May 2, 2015 History will be made

Foto por Chris Farina/ Top Rank

Foto por Chris Farina/ Top Rank

The long awaited match and arguably the most important fight in this modern day boxing era is fast approaching.

It’s easy to label it so based on PPV projections and the revenue it will generate, but in the eyes of this boxing enthusiast, the winner of the Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao fight should also be recognized as arguably, the Greatest Prize Fighter of All Time or the T.B.E. The Best Ever.

Now, I understand the above statement may rub some fans and purist the wrong way, after all, that title has only been used when talking about just two fighters, Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali and while these two all time greats deserve every accolade bestowed on them not only because of their talents and accomplishments but also because they were both ahead of their times, I will try to make the argument of why I feel history will re-written on May 2nd 2015.

We cannot discount the advancements in training and nutrition that athletes enjoy in modern days. After all, an under 10:00 sec 100 meter dash is not that uncommon anymore during World Championships and Olympic Games; athletes lifting 3+ times their body weight and breaking long and high jump records that previously stood the test of time. But the argument I’m trying to make here goes beyond the athletic gifts of both Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao and for that we’ll have to take a brief look at the contenders to T.B.E. crown.

Sugar Ray Robinson amassed a record of 173-19-6 and 2 No Contest with 108 KO’s. A 91 fight undefeated streak and was the man after who the mythical Pound for Pound ranking was created simply because he was so much better than anyone else the sport had ever seen.

Ray Robinson gave the welterweight and middleweight divisions the status and cache they enjoy today. I believe is safe to say that we will never see another elite fighter retire with 200 fights in his professional record.

Simply put, Sugar Ray Robinson was the prototype of the modern day athlete in and out of the ring; athletic and multi talented and with a great mixture of speed and power. Had he been fighting in modern days with the 17 or 18 weight classes we have now (depending who you ask) we can arguably say he would have been a 4 or maybe 5 division champion.

Muhammad Ali; the self proclaimed Greatest,  the People’s Champion, the Louisville Lip; took self promotion to the next level and with an Olympic Gold Medal to go with his 2 Heavyweight Title reigns, he certainly had the credentials to back up his braggadocio.

With impeccable footwork to go with his lighting fast hands and well above average power, Ali went 19-0 before snatching the World Heavyweight Title from Sonny Liston by way of a 7th Rd TKO, and 29-0 before being suspended for 3 years from boxing for political reasons. He finished his career with a 56-5 record.

Ali, was not only ahead of the curve with his in-ring skills and abilities but he was also one of the smartest and most vocal athletes of his time. His persona brought celebrity to the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War.   His ability to hype and promote a fight were something never seen before and whether you liked him or hated him, you would tune in for the event that his fights became. Ali understood that his monetary success in the ring was not only a physical and mental effort but he was also very aware of the importance public interest played and because of this, he became the biggest athlete / entertainer the world had ever seen. Because of these traits he is still seen as The Greatest in the eyes of many.

But as we fast forward to 2015, we are just days away from one of the most anticipated fights in the history of the sport and definitely one that should break previous revenue records setting the bar so high it may take decades for two fighters to generate this type of interest.

Besides the fact that both Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather have become the undisputed PPV champions and bonafide money printing machines, this will be the first time that two Pound for Pound kings will be facing each other at or near the prime of their careers.

Sure, there have been other pound for pound fighters who have faced each other at or near the prime of their career, but none of them can boast of the record and accolades both Manny and Floyd hold.

Both these fighters have well above average boxing IQ’s, incredibly fast hands, great defensive skills, good power on both hands and amazing conditioning and while they may very well be a step or two slower than they were 3 or 4 years ago, they still are able to handle rather easily the young bulls that have been pretenders to their throne.

Their combined record is 104-5-2 with 64 wins by way of KO’s, but while those numbers may not look overly impressive, the following facts will clear things up a bit:

40-3-1 combined record in World Title fights.

20 combined World title reigns- Pacquiao gets credited with winning titles in 8 weight divisions(from Flyweight to Super welterweight)something never done before; while Mayweather gets credited with winning titles in 5 weight divisions (from Super Featherweight to Light Middleweight).

Simply put, no two fighters in boxing history can lay claim to more hardware than this two gentlemen.

But if that’s not enough to convince anyone of the quality of these two fighters, all you have to do is look at the list of foes these modern day gladiators have faced and conquered. Literally a who is who of world champions, ex world champions as well as would be Hall of Famers and all time greats such as Diego Corrales, Jose Luis Castillo, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Zab Judah, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera just to name a few.

Sure, Ray Robinson faced all time greats the likes of Jake LaMotta, Henry Armstrong, Kid Gavilan, Randy Turpin, Rocky Graziano and Gene Fullmer and Muhammad Ali backed up his boast with wins over Archie Moore, Henry Cooper, Sonny Liston, Floyd Patterson, Joe Frazier and George Foreman but the truth is that all both their resumes are stellar and loaded with great champions, over all, neither Robinson nor Ali dominated their opponents with the ease the both Mayweather and Pacquiao have dominated theirs.

And we can always argue the fact that other fighters have shown to be athletically on par if not a bit better than Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather; Roy Jones Jr. comes to mind, but the truth is, no one has been able to package it all like these two gentlemen have nor have they been blessed with having fought against some of the best talent of the 21st century period.

Their resume certainly stacks up very well against Sugar Ray Robinson’s, and both fighters have been able to transcend beyond their role as athletes into the realm of world renowned personalities / entertainers much like Ali, so in this writer’s eyes, May 2nd will see the boxing world crown a new King of the Sport, a new T.B.E. , and whomever that may be, the title will certainly be well deserved as I truly believe that what these two fighters have achieved to date will most likely never be duplicated.

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  1. Kidd Kulafu says:

    Manny will eviscerate “TBE” Floydie come May 2, 2015.

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