Close but no cigar

Kyle Riviere @kyleR_sports
Weekly Citizen Sports Editor Kyle Riviere

It was vintage Floyd Mayweather Jr. in his last fight.

He didn't wow anyone with his power. There were no knockdowns or knockouts, but he thoroughly out-boxed Robert Guerrero, was in complete control from start to finish and threw speedy and amazingly-precise punches all night--landing 60 percent of his power shots.

The end result was yet another win by unanimous decision--stretching his overall record now to a perfect 44-0. And for the most part, those 44 wins came with relative ease.

The runaway victory is surely nothing to scoff at--especially when you consider Mayweather is now 36--which is pretty long in the tooth when it comes to boxing--and it was after a whole year away from the ring.

Like the aftermath of every Mayweather fight, the discussion has heated up regarding his greatness and overall legacy in the sport.

There is no doubt that Mayweather is the greatest pound-for-pound fighter of the modern era. But when it comes to the title of greatest fighter of all time, he's still not there.

He's had a wide-spread career that has seen him dominate every opponent he has faced, but there are really two things that prevent him from even being considered one of the top 10 greatest fighters of all time.

For one, he has never really had the signature fight that everyone instantly remembers when his name is brought up. The only bout that comes to mind would have to be his battle with an aging Oscar de la Hoya.

That was probably the most hyped and anticipated fight of the past 10 years, and it was a great bout at that. De la Hoya pushed Floyd like no one else had before--ultimately losing a split decision.

Floyd's lack of signature fights goes hand-in-hand with the second reason why it's hard to rank him in the top 10 or 20 of greatest fighters of all time. He just hasn't had the competition that many of the all-time greats have had.

Sure, he has beaten guys like De la Hoya, Shane Mosley and Arturo Gatti. But that resume pails in comparison to the resumes of boxing's all-time kings like: Sugar Ray Robinson, Mohammad Ali, Joe Louis, Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler.

That's not Floyd's fault; he can only fight who is available to fight. But then again, it's totally his fault when it comes to Manny Pacquiao.

Mayweather may always be remembered for going undefeated, but there is also a great chance he'll always be remembered for the fight he didn't make.

For years and years, the boxing world was clamoring for a super-fight with Pacquiao but for years and years, Mayweather danced his way out of it like he does opponents in the ring.

First, he said he wouldn't fight Pacquiao unless he agreed to have his blood tested for steroids the day of the fight. After a while, Pacquiao finally agreed to it.

Next, Floyd said he wouldn't fight Pacquiao unless he took less than 50 percent of the gate. Pacquiao agreed to those terms but still, Floyd refused to close the deal.

Personally, I don't think Mayweather was afraid Pacquiao was going to hurt him. I just think he now looks at his undefeated record like the Holy Grail, and he was scared to death of losing and getting that first "L." After all, Pacquiao would have been the biggest challenge he had ever faced.

However, he never accepted that challenge and now, it's too late. After seeing Pacquiao get knocked out cold in his last fight to Juan Manuel Marquez, it's obvious his best days are now past.

Even if the fight was to happen in the future, it wouldn't have close to the luster and significance that it would have had three years ago.

And that's a major blow to Mayweather's legacy as an all-time great. A win over Pacquiao three years ago would have not only given him that second signature fight of his career, but his name would have sky-rocketed up the list of boxing royalty.

That's why, sometimes, it's not about who you fight; it's about who you don't fight.