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Will Floyd Mayweather Ever Be Considered the Greatest of All Time?

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COMMENTARY | Witnessing Floyd Mayweather completely dismantle Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero en route to a dominant, albeit uneventful, one-sided unanimous decision on Showtime's replay of the May 4th pay per view brought to the realization one very important thing: Floyd Mayweather had the potential to be the called the greatest boxer of all-time but won't be.

Even at a pristine 44-0 and barely ever being challenged in a professional bout, the dominance Mayweather exudes will always come with a blemish. No matter how white his smile, how extraordinarily large his boxing purses are and no matter who he beats for the rest of his career, Floyd Mayweather will always and forever be criticized for not facing Manny Pacquiao.

It is an unfortunate truth for Mayweather because he is arguably one of the greatest pure talents we have ever seen in the sport. It is also a truth that he will not readily admit. The circumstances surrounding why the two never met in the ring have roots that are far deeper than the naked eye can see. Contrary to popular belief, it is not as simple as one fighter ducking the other. The web of deceit is a rather tangled one that involves a boxing relationship gone bad between Floyd Mayweather and his former promoter Bob Arum (who currently promotes Pacquiao) and the segregation between Golden Boy Promotions and Arum's Top Rank promotions where fighters can only do battle with those within their promotion. Egos and money have forever tainted the sport and because of that, we have been robbed of the greatest boxing spectacle since Ali-Frazier.

The gravity of the situation came to fruition as Mayweather laid waste to Guerrero with precision punching and superior defense. Prior to boxing's pound for pound king squaring off with a tough but relatively unknown opponent, the sport had seen the wind taken from its sails once Manny Pacquiao was put to sleep by one devastating punch courtesy of Juan Manuel Marquez last December. As Pacquiao lay motionless on the canvas, the reality that Mayweather vs. Pacquiao would never happen slowly set in. But it was when Floyd Mayweather fights lacked purpose aside from padding his own prestigious record the we realized just how perfect of a foil Pacquiao once was to Mayweather.

Without anything to look forward to, Mayweather fights lack the same anticipation they once had and it is hard to visualize an opponent that can set the stage for a pay per view event that will rival Mayweather-De La Hoya or Mayweather-Cotto. According to reports, the PPV numbers for Mayweather-Guerrero were good, just not good enough. Nevertheless, a Mayweather fight is still an event, it just won't be the type of event that will have non-boxing fans sweating in anticipation. The only thing to look forward to was the possibility that perhaps Mayweather would lose a step and fall victim to deterioration due to age.

It's truly a sad day when Floyd Mayweather's biggest nemesis is whether his body will betray him.

But after two rounds of calculating distance, speed and angles, Mayweather did what he always does and surgically picked apart Guerrero. Once the reality set in that Guerrero was no match for Mayweather, the 15,000 fans inside of the arena began to boo lustfully at the action, or lack thereof. Guerrero winged punches and lurched forward as Mayweather danced away and smacked Guerrero with his straight right hand for good measure. It was clear that Mayweather wasn't going to knockout Guerrero and fans began to exit in the middle of the 10th round.

It wasn't so much that the fight was boring, but it was the fact that Mayweather is on another level than his boxing peers and the outcomes stop just short of being preordained. Couple that with the fact that there is literally nobody aside from the youthful Saul "Canelo" Alvarez left for Mayweather to fight and you are looking at a fighter who will never truly be able to prove just how great he really is. He will be a victim of his own stubbornness to give fans what they want over treating the sport like a business and robbing boxing fans of some captivating match ups.

For the next 30 months and five fights left on his Showtime contract and, presumably, his career, we will be left watching glorified sparring sessions as Mayweather sweeps away all opponents that come his way. There is no fighter that will leave us wondering "what if?" like Pacquiao did. To be frank, the biggest foe for Mayweather is Father Time and whenever he ultimately decides to wreak havoc on Mayweather's startlingly quick reflexes. Pacquiao represented everything that Mayweather wasn't both in and out of the ring. While Mayweather is surgically precise, Pacquiao is a typhoon of anvils lunging at inhumane speeds. Manny Pacquiao lives with the saying "taking his kindness as a weakness" to a fault. Mayweather is the well known pompous jerk that will remind you how rich he is either with his conversation or his actions. They were meant to face each other, but alas they won't, and the mere sliver of hope held out that they will meet was dashed last December and buried on May 4.

Pacquiao will look to redeem himself on November 24 in Macau, China against the heavy handed Brandon Rios while Mayweather will struggle to find an opponent worthy of his (and our) time. Although the eye test tells you that Mayweather should be considered among the greatest pugilists of all-time, he will be relegated to his era simply because the competition wasn't stiff enough and the one opponent that could have cemented his legacy was lost due to nasty behind the scenes business practices. Even if they fought today, the fact that Pacquiao has been defeated will taint what could have been the richest fight in the history of the sport.

The all-time greats aren't gauged by their ability, but the ability of their opposition and how they overcome those challenges. Muhammad Ali had Joe Frazier and George Foreman; Michael Jordan had Magic Johnson and the Detroit Pistons; Roger Federer had Rafael Nadal; And Floyd Mayweather has...Floyd Mayweather.

Without there being a challenger in the sport that we believe will give Mayweather a run for his money, he will always be the fighter whose accomplishments will be accompanied by a naysayer that will say "he didn't fight Manny Pacquiao."

And they are right.

Andreas Hale lives in the fight capital of the world and has covered the sport for mainstream media outlets such as MTV.com and Jay-Z's LifeandTimes.com, as well as die-hard websites including FightNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter (@AndreasHale).

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