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Does Floyd Mayweather Have a Case as The Greatest of All-Time?

Is Floyd the GOAT?
Publish Date: 06/08/2024
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

Floyd Mayweather was one of the best ever to make money, but was he really the G.O.A.T? Let’s take a look at his accomplishments and who he beat and see where he falls.

Was Floyd a five-division Champion?

Number one, with 17 weight classes and four champions in each, we first must establish how many divisions he was the true champion in. Let’s examine each.

Super Featherweight

It is worth noting that this division, along with the other junior/super ones, were late to the game and were seen as synthetic when guys like Henry Armstrong fought. So to begin with, all of these super divisions are B.S. The best fighters that Floyd beat here was the Champion Genaro Hernandez, whose main claim to fame was beating an old Azumah Nelson. He then beat Diego Corrales. Now beating Hernandez did make him the lineal champion in a weak, made-up division, but ultimately he was the true lineal champion.

Lightweight

Mayweather was beaten in his first lightweight fight against Jose Luis Castillo, but of course, the decision was given to Mayweather. He did come back and beat Castillo in the rematch. The win over Castillo made him the lightweight champion, but even though he was considered the true champ in these two divisions by today’s standards, can he be an all-time great? Not even close. Come on, these two divisions were so weak when Floyd reigned. It would be hard to imagine a Jose Luis Castillo hanging with an Esteban Dejesus or even a Ken Buchanan, much less a Roberto Duran.

Junior Welterweight

Mayweather’s only claim here is beating a limited Arturo Gatti. Mayweather was never the lineal champion at junior welterweight. So through three weight classes and the best Mayweather has beaten was Diego Corrales, who was a very good fighter but by no means an all-time great fighter.

Welterweight

Now at welterweight Mayweather did become the true lineal champion, but there are still problems there. Number one he beat Juan Manuel Marquez and Marquez is a great fighter, but it was his first time fighting at welterweight and Mayweather came in overweight to give himself even more of an advantage. Mayweather then beat Ricky Hatton, which would have been a much better win if he would have fought Hatton at his best weight, which was 140. Let’s not forget the dud of a “super-fight” that was the Pacquiao contest. So while he was the best at this division, once again the competition was not very good.

Junior Middleweight

Beating Oscar De La Hoya couldn’t have given him a true claim, especially when Oscar was 2-2 in his previous four fights and in all actuality lost to Felix Sturm, which made him 1-3 in his four previous fights. Now a win over Miguel Cotto gives him a legit claim but Cotto, while a hell of a fighter, is not an all-time great either. Then you have a win over Canelo Alvarez, which is another solid win, even though Canelo was a little young.

Compare Floyd to Henry Armstrong

Henry Armstrong should be considered a 4-division champ by the standards of his time, factoring in the robbery that took place in his middleweight bout against Ceferino Garcia. On an interesting side note, while Mayweather was having Marquez come up two classes (one class by Armstrong’s era’s standards), Armstrong weighed in as a welterweight for his middleweight title fight against the larger Garcia and still dominated Garcia, who was an excellent fighter.

When taking into consideration the expansion of super and junior weight classes in the modern era, Armstrong would be a seven-division champion in today’s era. And by champion, this does not mean that Armstrong would hold one piece of the title and call himself the champion like Mayweather could do. No, it means Armstrong by today’s standards would have been the true champion in seven weight classes. Armstrong was the undisputed champion at every weight in a much tougher era. This is without taking into account that Armstrong fought on average once a month, sometimes more. Not only that, but instead of fighting Andre Berto or Robert Guerrero, Armstrong was beating Fritzie Zivic and Barney Ross.

Mayweather can’t compare to a true all-time great like Armstrong.

Compare Floyd to Sugar Ray Robinson

This may be the dumbest comparison yet! Ray Robinson dominated from 135 to 175! Ray Robinson defeated Sammy Angott, the great lightweight champ at the time, but Angott’s title was not on the line. If not for a heat stroke, Robinson would have been champion after easily outpointing Joey Maxim at 175. By those days’ standards that amounts to four legitimate divisional titles.

By today’s standards, including the additional super/junior weight classes, Robinson would also have a claim to being a seven-division legitimate champion, not factoring in the watered-down competition of today’s era where men like Broner, Ortiz, and Guerrero can be considered belt-holders. This is also ignoring the fact that Ray Robinson fought 12 times a year in his prime against some of the greatest welterweights and middleweights of all time.

Think about how far Mayweather is behind Ray Robinson. Mayweather would have to have beaten the likes of Gamboa, Crawford, and Garcia moved up to defeat Pacquaio and Bradley at 147, beaten Golovkin and Sergio Martinez at 160, and then hung with Bernard Hopkins or Andre Ward around 175 to even be remotely considered in the conversation. And you can bet your ass Floyd would never have even attempted to do anything like that. Hell, he wouldn’t even consider fighting GGG!

Comparing Floyd to Sugar Ray Leonard

Once again there is no comparison here. Ray beat Duran two out of three, Benitez, Hearns, and Hearns by becoming the aggressive slugger–all while behind on points, knocking out Hearns in the fourteenth round! Then he moved up to middleweight and won a disputed decision over Marvin Hagler, and then he moved up and fought at 168 against a light heavyweight titleholder in Donny LaLonde, knocking LaLonde out in the ninth round. So now, once again, there is no comparison here either.

Conclusion

Floyd beat no all-time greats in their prime and at 154 he ducked guys like Antonio Margarito and Paul Williams, so if you truly believe Floyd is the greatest of all-time you also likely think Tyson could have beat Ali. All of this means you know nothing about boxing!

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