First of all. I am not going to say Ali is a better fighter than Floyd because of what he stands for, or because he fought the US government. No, I’m going to assess their overall head to head boxing career, based on facts and empirical data.
I don’t care about how people perceive some of Floyd’s attitude. His boasting-mouth, money-worshiper, self-worshiper, womanizer, etc. Muhammad Ali was not really different anyway in his heyday. Just watch Muhammad Ali’s interview, and you will notice.
Because when you get to that level of Muhammad Ali or Floyd Mayweather. You will always be self-validated. There is no need to be humble.
And it’s a good thing. Great men like Ali and Floyd gave you an indirect lesson about the importance of self-confidence.
It’s really hard to be humble when you as great as I am.Muhammad Ali
You are not apologetic of it and you don’t care what other people think about you at all.
- Floyd boasting about money? Ali was the same. Ali preach that the reason why he kept fighting is livelihood.
- Floyd showing off his women? Ali was the same. He was a hell of a womanizer.
- Floyd was allegedly beating his wife? Ali was actually beating his first wife, because of her short dress. Watch his movie The Greatest (1978). He was later regretting on marrying his first wife.
But people love Ali mainly because of his sacrifice and what he had to pay for that sacrifice (Parkinson). Like some kind of a sympathetic light.
But that doesn’t make him a better fighter than Floyd Mayweather. At least for me.
Now, turn off your emotional switch and focus on facts and proofs. We will evaluate only on their boxing career.
1. Floyd Mayweather is a Better Technical Fighter
Floyd is the most fundamental defensive fighter of all time. He is the master of distance. He knows how to adapt to any fighter. His defensive style was unbelievable. You get inside of his range, he will parry, duck, slip, elbow, clinch, and counter you. He is the single fighter who take the least punishment in history.
Muhammad Ali on the other hand has some flaws in his defense. He didn’t put his hands up. He would even put his hands lower from punches. He lean back from punches. And don’t get me wrong, that style is a very very interesting style to watch and he was very naturally gifted on that, that he can got away with it. He was indeed a real life matrix movie.
But that style backfired on him. It’s not healthy in the long run. It became bad habits that he could no longer use it when he got older. When his reflexes are gone, he took so much punishment from monsters like George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, Earnie Shavers. Which was staggering.
That might also contribute to his parkinson.
2. Floyd Mayweather Beat More Hall of Famers
Floyd beat 11 hall of famers or a boxer that will definitely be a hall of famers in the future:
- Diego Corrales
- Jose Luis Castillo
- Arturo Gatti
- Zab Judah
- Oscar De La Hoya
- Ricky Hatton
- Juan Manuel Marquez
- Shane Mosley
- Miguel Cotto
- Genaro Hernandez
- Manny Pacquiao
Muhammad Ali beat 7 hall of famers:
- Archie Moore
- Sonny Liston
- Floyd Patterson
- Bob Foster
- Joe Frazier
- Ken Norton
- George Foreman
3. Floyd Mayweather is a Better Businessman
Boxing is not only about sport, it is also about business. That is why they call themselves a prize fighter. You have to think like a businessman to survive in this sport.
Floyd Mayweather was that guy. He knew how to maximize his earning potential. He knew how to pick the right person to guide him that is Al Haymon, a genius who can teach Floyd how to get money and how to invest it in a smart way. He refuse to always be a slave of Bob Arum and built his own empire -Mayweather Promotions LLC- . He became his own boss.
Muhammad Ali on the other hand, unfortunately, was not blessed by that avenue. Even though Ali was a genius in selling fights. He didn’t know how to manage, keep, and invest his money. He depend on a promoter to make fights, Bob Arum and Don King, for example. And he didn’t pick the right person to guide him in business. That is why he was struggling economically.
I was able to leave the sport of boxing with no punishment, still sharp, and made smart investments.Floyd Mayweather
That quote from Mayweather should be the first page of a boxing book.
But once again, even though I consider Floyd Mayweather as the better fighter than Ali. Muhammad Ali is the greatest heavyweight champion of all time, to me. And yes, his style and his fights are way more interesting than Floyd’s. That is why Ali was more global than Floyd, even to this day. And not even close.
Ali was also the most revered and the most charismatic athlete of all time. Something that Floyd will never have.
But in boxing, I agree with people who think that Floyd is a better fighter than Ali.
Both of them are phenomenal fighter and super talented though.