Ranking Floyd Mayweather's Most Mind-Boggling Opponent Selections
Floyd Mayweather has met and defeated a slew of great fighters over the course of his 19-year professional career. Because of it, the undefeated superstar boxer is the highest-paid athlete in the world and a certain Hall of Famer who is arguably the greatest fighter of his generation.
He’s coming off the most historically important win of his career, a 12-round drubbing of longtime rival Manny Pacquiao. But Mayweather has made enough curious choices in selecting opponents over the last few years to leave fans and historians wondering just how great he really could have been.
In light of Mayweather's announcement on Instagram of a September 12 Showtime pay-per-view bout against the unheralded Andre Berto, Bleacher Report presents Mayweather’s most mind-boggling opponent selections.
6. Juan Manuel Marquez
On the surface, Mayweather vs. Juan Manuel Marquez made some sense when it happened back in 2009. Mayweather had been out of the ring for almost two years and needed a comeback bout against a top-tier opponent.
At the time, the masses were starting to beat the drum for a Mayweather-Pacquiao superfight. The latter had just trounced Mayweather’s last two opponents, Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton, and beaten them more thoroughly than Mayweather had, so it seemed fitting Mayweather would try to do the same against an opponent Pacquiao had struggled against twice before: Marquez.
But this fight turned into a farce rather quickly. Marquez was at the time a lightweight and had campaigned at junior lightweight as recently as one year prior. And Mayweather was a full-fledged welterweight.
The bout was originally scheduled for a catchweight of 144 pounds but was changed to accommodate Mayweather days before fight night to the welterweight limit of 147 pounds.
In the end, Mayweather ended up easily outpointing a fighter who had jumped up two weight classes in order to share a ring with him. Any historical points Mayweather gets for defeating a future Hall of Famer, Marquez, are surely canceled out the huge disparity in weight between the two fighters when they met.
5. Victor Ortiz
In 2011, Mayweather was coming off a fantastic win over Shane Mosley. The world had patiently waited for Mayweather to fight Pacquiao, so it seemed at least possible that Mayweather was on the way to doing so when he selected southpaw Victor Ortiz as his next opponent.
The suggestion, of course, is that Mayweather needed some ring time against a southpaw in order to properly prepare for Pacquiao, who is also a southpaw. Here’s the obvious problem with that statement: Every southpaw is not like Pacquiao. In fact, almost no other southpaw in boxing history has fought with Pacquiao’s unique and frenetic style.
Here’s an even more obvious problem with the fight: Ortiz just isn’t a very good fighter.
Ortiz was knocked out by Marcos Maidana just two years prior to meeting Mayweather. He and Lamont Peterson fought to a draw one year later. The wins on his record to that point were over nondescript opponents and fighters on the downward slopes of their careers.
The only thing Ortiz accomplished before earning the Mayweather bout was outpointing an overrated Andre Berto in 2011 for the WBC welterweight title.
Mayweather knocked Ortiz out in Round 4 while Ortiz was looking away from the action after referee Joe Cortez had admonished Ortiz for an intentional headbutt. Some called it a sucker punch, but the real sucker punch was the one Mayweather threw at fans by making the fight in the first place.
4. Marcos Maidana
Let’s face it: Everyone loves to watch Marcos Maidana fight. But the grisly truth of the matter is that we love watching him do his thing precisely because he’s a crudely skilled brawler who fights more like he’s in a bar room than a boxing ring.
That isn’t to say Maidana isn’t skilled. He’s certainly been a viable, lower-tier contender over the course of his career. But when the first Mayweather-Maidana bout was signed in May 2014, Maidana had absolutely no business in the ring against the world’s best.
Maidana was an easy mark. He had just thrashed the terribly over-hyped Adrien Broner the year prior, so Mayweather and his team could minimally point to that as evidence of Maidana’s deservedness.
But Maidana came into the Mayweather fight having already suffered losses to Andriy Kotelnik, Amir Khan and Devon Alexander. And while he threw punches courageously enough to help the promoters more easily sell the rematch later that year in September, Mayweather’s longtime status as the more skilled fighter in boxing dictated he should have found a more compelling option.
3. Zab Judah
Zab Judah was a tremendously gifted fighter who never quite lived up to his full potential. Still, a showdown with Mayweather seemed a surefire bet in the mid-2000s until Judah was upset by Carlos Baldomir in 2006 for the lineal welterweight crown and the WBC title.
Judah kept his IBF strap because Baldomir had refused to pay the associated sanctioning fees. Still, everyone knew who the true welterweight champion was after the 12-round decision: Baldomir.
Mayweather faced Judah anyway. The bout was close through the first four rounds until Mayweather adjusted to Judah’s speed and dominated the rest of the fight. The action itself wasn’t terrible, but the contest was needless save for the shenanigans surrounding the IBF title belt.
To Mayweather’s credit, he faced and defeated Baldomir in his very next fight. Still, it seemed silly at the time to fight Judah for an alleged welterweight title when he was coming directly off a clear loss to Baldomir.
2. Robert Guerrero
Robert Guerrero is a decent fighter. But he had done nothing at welterweight that should have made him a serious candidate to fight Mayweather in 2012 after the had latter signed his lucrative six-fight deal to move over from HBO to Showtime.
Guerrero had beaten exactly two welterweights before facing Mayweather: Selcuk Aydin and Andre Berto. Both are middling contenders who would only garner elite qualifications at welterweight in a bizarro world where everything is turned upside down.
In fact, about the only thing Guerrero did to get the shot at Mayweather was have his public-relations team bombard the media with incessant press releases detailing why a Mayweather-Guerrero fight made perfect sense.
It didn’t, of course, and Mayweather easily outpointed Guerrero over 12 rounds in something that looked more like a glorified sparring session than an actual fight. After the bout, Guerrero went back to being what he truly is: a decent but unspectacular fighter who will never be elite.
1. Andre Berto
Let’s play a game: Close your eyes and pretend Mayweather has finally defeated Manny Pacquiao in the long-awaited showdown of the century. Mayweather is now 48-0. He promises to retire soon, possibly after his next fight. He claims he is the best fighter ever. He is simultaneously the lineal welterweight and lineal junior middleweight champion.
Now think of all the possible contenders for Mayweather’s next fight. Unless you are Andre Berto, or perhaps a close relative of his who stands to benefit from the windfall, there is absolutely no way you would have thought of Berto.
Berto has absolutely no credentials for the Mayweather fight. He’s a fun, athletic fighter. But he possesses no attribute, no elite skill and no single accomplishment to suggest he should be anything right now but a sparring partner for Mayweather. Berto has been defeated by Victor Ortiz, Robert Guerrero and Jesus Soto Karass. He's lost three of his last six fights, and the closest thing he has to a notable win during that time span is a knockout over Josesito Lopez.
Mayweather-Berto is a laughable promotion. There’s no sound reason for it happen, and the only reasonable conclusion one can make from such a travesty is that Mayweather is simply looking for an easy fight to get to 49-0.