With Floyd Mayweather Jr. continuing his run of exhibition fights Sunday against YouTuber Deji at the Coca Cola Arena in Dubai, and live on DAZN PPV , DAZN's Akin Reyes looks back at the eight most meaningful victories of the Hall of Famer’s career.
Becoming world champion against Genaro Hernandez; October 1998
Mayweather’s first world title fight. This is obviously every fighter’s dream to fight for a world title, especially fighters who have been pursuing it since they’ve been a kid. So, that’s the first most meaningful win. Hernandez was a fighter who was 38-1, a very incredible fighter, a real champ.
TKO of Diego Corrales; January 2001
Even more meaningful than the Hernandez win was the Diego Corrales win because Mayweather was fighting a 33-0 undefeated Corrales who was a knockout artist at the time. And this was Floyd's first breakout fight so to speak. This is when the world knew, ‘OK, he’s not just an Olympian. He’s not just a son of a fighter and a nephew of a former champ. He is the real deal. He is special because he made it look easy.'
Growing up in Gleason’s Gym (in Brooklyn, New York) as a youngster, I remember a lot of people were saying that ‘Corrales is going to knock Floyd out! Floyd is just a flashy boxer. He’s not ready for a killer like Corrales.’ And Floyd made it look easy. That was his breakout performance.
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Leaving no doubts with unanimous decision over Jose Luis Castillo in rematch; December 2002
That second one was the exclamation point on a fighter. He did this later on in his career. When people questioned the first one — some felt like Castillo won — Floyd didn’t want any question marks when it came to Castillo so he ran it right back and beat him convincingly the second fight. So that was a real meaningful win.
Outclassing Zab Judah; April 2006
A lot of people would say Arturo Gatti but nobody going into that fight felt like Gatti even had a chance. The reason why I say Zab Judah is because Zab is the guy who was just as athletic as him — maybe even a little bit more athletic — maybe faster, a very slick fighter. Here’s a guy that people were saying ‘OK, now he’s meeting his match.’ Yes, he had a history of issues in and out the ring and maybe not being 100 percent prepared but when it came to skill and athleticism, he was neck and neck with Floyd.
So people were saying ‘OK this is a real test.’ Corrales was slow, not as skilled. Here’s a guy who can actually beat him and we all saw what happened early in that fight. Zab was winning rounds early but the greatness in Floyd came out into later rounds and was able to dominate rest of that fight.
Changing the fight game against Oscar De La Hoya; May 2007
It was the first time that (HBO’s) "24/7" was introduced to the world leading up to that fight. So that fight and that promotion changed the game forever when it comes to boxing. It changed the game forever as far as coverage and promoting a fight in a different way — a series where people would actually tune in to see a day in the life of camp of Floyd Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya.
That fight was so meaningful to boxing. Not only because Floyd is fighting an all-time great like Oscar and a lot of people are going into that fight thinking Oscar would beat Floyd, but the fact that that was the last time that Floyd was the ‘B’ side in a fight, in a promotion.
Overcoming adversity against Shane Mosley; May 2010
That’s the first time we’ve ever seen Floyd vulnerable in a fight in the second round where he was actually hurt twice. The condition that he has, it’s so superb and second to none, where he was able to recover in that same round and actually win the last 50 seconds of that round convincingly and came back and dominated every round after. When we talk about meaningful wins, facing adversity that we never seen and the way that he dealt with it and dominated after, this win showed that.
Proving greatness against Canelo Alvarez; September 2013
Mayweather was just coming off beating Robert Guerrero and he had a six-fight deal with Showtime at the time so he had five fights left. We all knew what Canelo brought to the table — young 23-year-old savage. At the time, we were like ‘There’s no way in hell Floyd is going to take this Canelo fight. He has five fights left on his contract. No way.’ I was shocked that Floyd even took that fight.
I was like ‘Wow, Floyd does believe in his greatness. He will fight this young kid at this point in his career.’ Obviously, Floyd had the experience but listen, the way he was able to beat a young Canelo, I don’t think anybody seen it coming in the manner that he did it.
That win off Canelo was so meaningful because in hindsight, look at what Canelo has become. Look at how he has dominated the sport since then. He’s an all-time great which shows you how great Floyd Mayweather really is. It’s another exclamation point on why he’s so great — look at what he did to Canelo.
Unanimous decision over Manny Pacquiao; May 2015
I’d get killed if I don’t say Pacquiao but to me, there was no way in hell Pacquiao was going to beat Floyd Mayweather. Not that version of Mayweather. When Floyd was a younger fighter, Floyd took more risks, he threw more shots and he was in the line of fire more. With Pacquiao's style, he had more of a chance of landing a big shot and hurting a younger Floyd.
But that Floyd was too smart, too careful and knew how to pace himself, pick his shots and just win. Floyd was able to beat Manny Pacquiao easily.