In an interview with ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, Floyd Mayweather said "no one can ever brainwash" him into thinking Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson were better than he is.
No one can ever brainwash me to make me believe that Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali was better than me. No one could ever brainwash me and tell me that. But one thing I will do, I'm going to take my hat off to them and respect those guys because those are the guys that paved the way for me to be where I'm at today.
After Smith expressed shock at the comparison to Ali specifically, Mayweather elaborated.
He only fought in one weight class. Leon Spinks only had seven fights. Never put a fighter in there with Floyd Mayweather with seven fights. Take punishment and let a man tire yourself out from beating you? And then he's basically fatigued, and you hit him with a few punches and go down and quit and you want to be glorified for that?
In 1978, a 36-year-old Ali lost to the 24-year-old Spinks in Spinks' eighth professional fight.
Ali ended his career in 1981 with a 56-5 record. Robinson went 175-19-6-2 during a career spanning from 1940-1965, including 128-1-2 at his peak.
Mayweather, 38, is 47-0. He will fight Manny Pacquiao on May 2.
- Alex Putterman