Boxing

Ranking the 10 Best Victories of Floyd Mayweather's Career

Briggs SeekinsFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2014

Ranking the 10 Best Victories of Floyd Mayweather's Career

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    In a professional career that stretches back to the last century, Floyd Mayweather has been the best fighter in the world in every weight class from 130 to 154 pounds. He wasn't simply a belt-holder in those five divisions, he was the acknowledged top dog. 

    You can certainly nitpick his resume a little bit. I wish he has spent 2008 fighting Paul Williams and Antonio Margarito instead of moonlighting in the WWE. 

    Like everybody else, I wish he would have fought Manny Pacquiao sometime in the past five years. 

    But you don't become a 45-0, five-division world champion without winning some pretty big fights. 

10. Arturo Gatti, TKO 6, June 25, 2005 for WBC Light Welterweight Title

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    This one had a predictable outcome when viewed in retrospect, but at the time, Arturo Gatti was the defending WBC light welterweight champion and one of the most celebrated warriors in the sport.

    Floyd Mayweather was still "Pretty Boy" Floyd in those days. The memory of his 2002 struggles with Luis Castillo were still fresh, and at the time, many fans thought the relentless Gatti might be able to beat Mayweather up. 

    Instead, it was a classic bull-and-matador fight. Mayweather thoroughly outclassed Gatti, pounding him throughout the fight and forcing a stoppage in six rounds. The victory made him a world champion in his third division. 

9. Angel Manfredy, TKO 2, Dec. 19, 1998 1st Defense of WBC Super Featherweight Belt

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    From our perspective in 2014, this fight was clearly a mismatch. Even at the time, most knowledgeable boxing fans considered it one. 

    But it was also the young Floyd Mayweather's first world title defense. That's a big moment in any young star's career. Mayweather answered the challenge in flashy and spectacular fashion. 

    This fight is also a reminder of how dangerous Mayweather could be as a puncher when he was fighting at lower weights. 

8. Genaro Hernandez, TKO 8, Oct. 3, 1998 for WBC Super Featherweight Title

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    In just his 18th professional fight, Floyd Mayweather won his first world title when he stopped Genaro Hernandez in eight rounds to capture the WBC super featherweight belt. 

    Mayweather was just two years past capturing a bronze medal at the Atlanta Olympics. It took a robbery to keep him from winning gold, and he was widely viewed as a blue-chip prospect. But he had never faced an experienced veteran like 38-1-1 Genaro Hernandez. 

    Hernandez had lost only to Oscar De La Hoya. He had recently beat Azumah Nelson. At the opening bell, he rushed the youngster, looking to rough him up. 

    But Mayweather's speed made the fight completely one-sided. In his last fight, Hernandez lost nearly every round before getting stopped. 

7. Zab Judah, UD, April 8, 2006 for the IBF Welterweight Title

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Zab Judah spent his early career somewhat overshadowed by Floyd Mayweather. To me, the Brooklyn native always seemed like a southpaw, poor-man's version of the long-time pound-for-pound king.

    Judah always had the same kind of swagger as Mayweather and something like the same kind of style. But at the end of the day, he didn't have quite the same substance. Still, in the first decade of this century, it was obvious that these two young stars should meet in the ring.

    Judah did provide Mayweather some trouble early on. Although it was ruled a slip, Judah came very close to recording a knockdown on Mayweather.

    But as the fight progressed, Mayweather took control and cruised to a decision by wide margins. In retrospect, this fight is memorable more for the riot that broke out in Round 10 when Roger Mayweather entered the ring following a low blow and rabbit punch combination delivered to his nephew by Judah.

6. Jose Luis Castillo, UD, Dec. 7, 2002, Return Bout for WBC Lightweight Title

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    This was the rematch of the controversial unanimous decision in April 2002 when Floyd Mayweather captured Jose Luis Castillo's WBC lightweight title. Although all three judges scored for Mayweather in the first encounter, many ringside observers dissented.

    According to Boxrec, HBO's Harold Lederman had the fight 115-111 for Castillo while the Associated Press had it 115-112 for Mayweather, and Dan Rafael, then with USA Today, had it a draw.

    As in the first meeting, Mayweather boxed to an early lead in the rematch before Castillo started to catch up to him and slow him down in the middle rounds. In the second encounter, however, Mayweather adjusted to the pressure and clearly outboxed Castillo down the stretch.

