http://www.atlantablackstar.com has it right!
Over his reign in boxing, Floyd Mayweather has made more money than anyone, beaten everyone in his path—rather convincingly, too—and crafted a legacy as one of the sport’s greatest boxers. No doubt about it.
But some of Mayweather’s success is a product of the times. In other words, much of his competition was not exactly Hall of Fame material. Conversely, in the 1980s, one of boxing’s prime decades, there were five boxers who would have handled Mayweather rather easily if he had competed in their era or they in his.
Sugar Ray Leonard, who was the first boxer to procure more than $100 million in career earnings, was the entire package and would have stopped Mayweather. He was just as spectacular a defender, with an iron chin and knockout power, and he had a mean streak. Check it: Leonard won titles in five weight classes and defeated International Boxing Hall of Famers Wilfredo Benitez, Tommy Hearns, Robert Duran and Marvin Hagler. Who else can say that?
Marvin Hagler was the undisputed middleweight champion for eight years. He fought at 159 pounds, which was around the weight Mayweather was when he defeated Canelo Alvarez Saturday night. Hagler was an underrated boxer who would have cut off the ring and pounded Mayweather into submission.
Thomas Hearns, the 6-foot-1 aptly nicknamed “The Hitman” and “Motor City Cobra,” was considered a freak to be that tall and skinny, to fight as a welterweight and yet provide some of the most resounding knockouts in boxing history. His speed, reach and accuracy with his left jab and power would have dismantled Mayweather.
Roberto Duran might have quit against Sugar Ray Leonard in their rematch, staining his reputation, but “The Hands of Stone” was as crafty a defender as Mayweather, with more power and more aggression. Duran would have roughed up today’s best pound-for-pound and pounded him to a decision victory.
Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker against Mayweather would have been an intriguing matchup, but perhaps boring because both men would avoid hits and would be effective, but not overpowering punchers. Whitaker, an International Boxing Hall of Famer, won the welterweight and light middleweight championships. Whitaker was more stylish, flashy and significantly, a lefty, and in a close match, would have out-pointed Mayweather.
True when they say, “boxing just isn’t what it used to be”.