Ranking Floyd Mayweather’s fights is certainly not an easy task. The man fought the best boxers of his generation and made most of them look silly. During the later part of his career, many of his opponents claimed that they had ‘figured him out’, only to be proven wrong in the ring.
In this article, I have listed five of Mayweather’s very best fights in which he put on a boxing clinic.
1. Mayweather vs. Corrales
This was the fight that made the entire boxing world realize just how special a talent Mayweather was. Going into this fight, Mayweather was known as a slick, skilled boxer with fast hands. Nobody, however, thought that he would be able to so thoroughly outclass Corrales, who was taller, rangier, heavier, and stronger than Mayweather and had never been knocked down in his entire career.
Right from the start, Mayweather peppered Corrales with jabs to the body, jabs to the face, left hooks, and lead rights that were devastatingly effective. Since Corrales could not outbox Mayweather, he kept walking towards Mayweather with his right hand loaded up, looking for that one big shot to knock Mayweather out.
Mayweather, however, proved to be too elusive for Corrales. As the fight progressed, Mayweather’s punches took a heavy toll on Corrales, who had trouble keeping his hands up. In the seventh round, Mayweather knocked Corrales down three times, which prompted Harold Lederman to compare Mayweather with Willie Pep.
The fight was stopped in the 10th round when Mayweather knocked down Corrales for the fifth time in the fight, which prompted Corrales’ father to throw the towel.
2. Mayweather vs. Judah
This is one of my favorite Mayweather fights because this was the first time he fought someone who was almost as quick as he was. Moreover, many people believed that Judah, being a southpaw, might be able to trouble Mayweather more than any of his previous opponents.
In the first four rounds, Judah was able to sneak through Mayweather’s guard and land straight lefts to the face and the body. His speed and the awkward angles from which he was throwing punches made it difficult for Mayweather to block and counter like he usually does. In fact, at the end of the fourth round, Mayweather was behind on Lederman’s card, which had never happened before.
From the fifth round onwards, Mayweather started punishing Judah with left hooks and straight rights and managed to block and deflect most of Judah’s lunging straight lefts and hooks. Judah started bleeding from his nose and mouth and became more and more defensive as the fight progressed.
The beating that Judah received from Mayweather in the subsequent rounds was so savage that he resorted to dirty tricks in the 10th round. At the end of the 10th round, Judah landed a low blow and smacked Mayweather in the back of the head, which prompted Roger Mayweather, Floyd’s uncle and trainer, to jump into the ring and confront Judah, which caused a riot-like situation in the ring.
Despite the momentary setback, Mayweather managed to cruise to a unanimous decision, which cemented his position as the best welterweight in the world.
3. Mayweather vs. De La Hoya
This was, quite simply, one of the most anticipated fights in boxing history at the time. Mayweather, who challenged De La Hoya for the super welterweight title, went up in weight to 154 lbs.
De La Hoya started the fight in an aggressive manner, rushing Mayweather into the ropes and unloading hooks to the body. Mayweather, on the other hand, remained calm and kept throwing jabs to break De La Hoya’s rhythm.
De La Hoya, despite having one of the best jabs in the business, was hesitant to throw it, as he was getting countered hard with a right hand from Mayweather every time he tried to do so.
As the fight progressed, De La Hoya tried to be more aggressive and threw punches in bunches, whereas Mayweather picked his moments and responded with crisp, clean counters that hurt De La Hoya.
Towards the end of the fight, De La Hoya was visibly tired and could not stop Mayweather from throwing his jabs and lead right hands at will. As a result, Mayweather managed to win a split decision and became the super welterweight champion of the world.
4. Mayweather vs. Cotto
After the Victor Ortiz fight, which ended in a controversial knockout, Mayweather decided to challenge Miguel Cotto for the super welterweight title.
Cotto put in a surprisingly good effort and managed to rough up Mayweather in the middle rounds and even bloodied his nose. Mayweather, for his part, fought like he always does – using his masterful defense to block or deflect most of the shots thrown by Cotto and throwing hard counters at regular intervals.
In the end, despite a spirited performance by Cotto, Mayweather managed to comfortably win a unanimous decision and added yet another championship belt to his collection.
5. Mayweather vs. Maidana I
This is, in my opinion, the best fight of Mayweather’s career. Maidana was not a celebrated champion like De La Hoya or a strong puncher like Mosley. Yet he managed to give Floyd one of the toughest fights of his career, mostly due to his unorthodox punching style and his tendency to use dirty tactics without the slightest of hesitation.
At the start of the fight, Maidana swarmed Mayweather with a series of powerful left hooks and chopping right hands and roughed him up. As the fight went on, however, Mayweather managed to block and deflect most of Maidana’s punches and counter with hooks and lead right hands aimed at Maidana’s head and midribs.
In the end, as always, Mayweather managed to land more punches with more accuracy than Maidana and ended up with a majority decision win.
What makes this fight the best fight of Mayweather’s career is the fact that Maidana managed to score more punches and land more power punches than any other opponent that Mayweather had faced up until that point in his career.
The most notable aspect of the fight was Mayweather’s ability to remain composed even when Maidana was using all sorts of roughhouse tactics – low blows, punches to the back of the head, elbows, and head butts. He even tried to throw a Muay Thai style knee at one point in the fight! Yet Mayweather managed to stay calm, landed clean, crisp counters at will, and ended up winning the WBA super welterweight title.