    The first Castillo fight was the only truly close fight of Mayweather's career. It happened over a decade ago, but boxing people have pointed to it as showing the blueprint for how to beat Mayweather.

    But you could argue that Mayweather had already made that blueprint obsolete by the time of the this rematch.

5. Miguel Cotto, UD, May 5, 2012 for WBA Light Middleweight Title

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    USA TODAY Sports

    For years the so-called "blueprint" for beating Floyd Mayweather has been to cut off the ring on him and rough him up to the body. I don't think many people expected Miguel Coto to be able to accomplish this against Mayweather in May 2012, but the three-division world champion had a skill set that matched up well with the blueprint. 

    And it did end up being Mayweather's toughest recent fight. Cotto even managed to bloody his nose. 

    But it still wasn't that competitive in the end. Cotto won no more than three rounds on any card, as Mayweather captured his WBA and lineal light middleweight crown. 

4. Ricky Hatton, TKO 10, Dec. 8, 2007; the Brits Invade Las Vegas

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    This was one of the biggest boxing events of the first decade of the century. Ricky Hatton was the undefeated light welterweight champion, moving up to challenge the undefeated welterweight champion, Floyd Mayweather.

    The charismatic Hatton was popular throughout the world, but he was a god to his fellow citizens of Manchester, who traveled in droves to Las Vegas to cheer their star on against the braggart from the U.S. For one night, the MGM Grand sounded like a home match for the Manchester United football squad.

    Hatton put up a spirited battle in the early going. He kept the pressure on Mayweather, even knocking him off balance at one point. But as the fight progressed, Mayweather pulled further and further ahead. As Hatton tired, Mayweather focused on punishing him more with counterattacks.

    In Round 10, he rocked Hatton badly, dropping him to the canvas. Hatton made it up and the fight briefly restarted, but Mayweather swarmed and dropped him again, prompting Hatton's corner to throw in the towel.  

3. Oscar De La Hoya, SD, May 5, 2007 for the WBC Light Middleweight Title

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    This was one of the most historic boxing events of this century. At the time, it was the most lucrative prizefight in history. The hype for this showdown saw HBO launch their now iconic 24/7 series.

    There was plenty of outside-the-ring drama. It marked the start of a power shift away from Top Rank, as recently departed Floyd Mayweather teamed up with Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy for the first time. Floyd Mayweather Sr., estranged from his son at the time, signed on to train De La Hoya.

    Inside the ring, Mayweather fought 12 very good tactical rounds to secure victory over the future Hall of Famer. Although it was a split decision, I personally thought it was a fairly one-sided fight.

    How judge Tom Kaczmarek scored the fight for De La Hoya is beyond me. I was in agreement with Chuck Giampa, who was 116-112 for Mayweather.

2. Juan Manuel Marquez, UD, Sept. 19, 2009; Don't Call It a Comeback

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    After beating Ricky Hatton in December 2007, Floyd Mayweather briefly retired from the sport. He briefly got involved with the WWE and even "won" a "wrestling match" at WrestleMania.

    When he returned after a break of nearly two years in September 2009, his opponent was the great Juan Manuel Marquez. At the time, Marquez was possibly the best technical boxer in the sport behind Mayweather.

    But this fight showed that the difference between No. 1 and No. 2 was substantial. Showing no signs of ring rust, Mayweather dominated Marquez, knocking him down and winning by near shutout on the cards.

1. Diego Corrales, TKO 10, Jan. 20, 2001; Somebody's "0" Had to Go

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    In boxing, their are few matchups more exciting than a clash of undefeated young champions. The January 2001 meeting between Floyd Mayweather and Diego Corrales was a classic of the type. It was also an early performance that truly gave a glimpse of how special Mayweather was as a fighter.

    At 24-0, Mayweather was the reigning WBC super featherweight champion. Corrales, 33-0, had recently held the IBF version of the belt. Younger fans might be surprised to learn it, but at the time, this was very much viewed as a "pick-em" fight. 

    This Cyber Boxing Zone compilation of contemporary predictions tells the story. 

    Corrales was a tall, whip-thin fighter with explosive power. Many observers felt certain he was just the man to slow the flashy Mayweather down. Many thought that if Mayweather had any chance to win at all, it would only be through running all night. 

    Mayweather certainly used tactical movement. But rather than running, he continually reset and counterattacked with aggression. He handed Corrales the first loss of his career and a genuine beating, knocking him down five times before Corrales' corner threw in the towel in Round 10.

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