Floyd Mayweather’s exceptional 50-0 record is under siege by a world champion you’ve probably never heard of, calling into question how much importance should be placed on these eye-catching numbers.
The threat to Mayweather’s remarkable half-century has quietly taken place in boxing’s smallest weight division, and edged a step closer over the weekend in a fight that few people saw, or even know happened.
Wanheng Menayothin, from Thailand, holds a legitimate world title and sports a 49-0 record, the best numbers that any current world champion can boast.
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Menayothin is the WBC minimumweight champion but all of his wins have been in his home country, against mainly Asian contenders with little reputation of their own.
— BoxingScene.com (@boxingscene) November 25, 2017
He won the world title three years ago and has since strung together eight defences (most recently on Saturday against Japan’s Tatsuya Fukuhara) yet his record is interspersed with sporadic bouts of just six and eight rounds. His desire to remain active has resulted in 13 total fights in three years, a remarkable rate, but also raises questions about the calibre of his opposition.
While Mayweather’s 48th victory came in the ‘Fight of the Century’ against Manny Pacquiao, Menayothin reached the same landmark this year by beating Jack Amissa, who had already lost 44 fights.
The ‘Thailand Dwarf Giant’ or Chayaphon Moonsri as Menayothin is also known has also boxed his entire 10-year career as a minimumweight, the lowest possible division, at seven-and-a-half pounds despite his obvious dominance. Also notable is that the WBA champion in Menayothin’s division is a fellow Thai, the excellently named Knockout CP Freshmart (Thammanoon Niyomtrong). Perhaps it will happen as it seems a natural fit, but there has been no unification fight yet.
So what is the end-game for Menayothin? He will likely match Mayweather’s 50-0 record in the early part of 2018 if his current rate of activity continues but, even then, what does his accomplishment count for? After all, there have been other incredible boxing records – Julio Cesar Chavez was famously 87-0 while Rocky Marciano retired at 49-0.
— World Boxing Council (@WBCBoxing) April 5, 2016
Mayweather might sympathise with Menayothin’s inability to get noticed as a small man in the low weight divisions but, then again, he probably wouldn’t care. Mayweather overcame that disadvantage by becoming a world champion in five divisions, adding the names of legendary opposition to his résumé. Menayothin could win 50 more fights without achieving as much.
Yet the Thailand minimumweight will occupy a unique place in history, should that elusive 50th win arrive, which is more than most of us can dream of. Not everyone will know his name but those that do will await Menayothin equalling Mayweather’s record.