After Manny Pacquiao's razor-thin majority decision victory over Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday, the thought amongst many was that Floyd Mayweather would be the heavy favorite against Pacquiao if the two superstars ever finally met. We've since found out that Top Rank will seek a fourth fight with Marquez before looking to finally hammer out a deal with Mayweather (if ever), while Mayweather will now be forced to find another opponent for his reserved May 5, 2012 date at the MGM Grand.
But in the second part of an interview with Fight Hype's Ben Thompson, when asked about Pacquiao's trouble with Marquez's counterpunching ability, Mayweather claimed he's the greatest counterpuncher who ever lived.
"I'm just saying that, you know, if he's having a problem with Marquez, I mean, Marquez is a good counterpuncher, but I'm the best ever to do it."
In the past, Mayweather has also questioned Pacquiao's rise to the top of pound-for-pound lists, and of course has specualted about the use of performance enhancing drugs. In this interview, Mayweather tries to circumvent the steroid stance, citing Pacquiao's lack of a distinguished amateur background.
Mayweather continued, referring to himself in the third person:
"When Mayweather was dominating the sport, Marquez was also dominating way back when. Marquez didn't just pop up out of the blue. A majority of the great ones all went to the Olympics, American fighters and other fighters that come from other countries...All these guys had went to the Olympics and they knew these guys were something special from the beginning. I mean, it's hard for me to just know that a guy can go from a C+ fighter to an A+ fighter."
Essentially Mayweather, in his last line of this quote, is still insinuating that Pacquiao is a user even though he doesn't come out and flatly say it. There are plenty of great fighters who didn't fight in the Olympics or have decorated amateur careers. You don't have to look too far down the pound-for-pound rankings to find another, Sergio Martinez. It'd be interesting to hear Mayweather's take on Martinez, who took up the sport of boxing comparitively late in life and only became a universally recognized top fighter in the past two of three years, in his mid-thirties.
Whether or not Mayweather is indeed the best counterpuncher who ever lived it seems likely, given Marquez's success against Pacquiao, that an in-form Mayweather would present a very tough challenge for Manny. You can't just use the logic that since Mayweather waxed Marquez, he'd do the same to Pacquiao; boxing doesn't work that way. But Manny's camp is admitting that he has trouble with counterpunchers, and whether or not Floyd is the best ever, he's a darn good one.
The full interview, both parts, are an entertaining read (as usual for Mayweather, like or dislike him). He also not surprisingly criticizes HBO's announcers but even went as far as calling Emanuel Steward an "Uncle Tom".
Of course we shouldn't really be shocked at anything that comes out of Mayweather's mouth at this point.