December 2, 2022
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Five fights that shaped Floyd Mayweather’s Hall of Fame career

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As the greatest of his era is inducted into The International Boxing Hall of Fame, we take a look at five of his greatest moments in a career littered with them.

CANASTOTA, NY—This weekend will mark the largest induction ceremony in the history of the International Boxing Hall of Fame and it seems only fitting that the best of the best top the class: Floyd “Money” Mayweather.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hall of Fame had to postpone the induction ceremonies for the 2020 and 2021 HOF classes. So, they’ll join the Class of 2021 with Mayweather and other greats.

Mayweather had to wait a year to be formally inducted, but the all-time great showed his gratitude.

“It is a great honor for me to be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame as a first-ballot nominee and a member of the 2021 class,” Mayweather said. “Throughout my career, I gave everything I could to the sport of boxing, and now, to be recognized by one of the most prestigious honors in the sport for that hard work and dedication is very humbling.”

What got Mayweather here?

He beat the best of his time.

Here are five fights that placed Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs) among the best of all-time (an interesting caveat is that three of the five were undefeated when Mayweather beat them; the other two are in or headed to the Hall of Fame).

5
DIEGO CORRALES

Date: January 20, 2001

Location: MGM Grand, Las Vegas

At stake: Mayweather’s WBC super featherweight title

Records at the time: Mayweather 24-0 (18 KOs), Corrales 33-0 (27 KOs)

Result: Mayweather KO 10 (2:19)

Significance: This was a bona fide super fight. At the time, Ring Magazine rated Corrales number five pound-for-pound, Mayweather was number seven. The late Corrales was a monstrous, rangy 5-foot-10½ junior lightweight with one-punch power in both hands. “Chico” entered the fight on a three-fight knockout spree, stopping in order, Derrick Gainer in three, Justin Juuko in 10 and Angel Manfredy in three. Some pundits questioned if Mayweather could withstand the kind of power the undefeated Corrales would bring.

By fight night, HBO’s unofficial scales had Corrales entering the ring at 146 pounds. It didn’t matter. Mayweather had him swatting at air, and the times he stood his ground, he made Corrales eat left hooks, straight rights and jabs. By the seventh, Corrales was totally bewildered. Two left hooks dropped Corrales the first two times in the seventh and a combination of shots spelled the third knockdown in the round. In the seventh, Mayweather connected with 78 percent of his shots—39 out of 50. In contrast, Corrales landed three of five. In the 10th, a left hook put Corrales down a fourth time, and a straight right was the cause for knockdown number five when Corrales’ corner saw enough and finished it—much to the chagrin of Corrales, who vehemently protested to his corner that he was able to continue behind a smashed face.

4
OSCAR DE LA HOYA

Date: May 5, 2007

Location: MGM Grand, Las Vegas

At stake: De La Hoya’s WBC super welterweight title

Records at the time: Mayweather 37-0 (24 KOs), De La Hoya 38-4 (30 KOs)

Result: Mayweather SD (116-112, 115-113, 113-115)

Significance: This is the victory that arguably made Mayweather a superstar. De La Hoya was considered the A-side then but the brash Mayweather showed him little respect, antagonizing “The Golden Boy” during their press tour and outshining him on HBO’s “24-7” documentary series. The build-up to the fight, which Mayweather carried, led to a then-record 2.4 million pay-per-views. 

As far as the fight itself, some questioned if De La Hoya might pose too large a threat to Mayweather at 154. But Mayweather made an accurate prediction entering this fight: De La Hoya would fade as the fight wore on. And he did. In rounds nine and 10, De La Hoya was unable to elude Mayweather’s single lefts and rights. The times De La Hoya tried coming at Mayweather, he missed completely, while Mayweather effectively countered the withering De La Hoya with hard rights. Mayweather won a belt in his fifth weight class (154 pounds), an achievement done by fighters late in their careers. He was just 30. Mayweather also grabbed the mantle from De La Hoya as the best boxer of his time. “It was easy work for me,” Mayweather said afterward. “He was rough and tough, but he couldn’t beat the best.”

