power boxers’ of past and present eras with pure knockout ability you think George Foreman, “Iron” Mike Tyson, Rocky Marciano, Wladimir “Sledgehammer” Klitschko and Sonny Liston. This is obviously no forte’ of Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s, despite decent power with the ability to wear opponents down with an accumulation of shots.Fast Hands: When you think of some of the Boxers with great hand speed of the past you think “Sugar” because aside from Muhammad Ali, you have “Sugar” Ray Leonard, “Sugar” Ray Robinson, and “Sugar” Shane Mosley. This is one section where categorically you have to insert Floyd Mayweather Jr. because he’s right up there with the best of them. It’s actually hard to consider any of them being much quicker if at all. Defense: When you think of the best defenders in the game, past and present you have to look at guys like a young Cus D’ Amato led Mike Tyson who’s bobbing and weaving was quite masterful; You also have to throw in Winky Wright along with two current ‘throwback’ fighters in James Toney and Bernard Hopkins. This is no doubt a strength of Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s as his cat like reflexes, (similar to a young Roy Jones Jr.), allows him to strike and move before sustaining an opponents impact. He also frequently employs the ‘shoulder roll’ and rope-a-dope techniques among others. Ring Generalship: When you think about in-fight adjustments and essentially a couple of the best ‘pure’ boxers ever you have to consider Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, and Bernard Hopkins. This is an area where Floyd Mayweather jr. has shown an ability to step up but it should be noted that the level of competition he’s done it against is not on the legendary level. X-Factor: When it comes to fighters with intangibles or ‘2nd gears’ as we in the fight world dub them, there are various. Muhammad Ali did it with his words, Mike Tyson did it with his demeanor, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, and Oscar Dela Hoya does it with heart. Floyd Mayweather Jr. has another intangible, so to speak, as even though I’ve never seen a writer give him credit for this, his calm execution and visible serenity is only surmounted by his killer instinct when he has a fighter hobbled. {Perfect example…Think back to the incident in the Zab Judah fight when everyone around him was in a chaotic state…He took his time out to get over the pain from the low blow and came out after the ruckus and calmly executed in a flawless fashion. Few fighters have this ability}. Conclusion: When considering all of these qualities there’s only one that Floyd MayweatherJr. doesn’t seem to have as a natural and that may have more to do with his desire to display the ‘sweet science’ rather than add to the list of repetitive brawlers of the Boxing world today. Even after notching all of these qualities under his belt it’s still a stretch to call him the G.O.A.T. but if he is able to dominate Oscar Dela Hoya in a formidable fashion ,(alas Winky Wright vs Tito Trinidad), what will the critics and historians say then? Most would probably still not call him the G.O.A.T., but one thing for sure, he’ll prove he’s far from a hoax…Which means anything else is open for discussion…And yes…That means even the possibility of some finding him to indeed be the G.O.A.T. Tomorrows Installment of countdown to Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr. will shift to the “Goldenboy” in: Silver Lining, Made Of Gold: “What Makes Oscar So Good”?

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.