Floyd Mayweather Junior is already a legend in his own mind, and now he wants the world to know that he’s even better than Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson.
In a recent interview with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, the outspoken pugilist said that “no one can ever brainwash me to make me believe that Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali were better than me.”
He was gracious enough to acknowledge his respect for the veteran fighters, though.
"But one thing I will [say]: I’m going to take my hat off to those guys and respect those guys because those are the guys that paved the way for me,” Mayweather said.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 20, 2015
Despite his professed respect for Ali, Mayweather didn’t seem too impressed with Ali’s fights with Leon Spinks and George Foreman.
The heavyweight suffered a shocking defeat to a relatively inexperienced Spinks in 1978. Spinks had only fought 7 times before winning via split decision over the heavily favored Ali.
The 38-year-old Mayweather also had some choice words to say about the “rope-a-dope” tactics Ali used against George Foreman in their classic Rumble in the Jungle.
“So are you going to tell me that it's cool to lay on the ropes and take punishment and let a man tire himself out from beating you and then he basically fatigued?” he asked before adding "You hit him with a few punches and he go down and quit, and you want to be glorified for that?"
It’s quite easy to understand where Mayweather is coming from. The boxer is undefeated in 47 professional fights and is considered by most as the number 1 boxer pound-for-pound.
— Game Yetu (@GameYetu) April 21, 2015
But he might want to hold off on his gloating until he has faced off with Manny Pacquiao on May 2.
The Filipino boxer is one of his biggest and most awaited challengers. A victory over Pacquiao could go a long way in making people believe that he’s better than boxing legends Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson.