Floyd Mayweather: A Look at the 42 Men Who Tried and Failed to Beat Money

Kevin McRae@@McRaeWritesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 28, 2012

Floyd Mayweather: A Look at the 42 Men Who Tried and Failed to Beat Money

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    Floyd "Money" Mayweather is the best fighter of his era. As a boxer there are few, if any, who were more talented and more polarizing in the ring and out.

    There have been 43 fights in Floyd's professional career against 42 different opponents. All have walked into the ring believing that they were the one who could shut him up. Only a couple, namely Jose Luis Castillo and Oscar de la Hoya, have even come within sniffing distance. 

    But even those who came close failed. It is yet to be seen whether any man will step into the ring and take Mayweather's zero off his résumé. 

    Now let's take a look back at all those who have tried. 

The First Five

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    Like most fighters, Floyd Mayweather's early years featured a collection of journeymen, nobodies, never-was fighters and guys you never heard of before or since.

    PRO DEBUT: Roberto Apodaca

    Oct. 11, 1996

    Floyd Mayweather Jr. turned pro after the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. His first opponent, Roberto Apodaca, was also making his professional debut. Poor Roberto stood no chance, getting knocked down twice in route to a referee stoppage in the second round.

    Apodaca would fight three more times, all losses, and call it a career.

    No. 2: Reggie Sanders

    Nov. 30, 1996

    Mayweather didn't take long to step back into the ring against Reggie Sanders. Sanders has the distinction as being the first man to survive the distance with Floyd, albeit only four rounds, and even took a round on one judge's scorecard. 

    Mayweather would win the fight by unanimous decision and scores of 40-36 twice and 39-37.

    Sanders would go on to be a professional loser and continues fighting today despite a 12-46-4 record.

    No. 3: Jerry Cooper

    Jan. 18, 1997

    Cooper, who would later in his career lose to future Mayweather foe Angel Manfredy, only survived one round against Floyd. Thanks for coming.

    No. 4: Edgar Ayala

    Feb. 1, 1997

    Ayala was making his pro debut. Lucky for him it didn't last long. Mayweather would quickly dispatch him via second round TKO. Ayala would finish his career a seasonable 0-4.

    No. 5: Kino Rodriguez

    March 12, 1997

    Kino Rodriguez is by far the biggest name on Mayweather's resume through his first five fights. Sure he only lasted half a round before being knocked out, but he fought some quality guys.

    Before facing Money, he had also stepped in with a few known fighters including Orlando Canizales and Johnny Bredahl. After losing to Floyd he would also drop fights to Clarence "Bones" Adams and Paul Spadafora.

The Next Five

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    No. 6: Bobby Giepert

    April 12, 1997

    Giepert didn't do much better than the five guys before him, getting knocked out in the first round. Nothing much else to say here.

    No. 7: Tony Duran

    May 9, 1997

    Duran seemed to like fighting members of the Mayweather family. Before facing Floyd he had twice fought his uncle, Jeff Mayweather. He actually fared better in those fights, getting a draw and decision loss. Floyd, on the other hand, took him out in one round.

    No. 8: Larry O'Shields

    June 14, 1997

    O'Shields actually didn't do badly against Mayweather. Floyd won a unanimous decision. No scores were announced, Mayweather but looked a bit inconsistent in this fight. He clearly won but this was definitely a learning experience.

    No. 9: Jesus Chavez

    July 12, 1997

    No, not that Jesus Chavez, though Mayweather would fight and beat him too. This Jesus Chavez entered the ring with a sporting record of...wait for it...1-13-1. Chavez was just happy to be there and got dropped in the fourth and fifth rounds before being stopped by TKO in round five.

    No. 10: Louie Leija

    Aug. 6, 1997

    Leija had previously been stopped by the real Jesus Chavez in his last fight before facing Floyd Mayweather. He lasted six rounds with Chavez, but only two with Mayweather. Leija would move on to fights against other name fighters, losing to the likes of Ben Tackie and Derrick "Smoke" Gainer.

Becoming a Contender: Five More

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    By this point in his career, Floyd Mayweather was beginning to make waves. He was on the cusp of becoming a contender but not quite yet. 

    No. 11: Felipe Garcia

    Oct. 14, 1997

    Garcia nearly made it through a full six rounds. But nearly doesn't count. Luckily for Floyd this was the first, and last, time he ever fought in Idaho.

    No. 12: Angelo Nunez

    Nov. 20, 1997

    Nunez called it a career after being knocked out in the third round by Floyd Mayweather. In his career he was also knocked out by Oscar de la Hoya and lost a decision to Gabriel Ruelas.

    No. 13: Hector Arroyo

    Jan. 9, 1998

    Arroyo was stopped in the fifth round by Floyd Mayweather and would go on to face knockout losses to Diego Corrales, Lovemore N'Dou and Vivian Harris twice.

    No. 14: Sam Girard

    Girard was a New England tough guy who at least got to see Atlantic City before being knocked out in the second round.

    No. 15: Miguel Melo

    March 23, 1998

    Melo entered this bout with an 8-1 record with 6 knockouts. One of his wins was even against Sam Girard. But Girard ain't Floyd Mayweather. It was just a slight step up in class. A third-round TKO later, he called it a career.

On the Title Hunt: Two Fights to a Shot

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    By this point, Mayweather was a full-fledged contender and was being talked about as a future world champion. 

    No. 16: Gustavo Fabian Cuello

    April 18, 1998

    Cuello was little known in the United States before the fight and most likely after as well. He spent most of his career before and after in his native Argentina. He was notable as the first man to survive a full 10 rounds with Mayweather, losing by unanimous 99-90 scores on all three cards. Floyd was deducted a point in Round 3 for hitting on the break.

    No. 17: Tony Pep

    June 14, 1998

    Not to be confused with Willie Pep, Tony Pep was a solid British fighter during his career. He never won a world title but did challenge for one. As it turned out, he proved to be Floyd Mayweather's last tune-up fight before his own first world title challenge. Pep lasted the distance, losing by scores of 100-90 twice and 99-91.

Genaro Hernandez

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    No. 18: Genaro Hernandez

    Floyd Mayweather got his first world title challenge on Oct. 3, 1998. His opponent was WBC Super Featherweight champion Genaro "Chicanito" Hernandez.

    Hernandez entered the ring with an imposing 38-1-1 record with his only loss coming three years earlier against an upcoming prospect by the name of Oscar de la Hoya.

    Many felt coming into the fight that Hernandez' slick boxing ability would give Mayweather trouble. They were wrong. Very, very wrong.

    Mayweather dominated nearly every second of every round, using his blazing speed and movement to frustrate the older champion. Finally after enduring a beating for eight rounds, Hernandez' corner stepped in and stopped the fight, giving Mayweather the first of many world championships to come.

    Mayweather remained close with Hernandez over the years, and when "Chicanito" passed away in 2011 after a battle with cancer, Floyd paid for the funeral.

WBC Super Featherweight Champion

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    With his first world championship in the bag, the level of competition for Floyd Mayweather Jr. inevitably began to rise. He would defend his WBC super featherweight championship successfully eight times.

    No. 19: Angel Manfredy (WBC Super Featherweight Championship)

    Dec. 19, 1998

    Angel Manfredy was a top contender in the 130-pound division who hadn't lost a fight in four years and was coming off the biggest win of his career, an eighth-round TKO of Arturo Gatti, earlier that year.

    Mayweather blitzed Manfredy and knocked him out in dominating fashion in the second round.

    No. 20: Carlos Alberto Ramon Rios (WBC Super Featherweight Championship)

    Feb. 17, 1999

    Rios certainly had enough names. But he didn't have nearly enough skill in the ring to defeat Floyd Mayweather. He did, however, extend him the full 12 rounds for the first time in his career losing a unanimous decision by scores of 120-109, 120-110 and 119-108.

    No. 21: Justin Juuko (WBC Super Featherweight Championship)

    May 22, 1999

    Juuko was a solid power-puncher from Uganda. But Mayweather was in another league, stopping him by ninth-round TKO in his third defense of his 130-pound title. 

    No. 22: Carlos Gerena (WBC Super Featherweight Championship)

    Sept. 11, 1999

    Gerena was in his second attempt to win the WBC 130-pound title, having lost to Genaro Hernandez in 1998. He was at least competitive against Hernandez. He lost every round to Floyd Mayweather Jr. en route to a corner stoppage in the seventh round.

