Danny Hall Column: Fancy Floyd Mayweather will go down in history, not necessarily for his boxing

Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, and Manny Pacquiao
Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, and Manny Pacquiao
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Floyd Mayweather Jr. called himself ‘Money’, until he decided to upgrade to ‘TBE - or The Best Ever.

Arguably one of the most high-profile sportsmen on the planet, his narcissism seemingly knows no bounds and his social media pages are awash with boastful pictures of cars, private jets and cold, hard cash.

There is every chance that he will go down in history, especially if he extends his remarkable record to 48-0 when he faces Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas this weekend.

It is also equally likely that the 38-year-old will be best remembered for his exploits out of the ring, rather than inside it.

His $35m fleet of cars and private jets hit the headlines this week. His mouthguard, which will protect his chops from Pacquiao’s jab on Saturday, cost $25,000. But, in a time when we bemoan our sporting heroes for any perceived lack of individuality and character, is it really such an issue?

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To some, it appears so. Many want Manny to knock the bold, brash American off his perch, perceiving the God-loving, clean-living Filipino as the archetypal hero against Mayweather’s bad-boy ‘villian’ character.

That certainly seems to be the consensus, even here in Las Vegas; where not even a two-week stay in the MGM Grand could secure this columnist a $1,500 ticket as they sold out in less than a minute.

Yet it is important to remember that Pacquiao’s own copybook has its own blots, too; reports suggest he is being investigated over a large unpaid tax bill, and suggestions of extra-marital affairs and gambling problems have dogged him over the years.

The fight is far from the ‘Good-versus-Evil’ match-up that Pacquiao’s camp have been promoting. But to many, devout Christian and future Phillipines president Pacquiao is the chalk to Mayweather’s cheese. Their vastly-different lifestyles and tactics make for an interesting pre-fight narrative but will count for very little on Saturday when they, finally, get in that ring.

Mayweather, despite his extravagance, is far from a huge entertainer and Saturday’s fight may not prove to be a classic. The hometown favourite’s naturally cautious style has brought him this far and, despite the best goading efforts of Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer, he is unlikely to abandon it now.

The Filipino instead must find a way around Mayweather’s shoulder roll defence, which expertly protects his head and body. The likes of Oscar de la Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto have all tried.

And all failed.

Mayweather does not overpower opponents. By and large, he doesn’t bring the crowd to their feet. Instead, he uses ringcraft and nous to grind down his foes and confidently pick them off. And it works. His record is proof of that.

Mayweather, the man, may be far from your cup of tea. But Floyd the fighter will go down as one of the best there has ever been. Even if that doesn’t sound quite as snappy on a t-shirt.

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Floyd Mayweather Jr. was born in Michigan in 1977 and - perhaps aptly, for someone who rose from almost nothing to become a beacon of excess and extravagance - now calls Las Vegas his home.

His father Floyd Sr. once fought Sugar Ray Leonard, and uncle Roger was a two-time champion at different weights. So Mayweather always had boxing in the blood; legend says he was learning to box before he was learning to walk.

But his story is tinged with struggle.

His father used to sell drugs; his mother took them. His aunt died of AIDS and he was forced to share a cramped apartment with seven relatives.

“The last time I checked, this is what the American dream is,” Mayweather said three years ago.

“Who doesn’t want to be rich and make this kind of money?

“They told me when I was growing up that dreams come true.