Floyd Mayweather Jr. wants you to know that God doesn’t make mistakes, although you might get an argument on that point today from fans of the Los Angeles Clippers.
“I must be here for a reason,” Mayweather said.
It’s not as TBE. Mayweather’s latest acronym to describe his place in boxing history — The Best Ever — falls short on the reality side of the ledger.
He never has been. He never will be.
He’s more like TBOHE.
The Best of His Era.
Yeah, I know. It doesn’t look as good on a T-shirt or hat, of which The Money Team sells enough to outfit all of Malta.
What you have in Mayweather is a fighter whose career and legacy have both benefited from the period in which it has occurred and suffered from that same time span.
The benefit part is cloaked in the green of hundreds of millions of dollars and that nifty Bugatti Veyron rolling alongside your minivan down I-15.
The suffering part is names such as Marcos Maidana.
I’m sort of hoping Maidana wears the same tuxedo into the ring at the MGM Grand Garden tonight as he did for Wednesday’s news conference, because short of such a bizarre fashion statement, his welterweight unification title fight against Mayweather has all the makings of John Matrix against Bennett.
“Let off some steam” is right.
Mayweather is a 12-1 favorite in a fight hyped as “The Moment,” and I’m guessing those who pay Showtime’s Pay Per View ransom hope it lasts a tad longer.
It is the third of a six-fight contract Mayweather has with Showtime, from which he could, over the course of the deal, make north of $250 million.
That’s a whole lot of fancy sports cars.
A lot flashier than his fights for Showtime have been.
Robert Guerrero might as well have been a real ghost in May 2013. The only chance he had against Mayweather would have been to wear that invisibility cloak from “Harry Potter.” You know it’s a bad fight when the underdog’s father of a main event is more interesting than the fighter.
I miss Ruben Guerrero. I miss true lunatics.
Canelo Alvarez lost a majority decision to Mayweather in September, but the only reason the score was that close is because judge C.J. Ross was is the midst of falling completely off her rocker.
Now, tonight, we get a fighter in Maidana who, while the owner of some impressive upsets over a 35-3 record and all sorts of punching power and a better suit for the prom than your teenage son, is further away from Mayweather’s skill than Las Vegas is from the challenger’s native Argentina.
“He is fighting the best guys available, for the most part,” ESPN boxing writer and commentator Dan Rafael said of Mayweather. “He is just at such a higher level than most of them, he is almost unfairly criticized. There is basically no one in the sport you can put him in with that’s not going to be a fight of 10-1 (odds) or more.
“He stands out in the era when compared to everyone else. Now, of course, the one knock is going to be we have never seen him fight Manny Pacquiao. But I am in the camp that says even if they make that fight in the future, great, but no matter what either guy ever says, it will never be what it could have been in 2010 or 2011, when they were both at their peaks and no one else was close.
“I have all the respect in the world for Floyd, but to say he’s the best ever, I don’t agree. Joe Louis. Muhammad Ali. Sugar Ray Robinson. Floyd can be in the conversation of among the best. Not the best.”
You can’t be considered the best of all time when you have been a part-time fighter the past six years. The more Mayweather piles up wins against good but hardly great opponents and continues making ATM deposits worth more than the Gross Domestic Product of Zimbabwe, the more it seems as if we are witnessing firsthand a greater heist than anything Jesse James did on a train.
I suppose, then, this is boxing at its highest level in 2014: An evening that could generate the largest pay-per-view receipts of the year has a 12-1 favorite who is 45-0 and made more news this week about his insensitive post about an ex-girlfriend on social media than he did for the actual fight.
Tell you what, though. When it comes to hyping a fight no one believes will be much of one, TBOHE and those in his camp sure know how to put lipstick on a pig.
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4618. He can be heard from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on “Gridlock,” ESPN 1100 and 98.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter: @edgraney.