Before Christmas day last year, living legend Sugar Ray Leonard and Floyd Mayweather Jr., perhaps the best fighter of his era, had an exchange of words that set a bad example for both active and retired fighters.
Leonard, a five-division world champion, recalled the time Mayweather called him the greatest boxer he has ever seen, and questioned why Mayweather now calls himself the greatest fighter ever.
“Floyd Mayweather, remember that night when we bumped into each other and you commented that I was the best you’ve ever seen. So are you changing your mind because you’re now retired,” Leonard was quoted as saying by boxingnews24.com.
Mayweather, whose father was stopped by Leonard in September 1978, fired back with more firepower than an AK-47, making sure he would shut up Leonard’s arguments for good.
As 2018 began, Mayweather fired back anew at Leonard by saying that the living legend was stopped by a smaller Hector Camacho in March 1997, in what was Leonard’s last fight. Leonard ended his career with record of 36-3-1 with 25 knockouts.
Now, we all know that Mayweather is still undefeated with a record of 50-0 and 27 KOs, and his stating that Leonard lost to smaller fighter means that he is a level or notch above the living legend.
Mayweather even gave reference to his beating Manny Pacquiao in May 2015, obviously stating that Pacquiao was a much better opponent than Camacho, which is a view that many boxing analysts will agree with.
“Sugar Ray Leonard got stopped by Hector Camacho. People will say Mayweather fought Manny Pacquiao when he [Pacquiao] was old. I’m older than Manny Pacquiao,” Mayweather was quoted as saying by boxingnews24.com.
I really do not know the motive as to why Leonard had to make comments on why Mayweather started to call himself the greatest boxer ever. But I also would not understand as to why Mayweather would respond by making nasty comments on one of boxing’s living legends.
Obviously, one thing is at play here—ego. And we all know how big the egos of boxers and professional fighters are. Leonard even demonstrated how retired boxers can still have big egos.
If I were to take a stand on this verbal exchange between Leonard and Mayweather, I would tell both of them to just shut up. Why? Because Leonard should have realized from the beginning that Mayweather was obviously flattering him when he was told that he was the greatest boxer. Yet it was not right for Mayweather to denigrate Leonard’s legacy by making a big deal of Leonard’s stoppage loss to a boxer named Camacho, who obviously was never at the level of Pacquiao.
So who is going to tell Camacho or Mayweather to keep quiet? Or maybe the other retired or active boxers, and even more fight fans can add fuel into the fire.
But if I were either Leonard or Mayweather, I would just shut up. And both are at fault here: Leonard for completely believing in Mayweather’s comments that he (Leonard) is the greatest boxer; and Mayweather for making such flattering comments, and denigrating Leonard’s legacy.
Anyway, characters like Leonard and Mayweather make the boxing world really colourful. So maybe, let’s just not tell them so shut up.