I have long been a Floyd Mayweather, Jr., supporter, arguing very hard against those that would question his place as the sport's No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter.
But with the sport moving so quickly and several fighters making their cases with great performances, how long can a halfway-relevant participant like Mayweather really hold on to his spot?
I'm not saying that Floyd isn't the most talented or most gifted fighter in the game today. I very much believe he is. But he is a money fighter now -- nothing more than that. Mayweather's plans are to fight Oscar de la Hoya in an event that will prove nothing about anyone sans a big Oscar upset, and is in talks to pursue a beyond pointless rematch against Ricky Hatton in 2009.
Why take these fights? Money, says Floyd and his team. And that's a bullshit excuse, too.
Floyd should be fighting Miguel Cotto. This is not a Tony Margarito situation, where Mayweather got a good payday to fight the welterweight champion, Carlos Baldomir. Cotto right now is a bigger star than Margarito has ever been, and Floyd is a pay-per-view and house draw all on his own now. He is arguably the biggest star in the sport and its most recognizable face, even moreso than Oscar.
So if it's money, there isn't a legitimate problem here. Mayweather-Cotto would do big bucks on pay-per-view, would get mainstream coverage, and would sell out Madison Square Garden in a heartbeat. What more can you ask than that?
Floyd's taking easy fights that he's already won while the boxing world moves along without him. We're going to be updating our pound-for-pound rankings next week after Hopkins-Calzaghe, and I think it warrants serious consideration: Is Floyd truly No. 1 anymore? He has no intention of fighting the best opposition available. Meanwhile, guys like Cotto, Pacquiao, Calzaghe and Hopkins have been doing just that. Even Hopkins as a once-a-year fighter is fighting tougher competition than Mayweather plans to.
It's a question that has no real answer, but I'm having trouble coming up with good ways to justify the idea of Floyd deserving to be ranked as the best in the game, because he's just not playing the same game as the other guys.