D. Gulley for The Shop Report
If you think TBE is not going for fifty, come on, you’ve got it all wrong man (phrasing loosely based on the aptly titled song “The Denial Twist” by The White Stripes). TBE – the abbreviation of The Best Ever – is another name for Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather, and like the title of the song suggests, Mayweather and his fans are in absolute denial that he would end his career at 49-0…
TBE is not the Greatest – So Says Mayweather
TBE – The Best Ever – Floyd Mayweather’s self-proclaimed other nickname, was birthed out of necessity to separate himself from The Greatest boxer (arguably) of all time, or our time – Muhammad Ali. The idea of Muhammad Ali’s being considered ‘The Greatest’ is a much about Ali the champion pugilist as it was about Muhammad Ali the man, who parlayed his public persona to raise awareness and influence cultural change like few other sports figures have since (such as Arthur Ashe, Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson). Ali ‘The Greatest, championed a 56-5 professional record through social injustice the likes of which few modern champions have ever heard of and no other will ever experience. With that in mind, The Best Ever is still distinct because of its focus strictly confined to the sweet science…
The Best Ever calibrates the Compubox the way one would zero out a scale before weighing items. He can’t be hit, and you can’t avoid his hits. Combat sport fans lust for the knockout leaves them dissatisfied with the manner of clean, consistent punches that Mayweather has landed on his competition. The fact that he doesn’t have more knockouts is because he’s realized that going or the knockout – always – makes you vulnerable to defeat. Reference Hugo Ruiz v Julio Ceja or Manny Paquiao’s last fight against Juan Manuel Marquez. In each case, the fighter in danger was the one delivering the damage but could not seal the deal. Mayweather can lay claim to TBE in part because he understands this, therefore he makes sure that each and every punch counts; knockout be damned.
Cherry picking is a sweet science in itself albeit highly unpopular within any major fanbase; and Mayweather fans are huge in number but still smaller than the overall boxing fanbase. The majority hates the idea of cherry picking but being champion should afford one the privilege because the picking was done for them as a challenger. Though cherry-pickers shouldn’t be ridiculed, the equal opportunity champions should deserve extra credit for taking on any and all challengers. Now that Mayweather picked Andre Berto, we see evidence of an eroding fan base given the lukewarm response and anticipation to the upcoming bout, the last of Mayweather’s 6 fight deal with Showtime. But before plummeting the stock of TBE, take a look at the other five fights of the deal: Manny Pacquiao, Marcos Maidana (twice), Canelo Alvarez, and Robert Guerrero. Each of the fighters brought titles to the ring that left with Mayweather. While titles aren’t what they used to be, they still remain a measure of the class of fighter that makes a champion. Looking further back, the bout before the Showtime deal was against one Mr. Miguel Cotto, probably the most challenging fight for Mayweather in the last decade. Cotto surrendered his WBC belt to Mayweather in this fight. By now a trend should be established, Mayweather has beaten more world champions than any fighter on record. So it shouldn’t matter if one is cherry picking the ripest fruit. [full disclosure, in a previous piece I chastised Mayweather on this tactic, I stand slightly corrected now]
Rocky Marciano – the OTHER undefeated champion
‘The Brooklyn Blockbuster’ had a professional record of 49-0, including KO’s against Archie Moore, Jersey Joe Walcott, and Joe Louis (though it was the last fight of Louis’ 18 year career). It appears obvious that Rocky Marciano’s record remains in a time and place where undefeated records aren’t hallowed, as it’s not mentioned with Floyd’s undefeated record as much as it could be. But TBE knows it’s there. Assuming a win against Berto, there will be two undefeated champions in history, both Mayweather and Marciano. The effort to separate The Best Ever from ‘The Greatest’, is pointless if the body of work will end up synonymous with another great fighter. It’s not Mayweather like to be similar to anyone, and the difference will come at either a defeat (highly unlikely) or a pair of wins; the first of which may come against Andre Berto on September 12th. Alas, the only way to make Mayweather’s 49-0 different from Marciano’s 49-0 is to make it 50-0. And I certainly look forward to Floyd ‘TBE’ Mayweather separating himself from the other greats in history.