Floyd Mayweather: Power Ranking Money May's 10 Best Fights

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2013

Floyd Mayweather: Power Ranking Money May's 10 Best Fights

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    Undefeated welterweight Floyd "Money" Mayweather puts his pristine record on the line this Saturday night against Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero. "Money May" is the pound-for-pound king of the sport who's shared the ring with some of the best fighters of his generation. 

    Here's how we rank his 10 best fights to date.

10. Floyd Mayweather UD Shane Mosley (May 1, 2010): 147 LBs

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    While it wasn’t the fight fans were hoping for at the time (Pacquiao), Mayweather’s 2010 unanimous decision victory over former pound-for-pound kingpin “Sugar” Shane Mosley turned out to be both meaningful and entertaining.

    Most pundits agreed Mayweather would win. After all, he was five years his opponent’s junior and still at the top of his game. However, there was speculation as to what would happen if Mosley landed the kind of knockout bombs against Mayweather he put on Antonio Margarito to win his previous contest.

    And we found out. Eating two hard right hands early in the second round brought the best out in the champion. Mayweather weathered the storm, then dominated the rest of the action to the tune of 119-109, 119-109 and 118-110.

    It was a virtuoso performance against a sure fire Hall of Famer. 

9. Floyd Mayweather TKO 2 Angel Manfredy (Dec. 19, 1998); 130 LBs

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    In his very first career title defense, Mayweather made quick work of tough guy Angel Manfredy, who was on a 23-fight win streak at the time.  A right hand lead in the opening seconds set the tone. Mayweather showed both quickness and power with the shot, and it was all downhill from there for Manfredy.

    The bald, tattooed warrior tried everything: jabs, long leads, carousing Mayweather to the corner. Nothing worked. Mayweather was always on balance, ready to strike. Manfredy was always missing, always getting pummeled.

    Toward the end of the second round, Mayweather stunned Manfredy with a counter right hand before finishing it up with a barrage of punches on the ropes. The referee ended the fight there, the outclassed Manfredy saved from any further embarrassment. 

8. Floyd Mayweather UD Jose Luis Castillo (Apr. 20, 2002); 135 LBs

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    In perhaps his most controversial win, Mayweather out-pointed Jose Luis Castillo despite being both out-thrown and out-landed over the 12-round tussle. Final CompuBox totals showed Castillo landing 203 of 506 (40 percent) with Mayweather managing only 157 out of 448 (35 percent).

    Castillo had trouble finding the elusive Mayweather early in the fight, but by the middle rounds was having his way with the undefeated superstar.  Pressure was key. Mayweather, who complained afterward of a shoulder injury, just couldn’t keep the committed Castillo off of him.

    Judges at ringside announced Mayweather’s unanimous decision win to a chorus of boos. HBO’s unofficial scorer Harold Lederman saw the same fight the crowd did. He had Castillo winning 115-111. Still, it was a close fight. ESPN’s Dan Rafael saw it a draw, while the Associated Press scored the fight in line with the official judges.

    Mayweather showed his stuff in the rematch, out-boxing Castillo fairly easily just a few months later. 

7. Floyd Mayweather TKO 8 Genaro Hernandez (Oct. 3, 1998); 130 LBs

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    Mayweather was only 21 years old when he faced rugged veteran Genaro Hernandez for the WBC super featherweight title belt. The gritty champion looked to stave off the brash youngster’s title hopes by sheer force of will during the first two rounds.

    It didn’t work.

    Mayweather showed his class by simply being too fast, too strong and too skilled for the longtime titleholder. Mayweather did everything right. He out-jabbed the champ, and he controlled the pace of the action with his deft footwork.

    By the end of things, Hernandez and his corner had seen enough. Mayweather was the future. Hernandez was the past. The brave champion gave up his claim on the super featherweight throne sitting down in his corner at the end of Round 8. 

6. Floyd Mayweather TKO 6 Arturo Gatti (June 25, 2005); 140 LBs

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    In his first headlining appearance on a PPV card, Mayweather made mincemeat of the late Arturo Gatti. The rugged action star had planned to try and fight in a controlled manner against the quick-fisted Mayweather, but lost his head when he got hit by Mayweather while looking at the referee.

    Gatti tried to make it a brawl then, and he paid the price. Mayweather was simply too much for Gatti to handle. His hard punches knifed through Gatti’s porous defense like it was butter, and Gatti’s slow-handed offense never seemed to land.

    It was a brutal domination of a naturally larger star and proved Mayweather could deliver the goods for a PPV audience.  The win also nabbed Mayweather an alphabet title at the weight, his first since moving up from lightweight.

