During the build-up for tonight’s Shane Mosley v. Floyd Mayweather welterweight PPV spectacle, the reliably verbose Mayweather pronounced himself a superior fighter to Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson. If Floyd meant Ali at this very moment, I’d have to agree with him, but assuming he was referring to the former Cassius Clay in his prime, The Guardian’s Kevin Mitchell (no relation to the notorious ex-Met/former NL MVP) proposes this is “the sort of hubris that often precedes a fall.”
Mayweather, unbeaten in 40 fights and ungracious in 33 years of living, will discover that, while his own perception of his place in boxing history is exalted, Mosley alone shares with Manny Pacquiao the ability to stretch him to the limit. It is a place he has rarely been.
Mosley, in defeat, will give Floyd’s ego and his skills a nightmare examination over the whole 12 rounds. He might even put him down “ and that would raise an almighty cheer, near and far. Mayweather ought to be humbled by the experience.
For too long, however, “Money May” has treated boxing as a fiefdom rather than a place of work. He has little respect for other fighters, even those near to him in ability. And respect is the first virtue a young boxer learns when he walks into a gym. Without that perspective, a boxer at any level is drawn into habits and thinking that lead to destruction: over-confidence; arrogance; laziness. Nobody is immune.