Ranking Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s 10 Most Impressive Victories
It's good to be king.
Through 44 outings, Floyd Mayweather Jr. still maintains a perfect record. His breathtaking combination of speed, precision, defensive wizardry and unparalleled ring intelligence has catapulted him to the top of the sport, where he remains unchallenged.
It was hard to pinpoint only 10 of his best performances. The criteria the list was based on includes the level of competition, Floyd's performance and the historical significance.
We can check off a few of the omissions as brilliant performances in their own right. Mayweather dominated Carlos Baldomir to claim the lineal welterweight championship in November of 2006 while nearly pitching a shutout. He barely broke a sweat.
He won the only rematch in his career against Jose Luis Castillo. Castillo had arguably done enough in their first outing to at least earn a draw, but Mayweather left no doubt in the rematch by using his superior boxing skills to win.
There are several fights to choose from, but here are the 10 most impressive victories of Mayweather's legendary career.
10. Mayweather vs. Hernandez, 5-26-01
On paper, this was an easy unanimous decision win for Floyd. But it represented one of the biggest challenges of Mayweather's career.
Mayweather's notorious hand issues came to the forefront when he landed a punch to Hernandez's dome in the sixth round.
He turned away in agony and touched his glove to the canvas. It was the first and only official knockdown Floyd has suffered to date. He fought the rest of the fight in obvious pain, but he adjusted to a southpaw position. He smothered Hernandez when he got close and peppered him with jabs.
It was an early and important indication that Floyd was a fighter who could make adjustments when necessary while overcoming adversity during a fight.
9. Mayweather vs. Judah, 4-8-06
Fighting Carlos Baldomir was supposed to be a mere formality for Zab Judah. It was to be a stepping stone fight on the way to a Mayweather vs. Judah bout. Judah lost the fight but still earned the shot at Floyd, as many critics attributed the loss to a simple lack of focus on Judah's part.
He was considered a firm and difficult challenge for Floyd. He was a southpaw with elite power and perhaps even quicker hands than Mayweather possessed.
For the first four rounds, the challenge seemed legitimate.
Judah landed several straight-lefts down the pipe, bothering Floyd with his hand speed and movement. In the second round, Floyd dipped down to land a body shot and was countered with a perfect right hook. Though it was ruled a slip, Floyd was losing the fight.
What followed was another mid-fight adjustment that only Mayweather can pull off. He took over the fight from the fifth round on, drilling Judah whenever he threw punches. As Judah wilted, Floyd looked to close the show.
He probably would have earned a stoppage had Judah not tagged him with a shot so egregiously low it made Riddick Bowe start crying again.
Mayweather kept his cool (after making sure his manhood was still all there) and cruised to a unanimous decision win.
8. Mayweather vs. Hernandez, 10-3-98
Genaro Hernandez was the veteran champion, Mayweather the 21-year-old challenger in his first-ever title fight. The classy Hernandez tried using his height and jab to control the tempo, but he was unable to figure Mayweather out enough to mount an effective offense.
Hernandez kept his guard high, but Floyd was consistently able to land combinations through the gloves. After a seventh round in which Mayweather landed an absurd 46 out of 73 power punches, Hernandez's corner told him he had one round to try and turn the tide.
Mayweather stalked and drilled him with every punch in the book, and the fight was stopped after the round ended. Mayweather had won his first of many belts. For a fighter known mostly for superior defense, his relentless attack earned him the super featherweight championship.
After Hernandez passed away in 2011, Mayweather quietly showed his respect for the former champ.
7. Mayweather vs. Ndou 11-1-03
Philip Ndou was one scary dude. At 5'10", he was enormous for a lightweight, and he boasted a record of 31-1 with a ridiculous 30 wins by knockout. The South African was nicknamed "The Time Bomb" for a reason. This guy could bang.
Mayweather's detractors are often put off by his "safety first" style in which he relies on defense and movement to win fights while throwing few punches. But in his younger years, this wasn't the case. In this particular fight, (a favorite of mine) Floyd just never. Stopped. Throwing. Punches.
He landed about 4,000 overhand rights, pounding the game but hopelessly overmatched Ndou into submission.
There is a sequence at around the 2:00 mark of this video when an absolutely desperate Ndou throws an unbelievable amount of unanswered punches. Literally, dozens. It's an amazing thing to observe and count how many land. Here's a spoiler: very few.
Mayweather, at the absolute peak of his powers, lands four consecutive right hands to drop his opponent for a seventh-round stoppage.
6. Mayweather vs. Manfredy, 12-19-98
Floyd capped off a banner year by taking on Manfredy, who himself had quite a 1998. Before he met Mayweather, he was 3-0 for the year, including a TKO victory over Arturo Gatti.
Manfredy had a decent Round 1, landing a couple of body shots after taking a lightning-quick straight right hand directly after the opening bell.
But in the second round, Floyd switched to a southpaw stance. He landed some decent counter shots and then switched back to an orthodox position, nailing Manfredy with a right that had him in serious trouble.