5. Floyd Mayweather UD Zab Judah (Apr. 8, 2006); 147 LBs

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    The incredibly talented Judah had lost his welterweight title just a few months prior, but the planned Mayweather-Judah PPV show went on anyway, proving title belts mean very little in these modern days of prizefighting. Fight fans want to see stars, not belts.

    Judah showed he had the goods to be the first to rough up the undefeated Mayweather early, even scoring a knockdown with a short hook in the second round which referee Richard Steele incorrectly ruled a slip. The first four rounds were competitive, but Mayweather adapted to walking the fast-handed Judah down throughout the rest of the affair, and took home a wide unanimous decision victory.

    During the 10th round, Judah lost his head, hit Mayweather low and then in the back of the head. Steele called time-out and both corners rushed into ring to duke it out. Luckily, local authorities defused the situation quickly and Steele allowed the fight to resume. 

4. Floyd Mayweather TKO 10 Ricky Hatton (Dec. 8, 2007); 147 LBs

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    In a battle of two unbeaten champions, from two different continents, Mayweather outclassed the UK’s Ricky Hatton to solidify his claim at being the best fighter on the planet.

    It was a pure boxing clinic. Hatton did his best to cut off the ring with controlled aggression, but Mayweather was too elusive in the early going, save a brief moment in the first that had Mayweather stumbling back from a hard-thrown jab.

    Hatton tried to make it ugly, but Mayweather’s classy style befuddled him all the way to the late rounds, when the increasingly desperate Hatton began trying to force the issue. It was just what Mayweather wanted. The welterweight star shellacked his oncoming challenger to the floor with a huge left hook.

    The brave Hatton rose to his feet, but was pummeled back down again to the point of stoppage by referee Joe Cortez

3. Floyd Mayweather MD Oscar De La Hoya (May 5, 2007); 154 LBs

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    In probably his most important win, Mayweather out-pointed Oscar De La Hoya to establish himself as the premier fighter in the sport of boxing. The fight generated tremendous interest in Mayweather because of the premier of HBO’s newfangled mini-series 24/7, and it served as a springboard for Mayweather from the sheltered confines of the boxing world into popular culture.

    Mayweather's tremendous skill set was on full display in this one, and for his largest audience yet. Thanks to numerous subplots (De La Hoya fired Mayweather's father as his trainer before the fight, this was Mayweather's first fight at junior middleweight, etc.), the fight smashed numerous PPV records including buys (2.45 million) and domestic revenue ($136,853,700 million). The bout also generated $165 million in total gross revenue, the most for a fight ever.

    Mayweather's speed and ring mastery were just too much for De La Hoya, who came in with a good fight plan but was just plain beat. Mayweather won the fight by split decision (116-112, 115-113, 113-115) and solidified himself as boxing's No. 1 commodity.

2. Floyd Mayweather TKO 10 Diego Corrales (Jan. 20, 2001); 130 LBs

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    In his most dominant display as a professional, Mayweather outclassed the late Diego Corrales, who was undefeated up to this point. The ever-valiant Corrales was knocked down three times in the seventh and twice more in the 10th.

    Mayweather was brutally efficient in the bout, landing 220 of 414 punches. Corrales did not land any more than 10 punches in a round, and he had no answer for Mayweather’s sharp counterpunches and quick strike offense. Corrales' corner threw in the towel after the fifth knockdown, realizing their guy was out of his league.

    It was complete and utter destruction of a world class fighter, and it was done with shocking ease. Mayweather displayed everything in this fight: world class defense, sharp one-two’s, mammoth hooks and beautiful lead rights. If the fight world didn’t realize what kind of fighter the enigmatic star was before, they certainly did now. 

1. Floyd Mayweather UD Miguel Cotto (May 5, 2012); 154 LBs

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    In a fight that probably should have happened years before it did, Mayweather dug down deep to win a gritty decision over a resurgent Miguel Cotto. The fight was tremendous. Cotto had success differing between a come-forward-with-aggression approach and a staunch-jab-from-a-distance one. His plan worked, and he had Mayweather bleeding from the nose by the fifth round.

    The fight appeared to be close going into the championship rounds (i.e., Rounds 10-12), but Mayweather took over from there and swept his ever-advancing foe with deft footwork and clean counters. Cotto was hurt in Round 12, but safety-first Mayweather was content to go to the scorecards instead of pressing the issue.

    The scores were probably a bit wider than fans expected (118-110, 117-111, 117-111), but no matter because the right guy one.

    In winning, Mayweather yet again proved his ability to rise above adversity. Cotto was able to club him hard on occasion, and Mayweather’s legs appeared slow at times. Despite it, Mayweather remained undefeated and is the top pound-for-pound fighter in the sport of boxing today.