Floyd Mayweather And Boxing’s Millennial Generation

BROCKTON – Family members of Rocky Marciano believe Floyd Mayweather will break the undefeated 49-0 record set by the Brockton boxing legend.

But Rocky Marciano Jr. and others said they believe Mayweather’s boxing match against MMA fighter Conor McGregor on Saturday should not count as part of his record, and should instead be considered an exhibition due to the striking difference in experience between the two. McGregor has never boxed professionally before, while Mayweather’s career has spanned 20 years without a loss, and he is now considered by many to be the greatest defensive boxer of all time.

“This shouldn't count toward Mayweather’s record, one way or another, win or lose,” Rocky Marciano Jr., reached on Wednesday by The Enterprise. “There’s a big discrepancy in experience. ... Let's say this, it'd be shocking if Mayweather didn't win the fight. It's like the Patriots playing a college team.”

At the same time, Marciano Jr. and others from Brockton expressed respect for Mayweather’s boxing achievements, and said they agreed with the reasons that the boxing authorities sanctioned the McGregor fight, in order to help spur interest in the sport. The match is expected to be one of the largest commercial pay-per-view events ever, with many MMA fans expected to tune in.

“It brings some new eyes,” said Marciano Jr., noting the popularity of the UFC and its mixed martial arts fighters like McGregor. “UFC seems to have more of the younger generation. The millennials are interested in that sport, but that doesn't always cross over into boxing. ... There are times you have to sanction a fight when it is a special event.”

All that aside, Marciano Jr. said his family does not think the undefeated career of Mayweather, who is a welterweight, should be compared to the heavyweight win streak set by the undisputed champion from Brockton. That’s partly because it’s much more difficult to go so long undefeated as a undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, he said.

“It’s apples to oranges,” Marciano Jr. said. “We never felt like Mayweather was challenging my father's record anyway because of the weight class difference. ... When you're a heavyweight, there’s so much more power and size. One punch, there doesn’t to be much strength behind it, and it can really hurt you.”

Marciano Jr. said that, on the contrary, the Marciano family was interested when light-heavyweight champion Larry Holmes entered a fight with an undefeated record of 48-0 against Michael Spinks in 1985. Holmes lost to Spinks by a unanimous decision, failing to tie Marciano’s record.

“We recognized Holmes as a heavyweight that could possibly tie my father's record,” said Marciano Jr., who attended the fight in Las Vegas along with relatives. “We saw that as a legitimate challenge. ... We don’t see the comparison to Mayweather.”

Stephen Marciano, nephew of the Rocky Marciano, agreed.

“Every punch in the heavyweight division has potential to be a lethal punch,” Stephen Marciano said. “In welterweight, it just doesn't.”

While the son, Rocky Marciano Jr., wouldn’t rule out watching the Mayweather fight on television, the late boxer’s nephew said he has no interest whatsoever.

“If it was on Channel 7, I wouldn't put it on,” Stephen Marciano said. “I love boxing. This is McGregor. McGregor is not a boxer.”

Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter, a longtime boxing fan and former ring announcer, said he’d be watching the fight this Saturday night. Carpenter called the fight “fascinating” for bringing the younger MMA crowd into the boxing fold.

“I don't see anyway that Mayweather could lose the fight,” Carpenter said. “It doesn't take away from Rocky's accomplishment.”

Marciano won his 49th fight in a row in 1955, with 43 victories by knockouts, ending his career as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

Rich Cappiello, the Brockton fight promoter and boxing gym owner, whose father was a cousin of Rocky Marciano, agreed that the Mayweather-McGregor fight should be considered an exhibition.

“It's just disappointing to see him pass his record in this fashion,” Cappiello said. “There's really no risk factor at all.”

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