With a victory on Sunday morning, Mayweather will improve to 46-0, the same mark held by Joe Calzaghe, who next month will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Americans love watching record chases. Even though Barry Bonds was a pariah and considered a cheater by most when he finally zeroed in on Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record, the nation was glued to the chase.
Reporters followed Bonds from city to city, ready to chronicle the history-making blow.
It was the same when Cal Ripken surpassed Lou Gehrig’s mark for consecutive games played, as it was when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was going after Wilt Chamberlain’s NBA career record for points.
There is little such hubbub surrounding Floyd Mayweather’s perfect record, however, even though he’s in the stretch run of an epic career. Maybe it says something about boxing’s place in the American sporting landscape.
Maybe it’s that Mayweather isn’t really chasing a record and doesn’t have any shot whatsoever at getting one. Or maybe it’s that Mayweather is so good, so dominant, that it’s become boring. But one of the greatest fighters of all-time is 45-0 and facing what he says are the final four bouts of his career. On Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden, Mayweather will face Marcos Maidana in a WBA and WBC welterweight title match.
It’s a big match by virtue of Mayweather’s celebrity – a reporter from Entertainment Tonight was at his media day last week – but the anticipation for this fight is low when judged on the Mayweather scale.
The interest this time appears much more sedate, like it was for his bout with Robert Guerrero than it was for matches against the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Canelo Alvarez and Miguel Cotto, when there was legitimate excitement cascading across the sporting landscape.
Mayweather has shot up to as much as a minus-1200 favorite, which indicates that bettors believe Maidana has almost no chance.
And let’s be honest: He doesn’t. Maidana isn’t in Mayweather’s league, nor will he ever be.
That doesn’t mean it’s impossible for him to win. If Maidana has one forte, it is punching power, and though it has been virtually impossible for anyone to catch Mayweather cleanly with the kind of power shot it will take to put him out for the 10-count, Maidana hits hard enough to do it if he connects.
The likelihood of him connecting, though, is slim, and it seems everyone realizes it.
The record for longest perfect record from the start of a career in boxing is held by Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., who won his first 87 bouts. Chavez turned pro in 1980 and his record wasn’t marred until a draw (that should have been a loss) with Pernell Whitaker on Sept. 10, 1993.
Hall of Famer Jimmy Wilde drew in his third pro fight, but didn’t lose until his 95th match when he was beaten by Tancy Lee in 1915.
Wilde, though, never had a shot at the record because of that early draw.
With a victory on Saturday, Mayweather will improve to 46-0, the same mark held by Joe Calzaghe, who next month will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Calzaghe retired after going 46-0, though he gets little respect in the U.S. He fought most of his career away from the spotlight and didn’t have many defining fights.