3
RICKY HATTON

Date: December 8, 2007

Location: MGM Grand, Las Vegas

At stake: Mayweather’s WBC welterweight title

Records at the time: 38-0 (24 KOs), Hatton 43-0 (31 KOs)

Result: Mayweather KO 10 (1:35)

Significance: Having just beaten De La Hoya, this was Mayweather’s second straight mega pay-per-view event, establishing him as far and away the biggest box office star in the sport. Hatton, the unbeaten two-division champ, was coming off a stoppage win over Jose Luis Castillo (a man who took Mayweather the distance twice) and believed he was the man to dethrone “Pretty Boy” Floyd. 

The fight was in Mayweather’s backyard, the familiar MGM Grand Garden Arena before a sold-out crowd of 16,459. But for Mayweather, he may have had the feel of an away team combatting Britain’s favorite pugilist under the constant haranguing of throaty chants by the overwhelmingly British crowd. It didn’t take long for Mayweather to exert his dominance. By the third, he had opened a cut over Hatton’s right eye. By the eighth, Mayweather had Hatton all twisted up, not knowing where he was coming from. By the 10th, the frustrated Hatton was there for the taking. Mayweather uncorked a beautiful “check hook” which sent Hatton crashing into the turnbuckle before he hit the mat. Hatton was out on his feet by the time referee Joe Cortez allowed the action to resume. With 1:32 left in the 10th, Mayweather banged Hatton with two more resounding left hooks against the ropes, and in a delayed, cartoonish reaction, the Brit fell down in a heap and moved Cortez to wave it over. 

2
SAUL “CANELO” ALVAREZ

Date: September 14, 2013

Location: MGM Grand, Las Vegas

At stake: Alvarez’s WBA/WBC super welterweight titles

Records at the time: Mayweather 44-0 (26 KOs), Alvarez 42-0-1 (30 KOs)

Result: Mayweather MD (116-112, 117-111, 114-114)

Significance: This is a victory that ages well with time as Alvarez enters the realm of the all-time greats. The 36-year-old Mayweather had already seen better days, and now he was moving up to challenge a hungry 23-year-old many believed was the next king of boxing. The matchup of superstars drew 2.2 million pay-per-views. What they witnessed was another masterclass from “TBE.” 

Each time Alvarez tried loading up and punching, Mayweather wasn’t there. “Money” baffled his younger foe, peppering him with jabs, strafing straight rights and left hooks. If no one knew any better, they would swear the ages should have been reversed, with the older fighter looking far younger than his years, and younger fighter made to look old and hesitant. It was a dominant performance, even though one judge inexplicably scored the one-sided bout a draw. To this day, Alvarez says the Mayweather loss made him a better fighter.

1
Manny Pacquiao

Date: May 2, 2015

Location: MGM Grand, Las Vegas

At stake: Mayweather’s WBA/WBC welterweight titles; Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight title

Records at the time: Mayweather 47-0 (26 KOs), Pacquiao 57-5-2 (38 KOs)

Result: Mayweather UD (116-112, 116-112, 118-110)

Significance: This was Mayweather’s crowning moment and he made it look easy. The world—and not just the boxing world—had waited, and waited, and waited for this megafight to happen. Five years in total. When it finally did, it turned out to be the richest box-office smash of all-time, generating a record 4.6 million pay-per-view buys, which still stands at number one, and more than $400 million in revenue. Those figures blew out the previous best by nearly double for PPV buys and for highest PPV revenue. It was a global event along the lines of Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier I. As for the fight itself, the world watched another Mayweather virtuoso performance. By achieving the legacy victory, it stamped Mayweather as the best fighter of the decade and crowned him the best of his era. Mayweather and Pacquiao had beaten five common Hall of Fame opponents: Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez and Shane Mosley. Beating Pacquiao placed Mayweather in that rarified all-time great realm. 

They say numbers don’t lie. Get a whiff of these figures: Mayweather landed 34 percent of his punches to Pacquiao’s 19 percent; Pacquiao landed just 81 punches; Mayweather landed 81 power punches alone. Pacquiao landed in double figures in only three rounds, while Mayweather pounded Pacquiao at least 10 times in nine rounds. “He’s a hell of a fighter. I take my hat off to Manny Pacquiao,” Mayweather said. “Now I see why he’s one of the guys at the pinnacle.”

Yet Mayweather stands alone. 





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