LAS VEGAS (WOOD) — Floyd Mayweather Jr. has spent most of his career telling anyone who’ll listen how good he is.
In 1998, after winning his first world championship, he told 24 Hour News 8 Sports Director Jack Doles, “I’m the best fighter in the world.”
Fast forward 17 years later. He’s still undefeated professionally and the pound-for-pound king of boxing. He wears a shirt that reads “TBE” when he works out — it stands for “the best ever.” He has claimed to be better than boxing icon Muhammad Ali.
His Saturday bout against Manny Pacquiao may be his most anticipated fight ever.
“Every fight is extremely important for my legacy. All 47. One fight don’t define my legacy,” Mayweather said Wednesday.
It may not make a legacy, but it can break one.
“It’s the legacy fight, no doubt about it,” Dan Rafael, an ESPN boxing writer, said. “He can say he’s TBE all he wants, but if you lose this fight, you’re definitely not TBE.”
With a 47-0 record, Mayweather is two wins away from equaling the mark set by Rocky Marciano.
“He says he’s number one of all time. Most people disagree with him,” Yahoo Sports writer Kevin Iole said. “I did a poll of experts on Yahoo Sports and Floyd came in 19th of all time. Manny was 22nd. I think he could boost up if he wins.”
That brings up another point: Is Mayweather the best boxer to hail from Grand Rapids? Stanley Ketchel’s name is ahead of Mayweather’s on several lists of all-time boxing greats.
“I will say this: For a small town like Grand Rapids, it’s nice to have two all-time greats from the same place. That’s how I would look at it,” Rafael said.