Ranking the 5 Best Floyd Mayweather Moments from His Career

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured ColumnistJune 3, 2021

Ranking the 5 Best Floyd Mayweather Moments from His Career

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    Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

    It's a Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight week.

    OK, let's clarify. It's sort of a Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight week.

    The unbeaten five-weight champion, now 44 and an imminent International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee, will find himself back in a ring on Sunday when he faces Logan Paul in an eight-round exhibition.

    Yes, that Logan Paul.

    Among the undisputed champions of YouTube, Instagram and other social media, the 26-year-old has dabbled in the sweet science, initially drawing a six-round amateur match with British YouTuber KSI and then losing when the two met again in Paul's professional debut in November 2019.

    He's about five inches taller and 30 to 40 pounds heavier than Mayweather—who never fought beyond 154 poundsand is contracted to not exceed 190 pounds when they weigh in on Friday. 

    He's also the older brother of Jake Paul, who's knocked out a fellow YouTuber, an ex-NBA player and a retired mixed martial artist in three professional bouts over the past 18 months.

    The younger Paul taunted Mayweather at a recent media gathering, snatching his hat and prompting a fiery response that left Showtime executive Stephen Espinoza, a longtime business colleague of the retired fighter, suggesting he had "never seen [Mayweather] that angry."

    The main event with Logan Paul—positioned atop a Showtime pay-per-view set to take place at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami—is seen by many as a prelude to a scrap with the bratty sibling, but Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe told Bleacher Report that it's not been discussed.

    At least not yet.

    "For Floyd, now, it's about going out there and having fun," Ellerbe said. "This is another form of entertainment, and anything can happen. That's the whole intrigue of this thing."

    Exhibition or not, simply seeing Mayweather's name back on a fight marquee sent the B/R combat sports team to sentimentalizing about his two-decade career—from which he retired 50-0—and winnowing his highlights down to an authoritative list of the five best moments.

    Click through to see what we came up with, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

5. Silencing Conor McGregor

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    Eric Jamison/Associated Press

    Date: Aug. 26, 2017

    Stakes: Non-title fight, 154 pounds

    Result: Mayweather TKO 10

    Story: It would be hard to imagine a more caustic press tour and a more circus-like atmosphere on fight night than Mayweather's 50th professional go-round against crossover MMA supernova Conor McGregor.

    The two exchanged verbal haymakers throughout the run-up and got together for a surprisingly compelling boxing match at T-Mobile Arena, during which the debuting McGregor was competitive for about three rounds before the more accomplished Mayweather began gradually imposing his will.

    It lasted into the 10th round before the exhausted Irishman was rescued by referee Robert Byrd, but the truest victory for both men came in the aftermath, when Showtime revealed that the fight generated 4.3 million pay-per-view buys and more than $600 million revenue.

    Both figures were good for second all time among boxing events.

    Spoiler alert: We'll have more on that first-place moneymaker a bit later.

4. Punishing Diego Corrales

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    JOHN GURZINSKI/AFP via Getty Images

    Date: Jan. 20, 2001

    Stakes: WBC super featherweight title

    Result: Mayweather TKO 10

    Story: Hard to believe this one was more than 20 years ago.

    In fact, it came the same day as George W. Bush was inaugurated in Washington, D.C.

    Then 23, Mayweather was making defense No. 6 of his first pro title at 130 pounds, while Corrales, who had held the division's IBF belt before vacating it to move to 135, stuck around for a duel of unbeatens.

    Considering he had won all but six of his 33 bouts by stoppage, the lanky Corrales was perceived as the puncher. But his power was nullified by a difficult weight cut and Mayweather's other-worldly precision, which resulted in five knockdowns before the Corrales' corner team surrendered on his behalf.

    "I'm terribly impressed," analyst Harold Lederman said on the HBO broadcast. "I don't think I've seen an exhibition of boxing like this since Willie Pep. This kid is unbelievable, great legs, great speed, unbelievable ring generalship. I mean he's got tremendous presence in that ring."

