By Ken Hissner: I once wrote an article titled, ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard Stops Floyd Mayweather!’ I was referring to Mayweather’s father, Floyd Sr. It happened in September of 1978 when Leonard, 13-0, stopped Mayweather 15-1, in the tenth and final round.
Getting back to ‘Money’ in comparing their amateur careers, both being Olympians. Leonard, 145-5 with 75 stoppages, won the 1976 Gold Medal at the Montreal Games, defeating Cuba’s Andres Aldama.
Mayweather, 38-6, lost in the semi-finals to Serafim Todorov, 96-4 of Bulgaria, at the 1996 Atlanta Games earning a Bronze Medal.
Leonard defeated Mayweather, Sr., in his thirteenth fight. Then he defeated Randy Shields, 31-4-1, whom he split with in their two amateur fights. He followed with a win over Pete Ranzany, 45-3-1, for the NABF title.
In Leonard’s next fight, he defeated WBC World Welterweight champion Wilfred Benitez, 38-0-1, in November of 1979, for his twenty-sixth straight win.
Two fights later, he lost to Roberto ‘Hands of Stone’ Duran, 71-1-1, in his return to Montreal. He fought Duran’s fight, trying to fight it out.
In the rematch, Leonard won the title back, with Duran quitting in the corner fighting his normal style. After two defenses, he was behind on points when he stopped Thomas ‘Hit Man’ Hearns, 32-0, in the fourteenth round in Ring Magazine’s ‘Fight of the Year!’
After Leonard stopped Bruce Finch, 28-3-1, it would be two years before he returned to the ring, coming off the canvas and stopping Kevin Howard, 20-4-1. He wouldn’t fight again until three years later, winning the middleweight title from ‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler, 62-2, in what many felt he lost, but I wasn’t one of them.
In Leonard’s next fight, he stopped super middleweight and light heavyweight champion Donny ‘Golden Boy’ Lalonde, 31-2.
In the rematch with Hearns, it ended in a draw after Leonard came off the canvas twice. Then in their rubber match, he defeated Duran.
After over a year, Leonard came back, losing what would be his final two fights. The first loss was to super welterweight champion ‘Terrible’ Terry Norris, 26-3. The other to former three-division world champion Hector ‘Macho’ Camacho, 62-3-1, being stopped in the fifth round and retiring. His final record was 36-3-1 with 23 knockouts.
Mayweather won his first seventeen fights before winning his first world title, stopping super featherweight champion Genaro ‘Chicanito’ Hernandez, 38-1-1. In his seventh defense, he stopped former IBF super featherweight champion Diego ‘Chico’ Corrales, 33-0.
In December of 2002, Mayweather won a close, if not disputed, decision over lightweight champion Jose ‘El Terrible’ Luis Castillo, 45-4-1. In their rematch, though the scores were closer, Mayweather easily won it.
Four fights later, Mayweather defeated Demarcus ‘Chop Chop’ Corley, 28-2-1, in a WBC World welterweight title eliminator. For some reason, in his next fight in another eliminator, he stopped Henry ‘El Nitro’ Bruseles, 21-2-1.
Then he stopped WBC super lightweight champion Arturo ‘Thunder’ Gatti, 39-6, for his third division world title. Then in a non-title fight, he defeated Shamba ‘Little Big Man’ Mitchell, 56-4.
Next, in April of 2006, Mayweather won his fourth division world title defeating IBF welterweight champion Zab Judah, 34-3. Two fights later, he took his fifth division world title, defeating Oscar ‘Golden Boy’ De La Hoya, 38-4, by split decision. In his first defense, he stopped former IBF light welterweight champion Ricky ‘The Hit Man’ Hatton, 43-0.
Mayweather made three defenses in defeating former three-division world champion Juan ‘Dinamita’ Carlos Marquez, 50-4-1, ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley, 46-5, and stopped WBC world welterweight champion ‘Vicious’ Victor Ortiz, 29-2-2.
Then Mayweather defeated WBA light middleweight champion Miguel ‘Junito’ Cotto, 37-2. Two fights later, he defeated in what I felt he won every round over WBC light middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, 42-0-1, by majority decision.
In Mayweather’s next fight, he won another close, if not disputed, majority decision over Marcos ‘El Chino’ Maidana, 35-3. In the rematch, there was no doubt he won.
In Mayweather’s next fight, he defeated another multi-division champion Manny ‘Pac Man’ Pacquiao, 57-5-2. Then he equaled Marciano’s 49-0 record defeating former WBC and IBF world welterweight champion then WBA world interim champion Andre Berto, 30-3.
Then Mayweather made one of the biggest mistakes of his career taking on MMA champion Connor ‘Notorious’ McGregor, who never had a professional fight.
For nine rounds, he averaged three punches and landed a round before unloading on him in the tenth round, stopping him. He finished his career with a 50-0 record with 27 knockouts. Money wise it was a success but not to his career that ended after this fight.
There you have it. Leonard was an offensive master, and Mayweather a defensive master.