Mayweather Jr: His career and defining fights
By Tom Drury: Floyd Mayweather Jr., the focus of debate, hate, love and admiration. Fans and boxing gurus like nothing more than an argument focusing on the ifs and buts, whys and why nots circling this boxers career.
Some believe a boxing phenomenon with unprecedented skills and boxing smarts with a great personality (I am one of those people), some believing a “ducker” master of using his mouth to reach the heights of great success. For those people who say Floyd has reached the great success he enjoys by using his mouth, it is close to laughable.
Having the so called “gift of the gab” “big talker” is a trait that many human-beings possess normal people that haven’t found success in a sporting or “celebrity” capacity.”
If you think a person can make 40,000,000 dollars every time he enters the ring on the basis of having “the gift of the gab,” people, you would be deluded. The public and fight fans buy Floyd Mayweather fights to witness his skill and talent and no doubt many fans buy his pay per view cards on the thought of witnessing this modern day great been handed his first loss either way they feel Mayweather is worth some of their hard earned currency.
This article based on Mayweather will concentrate on his career defining fights, some followers have the opinion that a career defining fight doesn’t exist on the Mayweather resume this article will prove different.
1. Diego Corrales – This was arguably the most definitive and memorable fight of Mayweather’s illustrious career. Coming into the fight both men were undefeated and neither had touched the canvas. Mayweather at that time was ranked (2) super-featherweight in the world and (7) in the pound for pound listings. Corrales was ranked (1) super-featherweight in the world and (5) in the pound for pound. Corrales had numerous physical advantages over Mayweather entering that fight, two inches in height, one inch in reach. Despite both men weighing in at the 130lb official super-featherweight limit (unofficially Corrales 146lbs versus Mayweather’s 136lbs in the bout). Mayweather won every round in the fight knocking Corrales down five times in the process, three times in round 7 and twice in round ten leading to Corrales’s corner putting a halt to the fight. Mayweather quite frankly destroyed the bigger, stronger, and more powerful, higher ranked, undefeated fighter that was Diego Corrales. I will always remember Jim Lampley’s post-fight comments for HBO: “I’ve gotta tell ya, I’m terribly impressed, this kid is unbelievable, great legs, great speed, and unbelievable ring generalship’ he’s got tremendous presence in that ring. Floyd Mayweather knows where he is very minute of that fight”. This fight was to set the tone for the rest of Mayweather Jr’s career.
2. Jose Luis Castillo II – due to the controversy and closeness of the first fight Mayweather accepted an immediate rematch which took place on the seventh of December 2002. I would like to add Castillo unofficially outweighed Mayweather in the first fight; the weights were Mayweather 138 ½ lbs to Castillo’s 147 ½ lbs. Mayweather was outweighed again in the second fight. Castillo 147lbs, Mayweather 138 lbs. Again it turned out to be a close fight. Mayweather was victorious via the scorecards, winning by 115-113 on two scorecards and 116-113 on a third. While the fight wasn’t what you would call exciting with no knockdowns or notable exchanges, Mayweather did the job and must receive credit for his decision to rematch Castillo immediately and remove all doubt.
3. Arturo Gatti – Atlantic City on June 25 2005, Mayweather entered the ring to fight “The Ring’s” (1) contender Arturo Gatti. Mayweather was at his brash, arrogant best at the press conferences leading up to the fight, claiming Gatti was nothing more than a c+ fighter. Gatti also very confident of ending the fight victorious claiming Mayweather was over-hyped and over-rated. Mayweather put on a scintillating show of ring generalship and delivering a severe beating of the late warrior Gatti in front of a huge pro-Gatti crowd, which left no choice for Gattis corner other than stopping the fight after round six. Compubox stats had Mayweather out landing Gatti 168-41. To many boxing experts this performance solidified Mayweathers place as one of the best pound for pound fighters on the planet. This fight was Mayweather’s last at light-welterweight.
4. Carlos Baldomir – leading up to this fight, Baldomir hadn’t lost in over eight years and was the Ring and WBC champion. Still, he was the underdog. Mayweather put on a show of utter brilliance a counter-punching defensive master-class. I like to refer to it as a “boxing clinic.” Mayweather cut Baldomir over his left eye in round one. Baldomir was the aggressor and much busier fighter chasing Mayweather around the ring trying to land flurries and combinations but to no avail. Mayweather was just too slick, his movement too good. This fight made both men career high earnings at that time Mayweather (8,000,000) and Baldomir ($1.6,000,000). After the lopsided decision, Mayweather claimed the titles and was the first fighter since Roberto Duran to capture the ring titles in both lightweight and welterweight divisions. He also captured his third lineal championship following in the footsteps of Henry Armstrong and Sugar Ray Leonard.
