‘Money’ can bow out as best

Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, hits Manny Pacquiao, from the Philippines, during their welterweight title fight on Saturday, May 2, 2015 in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, hits Manny Pacquiao, from the Philippines, during their welterweight title fight on Saturday, May 2, 2015 in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

There aren’t many boxers as well qualified to rank the greatest fighters of all-time as five-division world champion Floyd Mayweather.

But that doesn’t mean they can’t question the 38-year-old’s controversial picks after polarising pugilist Muhammed Ali was omitted from the top four.

Typically, with an ego the size of Saturn, Mayweather placed himself at the top of the tree with Robert Duran, Phernell Whitaker and Julio Cesar Chavez all following on before Ali was even considered.

There was no space for Mike Tyson, Joe Frazier, Sugar Ray Robinson, Henry Armstrong, Sugar Ray Leonard or Rocky Marciano.

Clitheroe’s Commonwealth super-middleweight champion Luke Blackledge feels the head of the “Money Team” fully warrants his position in the top five, but feels other fighters belong higher up the ladder.

The 25-year-old, with 19 wins from 23 contests, inducted one-time welterweight and middleweight world champion Sugar Ray Leonard as number one on his list while the great Cassius Clay, the “people’s Champion”, was enrolled in second spot. Tyson then followed in third, Mayweather fourth while Steve Collins was a surprise entry at five.

“Mayweather is a class fighter,” said Blackledge.

“He’s been dominant throughout his career, he’s beaten everyone and what he’s achieved is incredible.

“When he retires he’ll go down as one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters of all time.

“You only have to look at what he did to opponents like Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Saul Alvarez and Manny Pacquiao to gauge just how good he is.

“He’s made great fighters look ordinary. He just sticks to his fight plans so well and makes people look average.”

Mayweather equals Marciano’s record of 49-0-0 with victory over Andre Berto at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on September 12th, with the 147lb king vowing to walk away from boxing in the aftermath.

But Blackledge feels Mayweather has the opportunity to walk away as the ‘greatest’ by taking on Pacquiao or Khan to take his professional record to 50 wins without blemish.

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman recently unveiled that a match up between the aforementioned pair would be sanctioned as a final eliminator.

The victor would then be mandated to face Mayweather should he stave off retirement to extend his career.

“If he beats Berto then he has to fight the winner of Pacquiao and Khan,” said Blackledge.

“Mayweather can’t keep going forever but this is a chance for him to bow out as the world’s greatest ever boxer.

“Beating Pacquiao again or overcoming Khan would confirm that.

“He can go out on a high by beating one of them. I think he beats Pacquiao again but Khan has got the speed to cause him a few nightmares.

“Mayweather would get past him but I think it would be a tough fight.”

Blackledge added: “As an athlete you want to be the best. I can’t see Mayweather settling for second best.

“If he wins one more after Berto he beats Marciano’s record.

“He’s a winner so he’ll want to beat that record.

“He won’t just want to equal it. I’d imagine we’ll see him fight again.”