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20 NOVEMBER 2018

Where am I? Home Columns Paul Upham

Retirement Bombshell is typical Mayweather style

Floyd Mayweather Jr : Doing It His Own Way -
Floyd Mayweather Jr : Doing It His Own Way -

Comment by Paul Upham: Once again, Floyd Mayweather Jr did it all his own way and not just inside the ring where he showed his complete boxing mastery in winning every round against Carlos Baldomir on Saturday night in Las Vegas. The retirement bombshell "Pretty Boy" Floyd dropped at the feet of the media at the post-fight press conference had Mayweather's own style written all over it.

With raw emotion etched on his face and gripping his voice, Mayweather announced that after one more fight, presumably against Oscar De La Hoya in May 2007, at the age of 29, in is prime and at the peak of his powers, he would be hanging up the gloves forever.

Many of the elite boxers have taken notice of the precedent Lennox Lewis set in February 2004, when he walked away from the game as the reigning heavyweight world champion, forever enhancing his reputation. If he doesn't come back, Bernard Hopkins will have achieved the same with his win over Antonio Tarver. De la Hoya himself has been mulling over whether to retire now after his thrilling comeback win over Ricardo Mayorga in May, or lace' em up one more time for a shot at Mayweather.

On Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Mayweather talked about legacy and the desire to retire on top while still at his best. With so many boxers throughout history having fought on many fights too long, you can only admire his reasoning and goal.

While many people have always appreciated his obvious talent, there are many more who have criticised Mayweather for his behaviour outside of the ring. His personal legal troubles, contractual battles and at times outright obnoxious behaviour made people dislike him, regardless of his special talent.

Mayweather's verbal attack on HBO commentator Larry Merchant during their post fight interview after his virtuoso win over Baldomir, was an example of how the five-time world champion in four weight classes cannot understand why people do not universally praise his artistry inside the ring. Genius in many fields is characterised by the individual doing things differently to the rest of us and Mayweather is different to most. From the way he sleeps during the day and runs at 1am in the morning to his burgeoning ego and undeniable self-belief that he can out-box any man on the planet.

Boxers need to enter the ring without the slightest doubt that they can be beaten. Physically and mentally, they are unbreakable. Unfortunately, in some boxers this translates into behaviour outside the boxing ring, which is difficult for others to accept.

To his credit, there is no doubt that Mayweather has taken steps to rebuild his personal reputation in recent times. Some of his earlier actions can be attributed to youth and success at an early age, while others cannot. But at least he is trying to repair some earlier damage and in doing so, helping the less fortunate in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan with food, clothes, toy drives, concerts and skating events.

With a record of 37 wins, 0 losses and 24 knockouts, Floyd Mayweather Jr stands tall today as the best boxer on the planet pound for pound. Even if you do not like the man outside the ring, you have to respect his talent inside of it.

If Mayweather sticks to his word and hangs up his gloves after a super-fight with De La Hoya, who has already indicated that it would be his own swansong battle, it won't only be one of the biggest fights in boxing history, it will be the final performance by two of boxing's best talents. The current pound for pound king and one from the same heritage of the past, who proved to be the 'Golden Boy' of boxing in so many ways.

It will be a sad day for boxing if they both finish together, but the sport was better for having seen them practicing their mastery inside the ring. The old saying goes that you only really fully appreciate something when it is gone. I have no doubt that boxing is going to miss Oscar De La Hoya greatly and maybe, just maybe, more and more people over the years will be missing Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Paul Upham
Contributing Editor

Mayweather unleashes -
Mayweather unleashes -

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