Floyd Mayweather Retired? So What!

By Ralph Rimpel
Updated: July 16, 2008

NEW YORK — There comes a time in every professional boxer’s career when he or she decides to leave the sport. It’s usually because of two many losses or for fear of getting seriously hurt.

A few have accomplished all their professional goals, secured their legacy, and retire on their terms. Those of us who follow the sport of boxing know who Floyd Mayweather Jr. (39-0, 25 KO’s) is and what he has accomplished in his career.

This is a fighter who has won five world championships in as a many weight classes. He was fearless fighter in the 130lb and 135lb division beating the best the division had to offer.

He defeated, in spectacular fashion, fighters such as Genaro Hernandez, Diego Corrales, and Jose Luis Castillo before moving up to the higher weights. He captured a title in the 140 and 154-pound divisions before finally settling in the 147-pound division.

For these reasons he was eventually classified as “Pound for Pound” the best fighter in the world. What classifies a fighter as “Pound for pound” best in the world? At this current time there is no official definition as to what that means. Generally the consensus in the boxing community is this is the best fighter in all of boxing.

In my opinion, the fighter with this title possesses very good boxing skills, speed, excellent reflexes, good stamina, punching power, fearlessness, etc. This is a fighter who knows how to put on a good show for the paying public. He will seek out or accept the challenge of the best possible fighters in his weight class.

He will also give the fans the fights they want to see. Former boxing greats such as Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, and Thomas Hearns were not considered “Pound for Pound” the best when they were active fighters, but they fought the best available competition.

Case in point, Sugar Ray Leonard fought the feared Thomas Hearns. Marvin Hagler also fought the feared Thomas Hearns, and De La Hoya fought hard hitting Ike Quartey. In all these three fights, either fighter whether champion or opponent could have lost or won. The point is these fighters were willing to take the risk in order to make boxing fans happy.

Fight fans and the media had hoped if Mayweather were to defeat De la Hoya in their rematch, he would give the fight fans the matches that we wanted to see, which was Mayweather-Cotto, Mayweather-Margarito, and/or Mayweather-Williams. Instead of making these fights happen, Mayweather abruptly retired from the sport that has made him millions and relatively famous.

Many are not taking his recent announcement of retirement seriously. Perhaps it is a negotiating ploy to gain parity with De La Hoya for their proposed rematch. If by some chance his retirement is genuine, does it really matter?

About five years ago many boxing critics had said Boxing was on the decline because of all the mismatches, controversial decisions, unfair politics, lack of cooperation between competing networks, etc.

It seems that Boxing had made a comeback because of fighters like Pacquio, De La Hoya, and Mayweather to name a few. Mayweather and De La Hoya’s fight which was the richest grossing prizefight of all time seems to have cemented Boxing comeback as a mainstream sport.

Pay Per view boxing sales will support that. Does Boxing need Mayweather to maintain its comeback and new found popularity, absolutely not? Mayweather is only hurting himself by staying away from boxing.

Someone has to remind him that he hasn’t stopped traffic at airports like Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Miguel Cotto (in Puerto Rico), and Felix Trinidad (in Puerto Rico). That will never happen unless he comes out of retirement and does something to change that. He will also soon fade from the memory of boxing fans.

Should he decide to come out of retirement, Boxing fans and the media will welcome him with open arms. If he should decide to make his retirement permanent, Boxing will continue to thrive without Mayweather. Fighters like Pacquio, Campbell, Margarito, Calzaghe, Pavlik, Cotto, and Cunningham to name a few will give the public the fights they yearn for.

Boxing will only get bigger and better. Who knows, we may soon see boxing back on free network television. Mayweather says he’s retired? So What! If Mayweather were giving us the fights that we wanted to see, then it would really matter.