    No. 23: Gregorio "Goyo" Vargas (WBC Super Featherweight Championship)

    March 18, 2000

    Vargas was a former WBC featherweight champion who fought hard against Mayweather. He just didn't have the speed or firepower to compete with someone on that level. This is the famous fight where Mayweather turned from the action in the 10th round to correct Jim Lampley's declaration that he had turned southpaw twice in the fight. 

    Vargas was down in the sixth round and lost a unanimous decision by scores of 119-108 twice and 118-109.

    No. 24: Emanuel Augustus

    Oct. 21, 2000

    Don't let his record fool you. Augustus was widely considered one of the toughest guys in boxing to fight. He's fought virtually everyone—check out his record—and more often than not gives a good accounting of himself.

    Before facing Miguel Cotto this year, Floyd Mayweather frequently referred to Augustus as his toughest opponent. And Mayweather did what he does—he won, by ninth round TKO. But it wasn't easy or pretty.

Diego Corrales

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    No. 25: Diego Corrales (WBC Super Featherweight Championship)

    Jan. 20, 2001

    In many ways Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s fight with Diego Corrales is still his best and certainly most dominant performance in a big fight. Coming into the fight, Corrales was considered a huge threat with devastating power and a 33-0 record with 27 knockouts. 

    He was taller, stronger and came into the ring outweighing Mayweather by 10 pounds.

    Corrales was also a highly controversial figure, having recently run into legal problems stemming from abuse on his then-pregnant wife. 

    The two men entered the ring undefeated and having never been knocked down. And Mayweather put on his opus performance.

    Mayweather didn't just beat Corrales. He beat him up, and he embarrassed him. He won every minute of every round with ease.

    For a fighter not known for his punching power, Mayweather sent Corrales to the mat five times, including two in Round 10 which prompted Diego's corner to stop the fight. 

    It was Mayweather's most impressive win to date, and some would argue of his career.

Final Defenses at 130 Pounds

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    No. 26: Carlos "El Famoso" Hernandez (WBC Super Featherweight Championship)

    May 26, 2001

    Hernandez was a solid fighter, who had previously challenged for the 130-pound title against Genaro Hernandez and lost. He would become a world champion after facing Floyd Mayweather Jr. 

    "El Famoso" accounted well for himself in his challenge to Money. For one thing, he hung the first knockdown on Mayweather's résumé, when his glove touched the canvas in the sixth round after he had landed a punch.

    Floyd suffered injuries to both hands in the fight and later said Hernandez was an extremely tough opponent.

    But it wasn't enough for Carlos as Floyd would go on to win a unanimous decision by scores of 119-109, 117-109 and 116-111.

    No. 27: Jesus Chavez (WBC Super Featherweight Championship)

    Nov. 10, 2001

    In his final defense at 130 pounds, Mayweather took on tough, hard-hitting Mexican fighter Jesus Chavez. Chavez, who would go on to win the title Floyd vacated when he moved up in weight, was outclassed on this night and lost by ninth-round corner stoppage.

    In the lead up to this fight, Mayweather notably had trouble making the 130-pound limit and decided to move up to lightweight.

Jose Luis Castillo

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    No. 28: Jose Luis Castillo (WBC Lightweight Championship)

    April 20, 2002 and Dec. 7, 2002

    Moving up to lightweight, Mayweather's first fight came against the WBC lightweight champion Jose Luis Castillo.

    Their first fight remains controversial to this day. The fight was competitive and contested in close quarters for much of the night. Castillo was able to pressure Mayweather and land on him more than any fighter had done to that point, and probably even today.

    But Mayweather did what he's made a career out of doing. He played solid defense behind an effective jab. He dropped Castillo in the second round, but it was erroneously declared a slip, even though a punch had landed. Mayweather was also deducted a point for elbowing in Round 9.

    For the first time in Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s career there was legitimate doubt when the scorecards were being announced. It literally could've gone either way in many eyes.

    Mayweather would win that first fight by unanimous decision and scorecards of 115-111 twice and 116-111. Many in the crowd booed the decision, and Harold Lederman had Castillo winning by a 115-111 score.

