Floyd “Money” Mayweather is widely regarded as the greatest pound-for-pound fighter to have ever graced the boxing world. The five division champion is undefeated in his 47 fights and has fought nearly everyone who is anyone in boxing. There is just one man he is left to fight, Manny Pacquiao.
The two have flirted with fighting one another for some time now but nothing has come of it. That is until now. It is widely expected that Mayweather and Pacquiao will finally meet in the ring in 2016. Legendary boxing promoter Bob Arum, who owns the rights to Pacquiao, is hopeful that the fight will take place next year. By all accounts, Pacquiao just needs to beat Chris Algieri, something that he is odds on to do with Betfair, at the end of the month. Pacquiao is the last great opponent Mayweather needs to face. Not only will it be the most lucrative fight in the history of the sport, it could arguably be the greatest fight ever.
So which other fighters could Pacquiao join in Mayweather’s illustrious list of opponents?
Ricky Hatton (2007)
Mayweather and Hatton in the pre-fight press conference by Harry Potts
This could very well be Mayweather’s favourite fight. The atmosphere inside the MGM Grand was something that Vegas had never seen before. Hatton, from Manchester, England, brought over 35,000 fans in support. The choruses of “Walking in a Hatton Wonderland” that pierced the pre-fight weigh-in was something that was alien to boxing, it was far more akin to the world of football. Vegas was in pandemonium for the entirety of the weekend. Never before and never again will we see support of that kind for a boxer. All of the vociferous support for Hatton must have made it all the sweeter for Mayweather when he won via TKO, in the 10th round. Afterwards, Mayweather spoke openly about his respect for Hatton, stating how he had never experienced such a tough foe.
Oscar De La Hoya (2007)
De La Hoya by cliff1066â„¢
The year 2007 was very much the year of “Money”. Before beating Hatton he beat Oscar De La Hoya, in a fight billed as “The World Awaits”. Wait we did and when it happened in May, how we were treated. The two, competing for the WBC Light Middleweight Championship, gave us 12 rounds of hard-hitting, high-octane action. Mayweather eventually prevailed with a split decision; Jerry Roth (115-113) and Chuck Giampa (116-112) scored in his favour while Tom Kaczmarek had De La Hoya as the victor, 115-113. The fight was an absolute belter and it showed that Mayweather was at the next level – of world domination. A rematch was due to take place in 2008 but Floyd had entered into retirement, by the time he came out of retirement in 2009 De La Hoya was far removed from the boxing world.
Saul Alvarez (2013)
Now, it has to be said that the fight is incomparable to the two before. Mayweather came out and made Alvarez look like an amateur. Mayweather literally danced Alvarez around the ring but, as is often the case with Floyd, failed to knock him out. After the 12 rounds, the judges Dave Moretti (116-112) and Craig Metcalfe (117-111) scored the fight in Mayweather’s favour while C.J. Ross scored it as a 114-114 draw. The judges were roundly criticised for scoring the fight far too closely, Mayweather’s margin of victory should have been much larger. The aftermath saw Ross go into retirement. On paper Alvarez looked like Mayweather’s biggest challenge. He had power and pace as well as being unbeaten in his 42 fights. It was not to be. It was billed as a super fight, and although the fight itself was underwhelming the pay per view receipts were not. To date, the fight is the most profitable in boxing history. For his efforts Mayweather earned a record $41.5 million purse.
Zab Judah (2006)
Okay, so not the most of illustrious opponent in the grand scheme of things, but, Mayweather’s bout with Zab Judah does have to go down as his most memorable. Mayweather weathered Judah’s early barrage before coming into the fight into the middle rounds and tagging Judah nicely. Things took a turn for the worse in the 10th round after a Judah low blow and rabbit punch combination. What happened after that can only be described as madness. As the ref called a time out Roger Mayweather came out of his nephew’s corner and approached Judah. Despite being restrained this didn’t stop Yoel Judah – you guessed it, Zab’s father – from entering the ring. What ensued was a melee between Mayweather Sr. and the Judah’s. Once the chaos was concluded Mayweather went onto win the fight by a points decision. Never before and never again will we see such a family affair in boxing.
Marcos Maidana (2014)
Mayweather and Maidana by MULADAR NEWS
Bar De La Hoya, no fighter has come so close to beating Mayweather. Their first fight in May this year was an instant classic. Before the fight was agreed it looked likely that Amir Khan would be the next man to try his luck against Mayweather, but in the end the undefeated boxer opted for the Argentine Marcus Maidana. Considering that Khan had beaten Maidana a few years earlier there were few that gave Maidana a chance. The powerful punching Maidana thought otherwise and proceeded to give Mayweather the most painful 12 rounds of his career. Not even considerable pain could thwart Mayweather though, who eventually came through with a majority decision victory. Sadly for us, the fans, the rematch later in the year was a one sided affair that Mayweather won comfortably.
Miguel Cotto (2012)
Mayweather has said as much himself that Miguel Cotto is the hardest person he has ever faced. Like every fighter who comes up against Mayweather, Cotto threw the kitchen sink at him in the early rounds, but he was unable to land with any major blows due to the brilliance of Mayweather’s defensive work. Nonetheless, where most fighters tire after being danced by Mayweather, Cotto just kept on coming and eventually did start to landing punches; a fair few were square on the chin, which sent the crowd into a frenzy. Somehow Mayweather managed to escape from being cornered in the ropes. When all was said and done though, it was still Mayweather who was unbeaten with victory coming via unanimous decision. A rematch between the pair has now become a familiar thought in the world of boxing.
Mayweather has faced so many boxers that this list can just go on and on. He has beaten Victor Ortiz; albeit controversially, Shane Mosley, Jose Luis Castillo, Juan Manuel Marquez and Carlos Baldomir to name but a few.
All that is missing from this list is Pacquiao. If it happens and Mayweather wins then he has to be remembered as the greatest to have ever set foot in a ring.
Image 2 – https://www.flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago/4438861641/in/photolist-7LfjVg-6QWy3Y-6F5cmV-6WE8w6-6QWG8Y-6WJ8MA-6QSBug-6WE8yF-6WJ8Qw-6QWwxd-6SoRjL-5zTZJA-5GSEAv-6QSAcF-6MtdLX-6QSydP-6WE8E8-6WE8ur-6Sk15R-5H9t9g-8gySrA-7Wddvu-9f4c9g-6x74QZ-3eBvGh-dwRtV