Floyd Mayweather Jnr “will never have the legacy or the respect of the world” that Muhammed Ali enjoys, according to former IBF Super-featherweight World Champion and boxing analyst Barry Michael.
In the lead up to his ‘Fight of the Century’ with Manny Pacquiao on Sunday, Mayweather claimed this week that he deserved to be held in higher esteem than Ali.
Ali “changed the world” for African and African-American people, while Mayweather has simply “become a bit of a pain in the arse as he has gotten older”, Michael told The New Daily.
“It’s almost impossible to compare them (Mayweather/Ali) but if we talk about pound for pound I’d say Floyd is one of the greatest fighter’s I have seen,” he said.
“But Ali is the greatest heavyweight fighter I’ve ever seen.”
This comment from Mayweather set the boxing world alight this week: “He called himself The Greatest and I call myself TBE (The Best Ever),” Mayweather boasted. “I’m pretty sure I’ll get criticised for what I said, but I couldn’t care less. I could care less about the backlash.”
Ali himself (or the person who runs his account) responded on Twitter (see below) and former champ Mike Tyson called the current champ “very delusional”.
— Muhammad Ali (@MuhammadAli) April 27, 2015
“He’s a little scared man. He’s a very small, scared man.” Tyson said, demonstrating surprising eloquence on the Undisputed Champion Network.
“He can’t listen. If he was anywhere near that realm of greatness with Ali, he’d be able to take his children to school by himself.
“Greatness is not guarding himself from the people. Greatness is being accepted by the people.”
‘Pretty Boy’ Mayweather has dominated 21st century boxing, but Ali and ‘Sugar’ Ray Robinson have long been heralded as the sport’s best-ever combatants.
Michael thinks Mayweather will “dismantle” Pacquiao via knockout, but tips the underdog to start the fight’s first few rounds on the front foot.
“We’ll see Floyd start to pick him off and as the fight progresses he will end up stopping Manny – I don’t think it will go the distance.” he said.
Muhammed Ali versus Floyd Mayweather
In the interest of settling an argument that’s going to be had in pubs and homes around the globe this weekend, we compared the statistics and careers of Ali and Mayweather.
In the blue corner … Muhammed Ali, ‘The Greatest’
Years pro: 1960 – 1981 (boxing license suspended from March 1967 to October 1970 as he was convicted with refusing to serve in Vietnam War)
Record: 61 fights – Won 56 (KO 37) Lost 5 (KO 1)
Won World Championship three times Defended a World Championship 26 times
Honours: • Gold Medal at Rome 1960 Olympics
• Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year 1974
• Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year 1974 &
• Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the 20th Century
Ali fought only in the heavyweight division and won fewer titles than Mayweather. That Ali came back after a three year suspension and won two World Championships is significant.
At 25 years old Ali was suspended for refusing to go to the Vietnam War in the draft. He appealed the conviction and managed to avoid jail time.
He returned to boxing as a 28-year-old and won the NABF Heavyweight title beating Ken Norton after losing it to him earlier in 1973.
He then famously beat George Foreman for the WBC and WBA World Heavyweight titles in the “Rumble in the Jungle” in the Congo at the age of 32. Sensationally, he went onto win the WBA title again at 36 when he beat Leon Spinks.
Before his suspension, Ali was outrageously gifted in terms of reflex and speed. As he got older, those advantages faded.
That is why the triumphs of his later years were so phenomenal.
Ali fought a hometown opponent in a foreign country seven times and won six. He also fought in neutral overseas bouts on eight more occasions. These covered Central America, Africa, Europe Asia and South East Asia.
Sonny Liston, George Foreman, Joe Frazier and Ken Norton were fights Ali won in titanic struggles. They were certainly not forgone conclusions for ‘The Greatest’.
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In the red corner … Floyd Mayweather Jnr ‘TBE: The Best Ever’
Years pro: 1996 – now (break from December 2007 to September 2009)
Record: 47 fights – Won 47 (KO 26) Lost 0
Divisions: Junior Lightweight, Lightweight, Junior Welterwight, Welterweight (current) & Junior Middleweight
Won World Championship 10 times Defended a World Championship 16 times
Honours: • Bronze Medal at Atlanta 1996 Olympics
• 2007 Boxing Writers Association of America Fighter of the Year
• 2002 World Boxing Hall of Fame Fighter of the Year
Mayweather has reigned supreme in various weight divisions, from Junior Lightweight up to Junior Middleweight, throughout a journey spanning five divisions.
He’s has never fought outside of the United States of America and his last 11 fights have been at the MGM Grand Casino, Las Vegas.
The jury is out as to whether ‘Money’ Mayweather has ever really had as big a test as Ali did – although that speaks to the quality of the megastar.
He is just so good that he hasn’t – so far – faced anyone who could challenge him. Ali, on the other hand, took on opponents who could challenge and defeat him.
Where to see the Mayweather/Pacquaiou fight
Foxtel’s pay-per-view channel, Main Event, will show the fight in Australia. Foxtel customers can order the fight for $59.95.
Local pubs and sports bars around Australia will also be showing the fight plus the televised undercard. Over 1000 venues have applied to show the bout.
The first fight of the undercard is at 11:30am (AEST)
Depending on how long the undercard fights go the main event’s probable start time is 1pm (AEST).