When the announcement came that Floyd Mayweather will next fight Andre Berto on 9 September, the hardcore boxing fan hoped it was a joke.
Self-proclaimed TBE (The Best Ever), also known as ‘Money
’ Mayweather, however, does not joke around.
And that's the sad thing. He is fighting Berto, 31, in September in what Mayweather
, 38, claims will be his last fight.
Surely it’s time to question: in fighting a man that has lost three of his last six fights, consistently fallen short at top level, and been fairly inactive the past 5 years, how can you claim the TBE moniker.
Berto, lost a hell-for-leather fight in 2011 against the usually disinterested Victor Ortiz, who also falls short when the coals get hot.
He also lost convincingly in 2012 to Roberto Guerrero, then lost in his comeback fight to Jesus Soto Karass by KO. Soto himself - judging by his record - losses whenever he fights at world-level.
"Promise you this I'm gonna be as ready as I've ever been. Don't act surprised on 9/12," Berto tweeted.
Berto can be as ready as he likes, and no one will be surprised on 9/12, he simply isn’t good enough to win. The fact that we know this says more about the poor match-up than it does about Mayweather’s brilliance - and he is brilliant.
But, to be the best ever (TBE) you must surely fight the best and most challenging available.
BBC’s boxing commentator Mike Costello put it nicely, saying: ”Mayweather is almost immune to criticism, but he will need all his defensive guile to parry the brickbats heading his way.
"In opting to face Andre Berto he has taken some of the lustre off what he says will be his last appearance in the ring. Berto is a former world champion but now belongs at the bottom end of the world's top 20.”
"Mayweather has spurned more dangerous opposition such as Amir Khan. It is all in a bid to finish with an unblemished record of 49 fights, but even his own father has been critical."
While many-a-fan will counter this angle, and say that Mayweather has “earned the right” to fight whoever the hell he wants, it does provoke the question: shouldn’t ‘TBE’ fight someone that is at least a genuine, if minor, threat?
Where is Kell Brook, Keith Thurman, Amir Khan, or even recent welterweight addition Danny Garcia? These are names that the boxing world were hoping to see opposite Mayweather - and the men he should be beating to claim his silly ego-driven moniker.
Money Mayweather is the much more accurate tag.
Also, Mayweather did have the perfect opportunity to really prove his greatness, that would’ve made the TBE label stick like glue for even the most cynical Mayweather critic.
In squaring off against ‘Kazakh Thunder’ Gennady Golovkin
at a catch weight of 154 pounds - and winning - Mayweather really would’ve sealed the deal.
But that would have be a genuine challenge, and that clearly isn’t what The Best Ever wants.
Let's not confuse things, though, Mayweather is undoubtedly one of the finest boxers of the last 15 years - and he's well-earned this accolade.
But to add some perspective, could Arsenal claim to be the best ever football team with wins in the twilight of the club’s career against second division teams such as Bristol Rovers?
It answers itself.
Mayweather is brilliant - but to claim the TBE moniker above such fine men as Sugar Ray Robinson, Henry Armstrong, Joe Louis, Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, while fighting well-below-par opposition is at best ludicrous.
Muhammad Ali claimed to be The Greatest, and that was well before he climbed through the ropes in the clambering Zaire heat, to KO an exhausted and punched-out George Foreman. Ali made the claim, but he also fought the best, and won even when he was a massive underdog.
What the self-proclaimed TBE is currently doing is making a mockery of the men listed above, and boring boxing fans when he should, and could, be laying concrete to his claim.
If you do fancy betting on a Berto win, you'd be in for a good return should he pull off a win, but still protect your betting losses by signing up to Gambling Deals
- because this time you'll need it