Floyd immediately jumped on his wounded foe, landing a series of uppercuts and hooks to finish him at the end of the second round.
Mayweather was named Fighter of the Year for the first time in his career.
5. Mayweather vs. Hatton, 12-8-07
There was indeed only one Ricky Hatton on this night. Turns out, he could have used a partner.
Hatton, who was undefeated at 43-0 before the fight, moved up to welterweight to challenge for Mayweather's title after goading him outside of the ring for some time.
The Englishman applied his usual intense pressure, forcing Floyd into the ropes and mauling him. The game plan was solid enough, but Hatton was unable to land anything of note, as Mayweather parried and smothered Hatton's offense.
Mayweather took a few rounds to get rolling, but once he did, he landed his right hand with alarming accuracy, snapping Hatton's head back and softening him up.
The end came in the 10th. Mayweather retreated to the ropes, and Hatton predictably gave chase. The problem was that Hatton had his hands down when he attacked, and Floyd let loose with a perfectly timed "check hook."
Hatton rose, but Mayweather was done backpedaling. He attacked, eventually drilling "The Hitman" with another left hook. Joe Cortez stopped the fight, and Hatton was no longer undefeated.
4. Mayweather vs. Gatti, 6-25-05
Arturo "Thunder" Gatti was a big underdog for this fight, but he sought Mayweather out and Floyd gladly obliged. Few expected Gatti to win, but he suffered the most one-sided beating of his entire career. He wasn't in the fight for a single second.
Mayweather annoyed Gatti with his pre-fight antics and seemed to have the normally cool fighter off his game almost immediately. When Mayweather dropped him in the first round while he was complaining to the referee, one could see it would not be a good night for Arturo.
Things got much worse from there. Floyd landed nearly every punch he threw and Gatti was helpless to do anything about it.
His game plan inexplicably revolved around boxing; instead of mauling and hitting Mayweather with anything and everything, he attempted to stand in the center of the ring with one of the greatest boxers in the history of the sport.
It went about as well as you would expect.
Mayweather put on a masterful performance, using Gatti as a human punching bag until Gatti's trainer Buddy McGirt mercifully stopped the fight. Mayweather scored a sixth-round TKO in what would be his last fight in the 140-pound division.
3. Mayweather vs. Guerrero, 5-4-13
After a year-long layoff that included a stint in prison, Mayweather's first bout back was against Robert Guerrero. Mayweather signed a massive six-fight contract with Showtime, marking his first time with the network.
He took on a much younger southpaw who was certain he'd be the first to beat Floyd. Many fans believed Mayweather had slowed down, convinced that his rougher-than-expected outing against Miguel Cotto was proof of his decline.
Could Guerrero test those 36-year-old legs? Could he dent the chin of a fighter who'd been off for a year?
The resounding answer came somewhere in the middle of one of the dozens of right hands Guerrero ate.
There would be no ring rust. There was no slowing down.
If anything, it was one of the best performances of Mayweather's career, as he humiliated the young lion on the way to a near-shutout.
Guerrero had the feel-good story, but Floyd had the victory.
2. Mayweather vs. Marquez, 9-19-09
It was the first fight in "phase two" of Floyd Mayweather's career. Instead of taking a ridiculously lucrative rematch with Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd announced his retirement after the Hatton fight.
Of course, most of us figured that the retirement would be about as permanent as Lindsay Lohan's sobriety.
As expected, Mayweather announced his comeback directly before the Pacquiao vs. Hatton fight. His opponent? Pacquiao's nemesis, Juan Manuel Marquez. The fight was supposed to be at a catchweight, but Mayweather didn't make it. Chances are he didn't even try.
It wouldn't have mattered.
Once again, Floyd dominated every second of the fight. He dropped Marquez with a left hook in the second round, and he remained unscathed for the rest of the fight. He defeated one of the best boxers of this era with absolute ease after nearly two years out of the ring.
He forced the counterpunching expert into leading the dance, and he nailed the Mexican with counters of his own. That is, when he wasn't peppering him with lead rights before ducking out of harm's way.
Mayweather was back without skipping a beat.
1. Mayweather vs. Corrales, 1-20-01
It remains the masterpiece of Floyd Mayweather's storied career.
The two fighters met at 130 pounds when Corrales was a wrecking ball of a fighter, boasting a record of 33-0. He was lanky but loved to brawl and mix it up on the inside.
It was Mayweather's toughest test yet, and he passed with ease. He ran Corrales into straight rights, wide, looping hooks and vicious uppercuts. He destroyed the destroyer.
Corrales never stopped coming and he never gave up, probably because of the enmity these two had toward one another, but it was a hopeless cause. The seventh round exemplified the entire fight; Mayweather landed 39 punches while Corrales managed to connect on just three.
Corrales went down a total of five times before his corner finally threw in the towel in the 10th round.
It was an utterly dominant performance from a fighter with a career filled with them.