5. Oscar De La Hoya I will enjoy detailing this fight as in my opinion it is the number one career defining fight of Mayweather Jr. It seems fans are deluded about the facts of this fight. The fight was Mayweather’s first at 154lbs light-middleweight, meaning he had to move up from 147lbs. Come fight night, Mayweather was out-weighed by ten pounds, Mayweather coming in at only 150lbs. During the early rounds, De La Hoya, the six division world champion, was busier cutting off the ring trying to impose his strength and size on the smaller Mayweather. Many of De La Hoya’s punches not finding the target mostly hitting Mayweather’s arms and shoulder another defensive “boxing clinic” was in motion. By the middle of the fight many ringside analysts had the fight even. Mayweather ended the fight winning by a 12 round split decision and many boxing analysts and ringside observers felt Mayweather should have got a unanimous decision (UD). The official scorecards were 116-112 (Mayweather) 115-113 (Mayweather) 115-113 (Oscar De La Hoya). Compubox had Mayweather out-landing De La Hoya 207-155 in total punches and 134-82 in power punches. The fight also broke all records in PPV sales and career earnings of both fighters.
6. Miguel Cotto – Miguel was The Ring (1) ranked light-middleweight and Puerto-Rican legend was set to lace up the gloves against pound for pound and undefeated superstar Mayweather Jr the fight reportedly exceeded 92 million in PPV revenues from 1.5 million purchases, making it the second biggest non-heavyweight fight in history (the first been Mayweathers fight against Oscar De La Hoya). This was Mayweather’s second outing at light-middleweight, and once again the smaller man. During the fight Cotto was finding some success through the early rounds. Mayweather was bloodied and was obviously feeling the effects of the stronger Miguel Cotto. Mayweather knew he was in a fight. Once again we saw Mayweather adjust using his superior movement and ring generalship sometimes mixing it up with Cotto. However, Cotto was piling on the pressure Mayweather more so in this fight having to fight off the ropes. Mayweather once again victorious by unanimous decision, cementing his place as the number one pound for pound boxer on the planet.
This list of defining fights is only my opinion. What I will say is if these aren’t career defining fights then I don’t know what is. Time and time again Mayweather has entered the ring at a disadvantage. These six fights alone are made up with undefeated knockout artists, number one ranked and number one ranked contenders and multiple division world champions.
What more has this fighter got to prove to receive the accolades and props he so greatly deserves “fight Manny Paquiao?” Yes, Pacquiao is a 8 division world champion. Those championships were won by imposing catchweights, catchweights that were so severe some of his opponents were absolutely dead at the weight; not to mention he is a eight division world champion that has suffered five defeats and two draws. Three of those defeats were by way of knockout the most recent in devastating fashion against Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez.
Pacquiao is not a viable opponent for Mayweather Jr. If that fight happened in 2009, yes, it would have been more interesting. Mayweather would have won. If the fight happens now or in the future, I believe it would be a total mismatch in favor of Mayweather. If the fight does happen and by some miracle or otherwise Pacquiao pulls of the win, I will admit to total miscalculation.
What I’m asking my fellow boxing fans is where are the fighters that can pose a threat to Mayweather?, what is left for him to prove in the sport of boxing? Where is the “Cherry picking” and “ducking” so many fans talked about? The six fights above and the facts with them speak volumes. I believe there is one fight left in my opinion for Mayweather that fight would be against Argentinian Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez. The fight should be made at 154lbs light-middleweight. Many believe Martinez doesn’t have a large following they would be wrong Martinez is huge among hardcore boxing fan. I describe him as “a superstar that has gone under the radar,” one of the most feared and underrated boxers in the sport.
I believe Mayweather would win but also believe it would be one of his biggest tests. Martinez is aging but has plenty left in the tank. A Bernard Hopkins type of fitness, Martinez is fast, illusive, powerful and can box. If Mayweather was to retire tomorrow he has nothing left to prove in the sport of boxing.