Believe it or not, comparing Rocky Marciano to Floyd Mayweather Jr. is like comparing night to day.
While Marciano and Floyd Jr. are both undefeated fighters in the professional ranks (as of this writing), the Brockton Blockbuster got his first crack at the world heavyweight title in his 43rd bout at 29 years old. Meanwhile, Floyd Jr. got the first crack at a world title in his 17th bout at 22 years old.
Although Marciano is still recognized as the benchmark for boxers retiring undefeated, there are others like cruiserweight Joe Calzaghe (46-0), super middleweight Sven Ottke (34-0), flyweight Pichit Sitbangprachan (24-0), and the late junior lightweight Edwin Valero (27-0).
On May 2, however, Floyd Jr. can set the benchmark for undefeated boxers if he beats Manny Pacquiao to make his record 48-0. Even if Floyd Jr. does not register his 49th win and retires undefeated, he could still boast of besting Marciano in number of championship bouts: 19 versus the seven of Marciano.
While Mayweather can never surpass Marciano’s tally for knockouts (43 vs 26), the American definitely faced better opposition.
What is interesting about Marciano and Mayweather is both of them absorbed defeats in the amateur ranks. Floyd Jr. ended his amateur career with an 84-6 record and won the Golden Gloves competition in 1993, 1994 and 1996. In the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Floyd Jr. won the bronze medal in the featherweight division. On the other hand, Marciano’s amateur record was 8-4.
Clearly, being part of a boxing clan has served Floyd Jr. His father, Floyd Sr., and two uncles Roger and Jeff, were professional fighters with Roger winning world titles in two divisions.
His father Floyd Sr. fought professionally from 1974 to 1990 to compile a record of 28-6-1 with 17 knockouts. On September 9, 1978, Floyd Sr. lost to future multi-weight champion Sugar Ray Leonard who was 13-0 then. Floyd Sr. never figured in a world championship fight.
Roger won world titles in two divisions, and fought from 1981 to 1999 to compile a 59-13 record with 35 KOs.
Younger brother Jeff fought from 1988 to 1997, compiled a record of 31-10-5 with 10 knockouts, and was world champion at superfeatherweight.
Carrying the Mayweather brand into his professional career, Floyd Jr. had the edge in name recall compared to most fighters, including Pacquiao.
And Floyd Jr. delivered won more titles than his uncles combined. To date, he has won world titles in five weight divisions, which is no small feat.
Like Pacquiao, Floyd Jr.’s path to bouts that earned him millions of dollars started with Oscar De La Hoya on May 5, 2007. In what could be called a strange twist of fate, Floyd Sr. could have trained De La Hoya but the Golden Boy ended up with Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach.
Floyd Sr. would be part of his son’s training camp for the De La Hoya fight at the initial stages, but it was Roger who was at the corner of Floyd Jr. on fight night.
Floyd Jr. would win via split decision over De La Hoya, and earn $25 million. The Golden Boy went home with $52 million.
Floyd Jr. has since racked up big paychecks from beating fighters at the championship level that included Ricky Hatton, Victor Ortiz, Miguel Cotto, Robert Guerrero, Saul Alvarez and Marcos Maidana (twice). He also beat Juan Manuel Marquez and Shane Mosley in non-title bouts.
His fight against Alvarez on September 14, 2013 was one of the top pay-per view (PPV) generators with 2.2 million buys. That is the second highest PPV count after the De La Hoya-Mayweather fight which generated 2.5 million PPV buys.
Mayweather beat the much younger Alvarez via a majority decision and took home $41.5 million.
On May 2, the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight is expected to shatter the record on PPV buys and payday, with the American guaranteed at least $80 million and the Filipino $60 million.
So when the latest history books on boxing comes out, Floyd Jr. (now 47-0 with 26 KOs) would be mentioned as having figured in three boxing matches that have the highest PPV buys.
By being the part of boxing history’s bouts with the highest PPVs, or three of them, Floyd Jr. can already consider himself a class act. Breaking Marciano’s 49-0 record can make Floyd Jr. the greatest boxer of this era.
Perhaps Floyd Jr. was right in saying he is better than Muhammad Ali.