Whenever a sportsman or woman reaches the twilight of their careers there always seems to be a period of reflection on the years spent plying their trade.
For some a legacy is well and truly entrenched, their names never to be forgotten. Immediately Usain Bolt’s name springs to be mind given that he’s dominated the athletics world and has proved to be an unstoppable force among the best sprinters in the world.
For some, the legacy is tainted. One only needs to see the damage caused by Lance Armstrong and his doping admission two years ago on the sport of cycling. For years, Armstrong was lauded as a hero after coming back from cancer and surging to seven Tour de France crowns.
And then there’s the question mark surrounding the retirement of Floyd Mayweather after his final fling against Andre Berto last weekend.
Can the 49-0 boxing superstar be considered as the best ever? In his eyes he is. That TBE title is self-proclaimed after all.
While you cannot discount his abilities in the ring, the man was a defensive genius, you’ve got to question his choice of opponents over the years and why he took so long to grant Manny Pacquiao an opportunity?
When you look in history there are a number of pugilists who blazed a trail in their sports. Of course there some bums on their records, most early on, as they padded their statistics and began their study of the finer points of the sweet science.
The likes of Mexican great, Julio Cesar Chaves went 87 fights unbeaten between 1980 and 1994. He eventually ended with a record of 107-6-2.
One cannot discount the contribution of Muhammad Ali to the fistic arts either.
In today’s day and age the sport of boxing always manages to provide major points to debate. The fact that there’s an alphabet soup of titles doesn’t help either. There are supposed ‘world champions’ who have yet to meet the best in their division. And often it’s by choice.
People will always be divided when it comes to Mayweather. Some will defend him and continue to praise him long after the lights dim on his career. In fact, it remains to be seen whether or not he can actually step away from the limelight.
Part of creating a legacy is also about what you do away from the bright lights of the arena. Some prefer the Philanthropic route. Marvin Hagler, one of boxing’s greats, is continually involved in outreach programmes through the Laureus foundation.
You’ve got to credit Mayweather for the brand that he created over the years and his ability to get people to buy into his career. It’s made him a wealthy man and he’ll be able to enjoy his riches and live a comfortable, and no doubt audacious, life.
As far as a legacy goes, I’m not so sure. After all riches don’t necessarily bring enrichment.