Some athletes are just hard to like. Alex Rodriguez, Lance Armstrong, Terrell Owens – there are certain athletes that you either love or hate.

Floyd Mayweather is one of those athletes. Those who love him focus on this talent. Those who hate him – or at least strongly dislike him – focus on his brash and bombastic nature.

Brandon Tierney falls into the latter category. He can’t stand Mayweather. Evander Holyfield, it seems, is a bit more neutral.

“You have to let people be who they are,” Holyfield said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “That’s the reason they become the person who they are. Everybody have a right to be who they are.”

Mayweather, of course, will put his 47-0 record on the line next Saturday against Manny Pacquiao in a showdown being billed as “The Fight of the Century” – even though it could have happened five or six years ago.

“Look how much money they’re making because they waited,” Holyfield pointed out, laughing. “If they would have fought when they wanted them to fight, they probably would have made $10 million apiece.”

As it stands, the purse could be anywhere from $300-$400 million, with Mayweather, 38, and Pacquiao, 36, agreeing to a 60-40 split. That’s good for them, but they could have fought two or three times by now. At this point, this is likely a one-and-done matchup.

Is it always just about the money?

“No, it’s not all about money,” Holyfield said. “It’s about kind of pride, too. People ain’t going to just do something just to do it. Floyd has done something great that a lot of fighters have never even tried to do.”

Holyfield, one of the great boxers of all-time, was asked about the emotions that go into a high-profile match. Is there ever a sense of fear? Are boxers ever scared to go in the ring?

“Scared is a whole different thing,” Holyfield said. “Scared is when you don’t do what you’re supposed to. You can be prepared and still be scared and not do what you’re supposed to do. When you don’t do what you’re supposed to do, (that’s what) afraid is. I went out there and got in the ring and asked myself, ‘What in the world am I doing in here?’ Then when the bell ring, I step out and put a shot on that guy. Then I’m in the game. I’m in the game.”

Mayweather has been in the game for all 47 of his fights. In fact, he believes he’s the best boxer ever – even better Muhammed Ali.

“Well, Floyd is a person who – he’s a talker,” Holyfield said. “He’s going to say what he wants to say, and people have the right to say what they want to say. He is undefeated. Anybody they put in front of him, he has beat them. Ali didn’t beat everybody. Ali had some fights that was close, that could have went either way. When you just look at boxing itself and you get a guy like Floyd, who is the best until somebody beat him – what can you say? But what Ali did, (he) had to go through something I didn’t have to go through, Floyd didn’t have to go through. That’s the big thing. This man went before us, and he had a harder generation than we did.”

Indeed, the times were different. Society was different. Ali endured great backlash due to his religion, his political views and his stance on Vietnam, among other issues. He also faced better competition.

“That’s what I’m saying,” said Holyfield, who doesn’t compare himself to the three-time champion. “I’m the only person who’s been (the) four-time heavyweight champion of the world. They ask me did I want to break Ali’s record? I told them no. They said why. I said, ‘You have to lose to break it. I don’t want to lose.’”

Pressed for a prediction on the fight, Holyfield didn’t give the winner, but he did make an interesting point.

“I can tell you this,” he said. “If you don’t want (it) to go to the judges’ hands, then you have to make the decision yourself. Somebody got to do something. Mayweather got speed and he got power, but he throws two shots to three shots. Pacquiao throws a lot of shots. The thing is, if it goes to the decision, it looks like it’s going to favor Pacquiao. So that means that Mayweather have to get him out of there. Mayweather is undefeated. I’m sure there a lot of people who would love to see him cry. This is the nature of the beast, so you don’t want to leave it in the judges’ hands.”


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