    The fight was so close that Castillo was able to do something no man to date has been able to do—secure a rematch. 

    The second fight, however, wasn't nearly as eventful as the first, but it was also close. This time Mayweather was able to defeat Castillo without controversy by unanimous decision and scores of 115-113 twice and 116-113.

Lightweight Defenses and Move to Junior Welterweight

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    No. 29: Victoriano Sosa (WBC Lightweight Championship)

    April 19, 2003

    Sosa was a solid lightweight contender but simply not near the class of Floyd Mayweather Jr. He lost a unanimous decision but was able to steal a couple of rounds losing 119-109 and 118-110 twice.

    No. 30: Phillip N'dou (WBC Lightweight Championship)

    Nov. 1, 2003

    N'dou came into the fight with a reputation as a fearsome puncher. His 31-1 record with 30 knockouts led many to conclude he might be the first guy able to check Mayweather's chin. 

    It didn't quite turn out that way, as Mayweather toyed with his South African challenger before dropping him in the seventh round leading to a stoppage.

    No. 31: DeMarcus Corley

    May 22, 2004

    After dispatching N'dou, Mayweather jumped to the junior welterweight division and faced former champion DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley. Corley had lost his belt in his previous fight, dropping a split decision to Zab Judah.

    Corley was dominated, like so many before him, tasting the canvas in the eighth and 10th rounds en route to a wide, unanimous-decision defeat.

    No. 32: Henry Bruseles

    Jan. 22, 2005

    Bruseles was an unknown fighter, and Mayweather took a good deal of criticism for accepting this fight. It was a pretty ho-hum affair with Mayweather dropping his opponent twice in Round 8 for the TKO victory.

Arturo Gatti

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    No. 33: Arturo "Thunder" Gatti (WBC Junior Welterweight Championship)

    June 25, 2005

    By defeating Bruseles, Mayweather became the mandatory challenger for WBC junior welterweight champion Arturo Gatti. Gatti, who was boxing's blood-and-guts warrior, had won the vacant title a year and a half prior.

    In the lead up to the PPV fight, Floyd was highly critical of Gatti and his abilities in the ring. Now, you can say a lot of things about Arturo Gatti. He was gutsy. He never quit on a fight. He was a warrior in the ring.

    But he wasn't on Floyd Mayweather's level.

    Mayweather dominated Gatti, scoring a controversial knockdown in the first round and blitzing him with power shots for nearly the entire fight. Gatti, who wasn't known for his defense, was not able to get out of the way of Mayweather and had no offensive answers.

    After six rounds of one-sided beating, Gatti's corner stepped in and ended the carnage. With the win, Floyd Mayweather Jr. captured his third world championship.

On the Path to a Superfight: Money Moves to Welterweight

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    No. 34: Sharmba Mitchell

    Nov. 19, 2005

    Mayweather next moved to welterweight and squared off with faded former junior welterweight champion Sharmba Mitchell. 

    Mitchell, who was in his second fight at 147 pounds, was once one of the fastest fighters in the sport. But he was no longer at his best by this point and couldn't match Mayweather's speed or power. 

    Mayweather knocked Mitchell down with a head shot in the third and knocked him out with a body shot in the sixth.

    No. 35: Zab "Super" Judah (IBF Welterweight Championship)

    April 8, 2006

    The Mitchell fight was intended as a tune-up for Mayweather as he planned to challenge Zab Judah for his welterweight titles in his next fight. That fight was very nearly derailed when Judah, himself taking a tune-up against Argentine Carlos Baldomir, was defeated and lost his WBC and WBA titles.

    The fight went on anyway, with just the IBF title at stake. Judah gave a good account of himself, and in many eyes, frustrated Floyd and won the early rounds.

    Mayweather began to take over in the fifth round, and it went on like that until the 10th when all hell broke loose.  Near the end of the round, Judah landed an obvious low-blow, followed up by a rabbit punch.

    This prompted Mayweather's uncle and trainer, Roger Mayweather, to enter the ring and scuffle with Judah. Many believed, correctly, that this should've resulted in a disqualification for Mayweather as cornermen are not allowed to enter the ring except between rounds. 