    Mayweather defended twice more in 2001 before making his own climb to lightweight.

    Corrales, meanwhile, was 7-4 in his final 11 bouts, including additional reigns as champion at 130 and 135, before dying in a motorcycle crash in 2007.

3. Schooling Canelo Alvarez

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    Eric Jamison/Associated Press

    Date: Sept. 14, 2013

    Stakes: WBA/WBC super welterweight titles

    Result: Mayweather MD 12

    Story: Yes. That Canelo Alvarez.

    Newer fight fans might not realize it was Mayweather, by then 36 and in his 45th fight, who snatched the 0 from the record of today's most recognizable pay-per-view commodity.

    Alvarez was a precocious 23 back then and had yet to deliver on the promises of his promotional hype machine, but he still represented a worthy challenge in a weight class wherein Mayweather only dabbled.

    A nine-day press tour covered 10 cities and drew crowds that largely favored the Mexican star at nearly every stop, but once the action commenced at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, it was far less successful for him.

    The veteran was too sharp and too elusive for his unrefined foe to contend with, and Mayweather won 9-3 and 8-4 margins on two scorecards that overrode a ridiculous 6-6 judgment from CJ Ross.

    Oh, and the 2.2 million pay-per-view buys were second all time at that point, trailing only...well, you'll see.

2. Frustrating Oscar De La Hoya

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    Eric Jamison/Associated Press

    Date: May 5, 2007

    Stakes: WBC super welterweight titles

    Result: Mayweather SD 12

    Story: Sometimes the loathing is for promotional purposes.

    And sometimes it's real.

    Make no mistake, when Mayweather met Oscar De La Hoya in history's best-selling pay-per-view fight (at the time), the enmity between the men was as genuine as could be.

    Mayweather had played second fiddle to the Golden Boy during their days at Top Rank and longed for a chance to eclipse his rival in a head-to-head matchup. He embraced the villain's role during the run-up and mocked De La Hoya's heritage on fight night by wearing a sombrero and a robe with Mexico's colors.

    The fight itself was more sporadic than spectacular, but Mayweather was precise enough and busy enough down the stretch to earn two cards by 8-4 and 7-5 margins. The third card, a 7-5 in De La Hoya's favor from Tom Kaczmarek, remains the only one that went against Mayweather in his 23 career distance fights.

    As for the financials, it drew 2.4 million PPV buys and raked in $136 million. Not a bad night's work.

1. Vanquishing Manny Pacquiao

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    John Locher/Associated Press

    Date: May 2, 2015

    Stakes: WBA/WBC/WBO welterweight titles

    Result: Mayweather UD 12

    Story: They shared space in the same weight class for nearly seven years, occupied prime spots atop pound-for-pound lists during that stretch and kept media types busy with teases, disappointments and he-said/he-said blather between camps whenever the mood struck them.

    But finally, on the first Saturday of May in 2015, they were in the ring together.

    Mayweather's match with Manny Pacquiao was the boxing event of a generation, pitting a 47-0 five-division champ against an international superstar who had been collecting title belts since his days as a flyweight.

    It was front-page news for mainstream and boxing-centric outlets around the world, and fight-night images included a parking lot full of private jets on the road leading to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

    Frustratingly similar to the De La Hoya blockbuster, though, the fight itself was again something of an anticlimax, with Mayweather skillfully eluding prolonged exchanges while potshotting his way to 8-4, 8-4 and 10-2 verdicts from the ringside judges.

    Pacquiao claimed a balky shoulder in the aftermath and pined for a rematch, but it never occurred.

    Instead, Mayweather retired after whipping Andre Berto four months later and came back only for a final act against McGregor, while the Filipino has remained active elsewhere—winning five of six heading into a planned duel with welterweight titleholder Errol Spence Jr. in August.

    No matter. Even as a one-off, it was still good for a record-breaking 4.6 million pay-per-view buys and a $600 million take, setting the bar high for the next generation.

    "Money" Mayweather, indeed.

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