Who can defeat Mayweather? No one but Sugar Ray Robinson and Leonard
By Bob Smith: Since the origin of this site in July of 2007, many have struggled to dethrone Floyd Mayweather Jr, but all have failed. Actually, his unbeaten streak extends to 1996, or an amazing 18 years ago, despite fighting world champion after world champion, and despite defeating undefeated fighter after undefeated fighter. He is, should be, and will be the pound for pound #1 fighter in the world, and one of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport.
His work ethic, conditioning, ring generalship, and defense are arguably the best in the past 50 years of the sport, and perhaps ever. Who then can defeat Mayweather?
His record is still undefeated, at this count it is 46-0, and let us take a look back and who has tried and failed. Of course Oscar De La Hoya failed in May 2007 before this website started, but in December of that year, he faced the hard punching undefeated KO artist Ricky Hatton in a showdown between undefeated welterweights. Though it was an even battle for much of the fight, Mayweather ended up winning by TKO in round 10. He went on to defeat and also completely outclass a perhaps slightly over the hill but still world class Sugar Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez. For me, his fight against Juan Manuel Marquez remains his most impressive performance to date, especially considering the tremendous achievements of Marquez against Pacquiao. He thoroughly outclassed Marquez more so than any fighter has before or since. And in recent times, he has defeated an upstart Victor Ortiz, a future HOF fighter in Miguel Cotto, in a weight class which was too big for him, and then completely stopped the momentum of former world champions Guerrero, Canelo Alvarez, and Marcos Maidana.
Who could have defeated Mayweather in his career? Certainly it could not have been Jose Luis Castillo or Oscar De La Hoya, who clearly lost to him. And who can defeat a man who has never hit the canvass a single time as a professional? Certainly not Zab Judah or any other fighter. In fact, possibly the greatest compliment paid him is by the fighter some think could have defeated him at light middleweight in the 2009-2010 era, Sergio Martinez, who stated that Mayweather “has never been [truly] hurt by a punch in his entire career.” Sure, Sugar Shane Mosley did rock him, and Maidana and Cotto got in some good shots, but he has never been truly devastated by the punch of an opponent. Sergio Martinez during that era did best against bigger, slower opponents like Kelly Pavlik, and even totally outclassed Julio Cesar Chavez, but would have had diminished power at 154 pounds, and a weak defense that would have been exploited by Mayweather as Cotto recently did.
Could Manny Pacquiao have defeated Mayweather? The clear answer is no – Pacquiao possesses power, but he works best against older, slower fighters who come forward, and struggled with ring generals and technicians who can take a punch and counter-punch effectively as well. Thus, Pacquaio can look very good against fighters like Margarito, Hatton, Rios or even Cotto because of his blisteringly fast combinations, awkward angles, and relentless pressure, but this same strength turns into a weakness against more skilled fighters like Marquez or Bradley. Yes, Pacquiao did defeat Bradley the second time, but only to the foolish game plan of Bradley, who had a chance in the 2nd fight, even if he did lose the first. So, Pacquiao lacks the boxing skills and defense to defeat Mayweather, and his speed and power would provide a challenge to the defense of Mayweather but ultimately prove feckless.
In fact then, no one in his (and our era) can defeat Mayweather. Sure, perhaps if he fights on to the age of Bernard Hopkins he will lose, but he is already 37 years old, and has not showed significant signs of slipping yet. Marcos Maidana did look impressive in the first few rounds, but it is not possible for any fighter to throw 100 + punches per round with the force and wildness that he did in the first round, so Mayweather patiently waited through the storm and broke him down. Porter and Thurman are young champions but neither has shown the skill to be able to handle what Mayweather will be able to do to them in the ring.
If no one in our era can defeat Mayweather who could have defeated him? Only two fighters: Sugar Ray Leonard and Sugar Ray Robinson. In the first case, Sugar Ray Leonard would have completely overwhelmed Mayweather with his combinations, as Sugar Ray Leonard was faster and had the ability to put together 3-12 punch combinations with ease. Whereas Mayweather does not have much of a jab, the quickness and precision of the jab of Sugar Ray would throw Mayweather off guard, and Sugar Ray would easily win on points, as his stamina and ring generalship are comparable, if slightly inferior to Mayweather. And Sugar Ray Robinson simply had too much speed, too much power, and too much offensive versatility compared to Mayweather, and would win by either a UD or a KO.
In sum, then Mayweather should be considered one of the top 3 welterweights of all time, and one of the top dozen or so boxers of all time. He has fought and defeated more champions than any current fighter, has not show significant weakness in 18 years, and has completely dominated year after year. He defeated fighter after fighter at their peak and proved again and again that he is pound for pound #1.