    The Nevada State Athletic Commission refused to overturn the verdict, which Floyd won by unanimous decision (119-109, 117-111, 116-112) but did fine and suspend Roger Mayweather for a year.

Carlos Baldomir

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    No. 36: Carlos Baldomir (WBC Welterweight Championship)

    Nov. 4, 2006

    Baldomir earned the shot at Mayweather by defeating Zab Judah and nearly derailing a fight between the two men. 

    But just because you can beat Zab Judah, doesn't mean you'll be competitive against Floyd Mayweather Jr.

    Baldomir struggled to land anything of consequence in the 12-round fight. He was clearly the busier fighter, but this just gave Mayweather more opportunities to surgically tear him apart with counters. And that's exactly what happened for 36 minutes.

    The scorecards were unanimous, and a blind man could've scored this one with no problem. Mayweather won by scores of 120-108 twice and 118-110.

The Superfight: Oscar De La Hoya

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    No. 37: "The Golden Boy" Oscar de la Hoya (WBC junior middleweight championship)

    May 5, 2007

    After dispatching Baldomir, Mayweather next called out junior middleweight champion and PPV superstar Oscar de la Hoya. The fight took place at 154 pounds, requiring Mayweather to once again move up in weight.

    De la Hoya vs. Mayweather remains to this day the highest-grossing fight in boxing history. With over 2.7 million buys, it blew the previous record, held by Holyfield-Tyson II, out of the water. 

    De la Hoya was very successful early in the fight. He was able to cut off the ring and neutralize Mayweather's speed advantage. Mayweather, however, did a good job of blocking or deflecting many of Oscar's bigger shots on the inside.

    Mayweather began to take over the fight in the middle to late rounds. With de la Hoya abandoning his jab, which had been his most effective weapon, Mayweather was able to use his speed and land at will.

    When the final bell rang, there was again some doubt. This was confirmed by the judges scorecards. Mayweather would go on to win a split decision with two judges scoring the bout for him by scores of 116-112 and 115-113 and one scoring it for de la Hoya 115-113.

    It was the biggest win of his career to date, but also the first time another fighter won a bout on the cards against him. 

Ricky Hatton

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    No. 38: Ricky Hatton (WBC Welterweight Championship)

    Dec. 8, 2007

    Both Hatton and Mayweather entered their 2007 clash undefeated. In fact, that was the handle given to the PPV to help sell fights. Many felt that Hatton's aggressive, pressure style of fighting would give Mayweather a hard time. They expected Hatton to try and smother Floyd on the inside and negate his speed and boxing abilities.

    Hatton did his best, but his best wasn't near enough. He was cut in the third round. He continued to try and pressure Mayweather but got shredded in doing so. In the 10th round Hatton was hit by a big left hook which caused him to fall forward and hit his head on the turnbuckle.

    Hatton was able to get back up but was clearly out on his feet. Mayweather pounced on the dazed Hatton and floored him again, causing Joe Cortez to step in and stop the fight.

Juan Manuel Marquez

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    No. 39: Juan Manuel Marquez 

    Sept. 19, 2009

    Marquez was badly undersized for his challenge against Mayweather. The fight took place at welterweight, where "Dinamita" had never fought. His last several fights had come at the 135-pound lightweight limit.

    It was clear when the two men entered the ring that Mayweather held a huge size and speed advantage. And it played out in the end result. Mayweather dominated Marquez. it was a complete wipeout. 

    Marquez was down in the second round, and you could easily argue he did not do enough to win a single round in the fight. 

    Mayweather won by unanimous decision and wide scores of 120-107, 119-108, and 118-109.

    The most memorable part of this fight came in the post-fight interviews when Shane Mosley interrupted Mayweather to call him out for a fight. The strategy worked as Mayweather would go on to face Mosley next.

Shane Mosley

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    No. 40: Shane Mosley

    May 1, 2010

    Mosley got this fight by confronting Floyd in the ring after his defeat of Juan Manuel Marquez. 

    Most considered this the biggest challenge of Mayweather's career. Mosley had just dominated and knocked out Antonio Margarito, and he had speed many felt could compare to Mayweather's.

    Again, on fight night everyone was proven wrong.

