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Monday, April 26, 2010

Mayweather eager to pad his legacy

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You need not be a boxing fan to know that Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a special talent.

Just look at the record, and pay attention to the right side of the ledger.

Mayweather is 40-0, and that 0 looms bigger and bigger with each fight the 33-year-old, six-time world champion takes on. But as he prepares for what many believe is his biggest test yet when he faces Shane Mosley on Saturday in a 12-round welterweight showdown at the MGM Grand Garden, Mayweather's focus isn't on perfection.

"I don't think about the 0," Mayweather said. "I think about winning. Everything takes care of itself if you win."

Several fighters went through their careers unscathed, most notably heavyweight Rocky Marciano, who was 49-0 during a career which spanned 1947 to 1955. More recently, super middleweight and light heavyweight Joe Calzaghe left the sport 46-0. However, Calzaghe, who retired in 2008, is considering a return to the ring.

Yet Mayweather, a student of boxing history, claims he's not obsessing over finishing his career without a blemish.

"Of course it's a great thing to be undefeated," Mayweather said. "But I don't consciously think about it when I'm preparing for the next fight."

His father, Floyd Mayweather Sr., said: "No one wants to lose their 0. I'm sure he thinks about it, and it motivates him. Fortunately for my son, it's so far, so good, and I don't see anyone taking that 0 away from him."

His son is quick to point out that some of boxing's legendary figures did not go undefeated.

"Sugar Ray Robinson lost. Muhammad Ali lost," Mayweather said. "They're still great fighters, aren't they?"

On the HBO reality television series "24/7," Mayweather recently boasted he was better than Ali and Robinson. He stood by his statements of a week ago.

"Why not?" he said. "I take my hat off to them. I've got respect for Sugar Ray Robinson. I've got respect for Muhammad Ali. But I'm a man like they're men. I put on my pants just like they put on their pants. What makes them any better than I am? Because they fought a thousand fights?

"In my era, it's totally different. It's pay per view now, so things change. It's out with the old and in with the new. Like I said, Muhammad Ali is one hell of a fighter. But Floyd Mayweather is the best. Sugar Ray Robinson is one hell of a fighter. But Floyd Mayweather is the best."

Mayweather likes to say about his legacy that 40 fighters all had a game plan to defeat him and none have succeeded. He doesn't see why 38-year-old Mosley, who is 46-5 with 39 knockouts, would be any different.

"Shane's talented," said Mayweather, who has 25 knockouts. "But I'm gifted. God-gifted. I don't have to shut nobody up. They can say what they want to say. I fight for me and my family."

And his legacy.

Mayweather is considered one of the greatest defensive fighters of all time. His ability to avoid getting hit and effectively counterpunch has allowed him to remain perfect in the ring. His recent 21-month hiatus from boxing didn't seem to hurt him. He was flawless in beating Juan Manuel Marquez on Sept. 19 at the Grand Garden.

But Mayweather has had a couple of close calls during his 15-year career. His 2007 win over Oscar De La Hoya was a 12-round split decision. His rematch against Jose Luis Castillo in 2002 that he won by unanimous decision had him winning by just two points on two of the judges' scorecards.

Yet he remains undefeated, and he doesn't allow thoughts of "What if?" to creep inside his head.

"I take every fight seriously," Mayweather said. "Shane Mosley is a solid welterweight with great accomplishments. But I have been fighting these kinds of fighters my whole career without much appreciation. No one gives me credit for who I have fought during my career.

"From early to now, look at the opponents I have faced and see where they were when they faced me in the ring."

But when Mayweather was asked to rate his best performances, he declined.

"I don't rate myself," he said. "I just go out and do my job. I'm a harsh critic of myself. I always think I could have done better."

Yet he believes facing Mosley on Saturday will grow his legacy rather than merely preserving it.

"Every fight at this point is about enhancing it," Mayweather said. "I've done a lot of things in this sport. I've done a lot of things that a lot of fighters weren't able to do in this sport and didn't do in this sport.

"Shane Mosley's been around this sport for a long, long time, and he's done some things in this sport. I think with Shane Mosley, it's going to enhance my legacy."

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