Boxing great Evander Holyfield has given his views on Floyd Mayweather labelling himself ‘The Best Ever’ after retiring from boxing on 50-0.
Holyfield, now a respected promoter, unified three titles during an impressive cruiserweight run before moving up heavyweight to claim three more at one time.
Revered as one of the best of all time, Holyfield was asked his view on Mayweather’s legacy, which many believe is right up there with the top names likes Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson.
“My whole thing, he is a great fighter. But to actually say that (he’s the best), you’ve got to be the undisputed,” Holyfield told Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports in an exclusive interview this week.
“You need to get all the belts at one time and let everybody know that I beat everybody who had a belt and I am undisputed. You can’t just say ‘I got this WBC belt, I got this WBC belt and I got this WBC belt,’ and all of them are WBCs and you don’t have the rest of the belts to say you are undisputed.
“The whole big thing is, it’s not just this one belt – it’s all of these other belts. I wanted to be undisputed, where you can say that I am the undisputed champion of the world.”
The 55 year-old, whose currently in the midst of arranging a welterweight tournament with the World Boxing Council, pointed out a list of top division undisputed champions who were able to complete the task at 200 pounds plus.
“Ever since (Muhammad) Ali left, there wasn’t an undisputed champion until (Mike) Tyson was the first one to be made undisputed, then Buster Douglas, then me, then Riddick Bowe and then Lennox Lewis. Lennox was the last one (at heavyweight).
“That was five guys who took the time and said ‘I don’t just want to be one of the champions – I want to be undisputed where everyone knows at that time that I was the very best.
“That’s the only thing that Floyd is missing because he was never the undisputed world champion in any weight division.”
Obviously, plenty of lower weight names have lit up their respective weight classes in the past, with Roy Jones Jr. an instantly memorable one, although Terence Crawford did it at 140 pounds as recently as 2017.
As Mayweather has now bowed out, the former king has missed the boat on gathering every championship but continues to be linked with a return to the sport in the future.