    Mosley started out the fight well and buckled Floyd's knees with a hard right hand in the second round. Unfortunately for Shane, that was the last time in the fight he looked able to win. 

    Mayweather dominated the remaining rounds and became only the second fighter in history—the other being Roy Jones Jr.—to go an entire round without being hit by a power shot, according to Compubox.

    Mosley would go on to lose the fight by wide unanimous decision and scores of 119-109 twice and 118-110. We didn't yet know it at the time, but he would not win another fight in his career.

Victor Ortiz

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    No. 41: Victor Ortiz (WBC Welterweight Championship)

    Sept. 17, 2011

    Ortiz won the Mayweather lottery by defeating Andre Berto for the WBC welterweight championship. He certainly has the distinction of oddest fight of Floyd's career and even most controversial ending.

    Mayweather dominated the early rounds, using his speed and boxing ability to keep Ortiz from mounting a consistent offensive attack. 

    In the fourth round, Ortiz seemed to find some rhythm and was able to land some solid shots through Mayweather's guard. But the fireworks happened when Ortiz bulled Mayweather to the corner. He let his hands go and then unleashed an intentional headbutt.

    Referee Joe Cortez immediately stepped in and docked Ortiz, who went to Mayweather to apologize and give him a hug, a point for the infraction.

    And here comes the controversy. Cortez, as a result of the foul, should've placed the fighters into neutral corners. He did not. After taking the point away, Ortiz approached Mayweather for a second time and put his arms around him for a hug.

    Mayweather seized on the opportunity and landed a solid left hand, prompting Ortiz to look at the referee believing time-in had not been called. Mayweather then landed a hard right hand that floored Ortiz, who could not beat the count.

    Most boxing observers were critical of Mayweather for the outcome. Now let's be clear. There was nothing illegal about the move. And as he correctly stated in his post-fight comments, you need to protect yourself at all times, and Ortiz initiated the whole issue.

    But most still would agree that it wasn't necessary. And it could perhaps best be described as a legal sucker punch. 

Miguel Cotto

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    No. 42: Miguel Cotto (WBC Junior Middleweight Championship)

    May 5, 2012

    Miguel Cotto is a strong, determined champion who many felt had the power to stop Floyd Mayweather, if he caught him.. Their fight on May 5 of this year was dubbed "Ring Kings," and it lived up to the hype.

    Cotto was game, though the talent gap was obvious, and pressed Mayweather for most of the 12 rounds. To his credit, Floyd often dispensed with his defense-first style and exchanged with Cotto. It was a more aggressive Floyd Mayweather Jr. than we've seen in years, and he won many fans for his performance.

    At the end of the fight, the scorecards did not accurately reflect that this was a competitive fight. Mayweather won by wide margins, but Cotto gave a very good account of himself. He clearly lost. But he challenged Mayweather in a way nobody has in years.

    Scorecards were 118-110, 117-111 twice for Money Mayweather.

Who Will Be Number 43?

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    With 42 men and 43 fights behind him, Floyd Mayweather Jr. has already established himself as one of the best fighters of all-time. He will not fight again in 2012, stemming from his recent release from jail and won't likely return until the Spring of 2013.

    But who will be the next man to try and take away Mayweather's zero? 

    Most fans and boxing press hope it will be Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather and Pacquiao have consistently been rated the top two pound-for-pound fighters in the world for years now. For various reasons—some fault lies on both sides—the fight has not yet happened.

    Hopefully recent events, including the settling of a lawsuit between the men, and Pacquiao willing to accept stringent drug-testing and a smaller purse, will lead to a breakthrough in negotiations.

    If not then who else is out there?

    Junior midldleweight champion and hot prospect Saul Canelo Alvarez has been prominently mentioned. But Canelo is just 22 and might be too raw at this stage to jump into the deep end of the pool at this stage.

    Besides, Alvarez and his people seem dead-set on a match with Miguel Cotto in May, assuming Cotto gets past Austin Trout in December.

    Middleweight champion Sergio Martinez has also been mentioned as a possibility. But he has options including at his current weight—a rematch with JC Chavez Jr.—and by moving up in weight against Andre Ward.

    If none of these guys, who knows who is next? Maybe this will finally be the push that gets us the long-awaited Mayweather-Pacquiao super fight.


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