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 The five best boxers Floyd Mayweather faced in the ring

Floyd Mayweather against Manny Pacquiao (top), Floyd Mayweather against Saul Alvarez (bottom)
Floyd Mayweather against Manny Pacquiao (top), Floyd Mayweather against Saul Alvarez (bottom)
ANALYST
Modified 08 Apr 2021
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Boxing legend Floyd Mayweather recently revealed his picks for the greatest boxers of all time.

Of course, Floyd Mayweather crowned himself the best ever by putting his name ahead of everyone else in his rankings. He then named Panama's Roberto Duran in second place, American Pernell Whitaker third, Mexican star Julio Cesar Chavez fourth, and boxing icon Muhammad Ali last.

Floyd Mayweather's five greatest opponents

Recently, all Floyd Mayweather seems to care about are exhibition matches with giant paydays. He was supposed to face YouTube star Logan Paul earlier this year but the fight was postponed due to undisclosed reasons. Floyd Mayweather's last two fights came against kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa and UFC superstar Conor McGregor.

But in his heyday, Floyd Mayweather had engaged in several classic battles with boxers, who are all-time greats in their own right. Listed below are the five greatest opponents that Floyd Mayweather fought in the boxing ring:

#5 Miguel Cotto

Miguel Cotto v Sadaam Ali
Miguel Cotto v Sadaam Ali

Miguel Cotto became the first boxer from Puerto Rico to win world titles in four different weight divisions. In 2007 and 2009 Cotto was recognized by The Ring Magazine as the seventh best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

No other fighter pushed Floyd Mayweather to the limit like Miguel Cotto did in May 2012. Mayweather is notoriously famous for effectively avoiding his opponent's offense but Cotto was able to land some heavy shots that made blood jet down Mayweather's nose early in the fight.

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Miguel Cotto bothered Floyd Mayweather with his left jab, which he consistently landed to generate some offense. The Puerto Rican also gave Mayweather a tough time adjusting to his style. Towards the end of the fight, it looked like Mayweather was having as tough a time as he was during the early rounds.

No doubt Mayweather displayed absolute brilliance during his fight with Cotto. His victory, however, did not come without him having to work hard for it.


#4 Shane Mosley

BKB 2 Live From Mandalay Bay In Las Vegas
BKB 2 Live From Mandalay Bay In Las Vegas

Throughout his career, "Sugar" Shane Mosely collected multiple world titles including IBF lightweight title; the WBA super welterweight and WBC welterweight titles; and Ring Magazine light middleweight title. In 1998, the Boxing Writers Association of America named Mosely as Fighter of the Year.

Shane Mosley gave Floyd Mayweather one of the most action-packed fights of his career. In a rare occurrence, Mayweather took on the role of aggressor as he consistently pressed forward against Shane Mosley.

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Mayweather ultimately picked up the unanimous decision win, but Mosley was able to give him a run for his money. In round two, Mosley was able to connect with a huge right hand that forced Mayweather to initiate the clinch. In the same round, he buckled Mayweather with a right hook counter.


#3 Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez

Canelo Alvarez v Sergey Kovalev
Canelo Alvarez v Sergey Kovalev

Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez started boxing professionally at the tender age of 15. Today, he is among the biggest stars in boxing and arguably the best active fighter, pound-for-pound. Saul Alvarez has collected multiple world titles in four different weight classes.

In his most recent outing, he jumped up two weight divisions and knocked out Sergey Kovalev in the 11th round. In 2018, Alvarez defeated Gennady Golovkin in a rematch after their initial fight had ended through a controversial decision.

Floyd Mayweather fought Alvarez way before he was the superstar that he is today. But even then, 'Canelo' was able to hang with Floyd Mayweather in the early rounds, thanks to his technical prowess.

As the fight went on, Alvarez's inexperience was exposed and he got exhausted in the the later rounds. Floyd Mayweather picked up the majority-decision victory, becoming the only man to hand the Mexican superstar a defeat.


#2 Oscar De La Hoya

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Boxing Press Conference with Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin
Boxing Press Conference with Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin

Oscar De La Hoya is one of the most popular boxers in history. In his 16-year career, De La Hoya won 11 world championships in six different weight divisions. Today, 'Golden Boy' is still active in the boxing scene, but no long as a fighter but as a promoter.

The hype level for the mega-bout between Floyd Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya was at an all-time high. Weeks before they met in the ring, HBO aired a De La Hoya-Mayweather 24/7 show that gave fans an exclusive look inside the stars' camps.

Unfortunately, the fight did not live up to expectations as the two legends of the ring turned in a lackluster show. While Alvarez was too young when he faced 'Money', Oscar De La Hoya was past his prime when he squared off against Floyd Mayweather in 2007. In the end, Mayweather earned the win in a close split decision.

#1 Manny Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao v Keith Thurman
Manny Pacquiao v Keith Thurman

Manny Pacquiao is one of the most dominant boxing champions of the past decade. The Filipino is the only boxer in history to win world titles in eight different weight divisions.

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Still semi-active today, 'Pac-Man' has won 12 world titles throughout his pro-boxing career. Pacquiao was also named 'Fighter of the Decade' for the 2000s by the BWAA, World Boxing Council (WBC), and World Boxing Organization (WBO). He also claimed Ring Magazine's 'Fighter of the Year' honors in 2006, 2008, and 2009.

In arguably the most anticipated matchup of all time, Floyd Mayweather squared off against Manny Pacquiao in 2015. However, the bout that was referred to as the "Fight of the Century" did not live up to its billing, as it resulted in a lop-sided unanimous decision victory for Floyd Mayweather.

Also Read: Floyd Mayweather's Career Earnings

Published 30 Mar 2021, 22:04 IST
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