Floyd Mayweather is one of the greatest boxers to have ever lived. Having retired with a perfect 50-0 record and having conquered champions across five different weightclasses, Mayweather's boxing legacy is indisputable.
Manny Pacquiao, Canelo Alvarez, Diego Corrales, Oscar De La Hoya, Mayweather's iconic win column is adorned with some of the greatest fighters of his era.
Having established himself with a villainous 'Money' persona in the latter half of his career, the Michigan-born boxer, despite not possessing the most eye-catching style, was the most watched fighter on pay-per-view. Mayweather brought in millions of fans to watch his bouts, with countless detractors aching and praying that each passing bout would be the one to slash away his famous 0.
Whether fans loved him or hated him, they all paid to see Floyd Mayweather fight.
This list will examine 5 reasons why the five-division world champion was so dominant inside the ring and what made him so unstoppable.
#5. Bloodline: Floyd Mayweather was surrounded by boxing from an early age
It can be said that Floyd Mayweather was destined to become an all-time great boxer from the day he was born. The legend from Grand Rapids, Michigan was surrounded by the sweet science while he was still in the crib.
Floyd was born into the Mayweather family, a notable boxing family that consisted of his father, Floyd Sr., and his two uncles, Roger and Jeff Mayweather.
While Floyd Sr. and Jeff never managed to capture major world titles, both men fought legends during their respective careers. Floyd Sr. battled a young 'Sugar' Ray Leonard, losing via TKO to the Olympic gold medalist in the tenth round. Jeff fought and lost to a rising Oscar De La Hoya but also managed to win the IBO Super Featherweight Championship during his nine-year career.
Roger Mayweather, known as the 'Black Mamba', was the only one of the three brothers to capture world titles in two weight classes. In 1983, he won the WBA and Ring Magazine Super Featherweight Titles. After losing the belts in 1984, Roger would battle for the WBC Super Featherweight Championship against Mexican legend Julio Cesar Chavez. The 'Black Mamba' fell against the mighty Chavez in the second round.
In 1987, Roger Mayweather won the WBC Light Welterweight Championship before losing the title to Chavez in a 1989 rematch. He also won the IBO and IBA Welterweight Titles during the latter stages of his career, before retiring with a 59-13 record in 1999.
With such experienced veterans around him relentlessly pushing him from an early age, especially his father, it was only a matter of fate for Floyd Mayweather to achieve the boxing greatness that he did. From his first day on earth, boxing was destined to be his life. A young Mayweather took boxing so seriously that he dropped out of high school in order to fully embrace the art and craft of the sweet science.
Under the direct tutelage of his uncle Roger and father Floyd Sr. at various points in his professional career, Floyd Mayweather went on to defeat the best of his era and become the top star in the sport.
#4. Reach: Mayweather had very long arms and knew how to use them
Not only was Floyd Mayweather a tremendous athlete, he also possessed one physical attribute that greatly benefitted his style of fighting: a freakishly long reach.
While only standing at five feet and eight inches (173 cm), 'Money' possesses a reach of 72 inches (183 cm), an outrageous trait for someone of Mayweather's height and stature.
To put things into perspective, Andre Ward, a boxing great who dominated the super middleweight (168lbs) and light heavyweight (175 lbs) divisions, possessed a 71 inch reach while standing six feet tall. Boxing's current top superstar, Canelo Alvarez, is a similar height to Mayweather and holds a reach a little over 70 inches. Canelo's last fight was at 175 lbs against light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol who holds a reach of 72 inches.
With such long arms, Mayweather was able to pepper his opponents at a distance with precise and devastating blows. He was able to throw his foes off their rhythm with textbook jabs to the body and stinging right hands to the chin.
This is not to say 'Money' did not have a brutal inside game. On the contrary, Mayweather was more than able to punish his opponents with tight hooks and uppercuts when they got close.
In the end, having such a lengthy reach only served Mayweather well and helped shape his sharpened and scientific style of boxing.
#3. Speed: Floyd Mayweather was fast, very fast
Floyd Mayweather usually stepped into the boxing ring as the faster puncher.
'Money' had a pair of swift hands and knew how to use them. Early on in his career, the Michigan-born fighter was able to back up his opponents with fiery combinations. As the years went by and as hand injuries piled up, Mayweather's style turned more methodical and relied more on well-timed counters, yet his speed never wavered.
Even as he entered the weltweright (147lbs) and light middleweight (154lbs) weightclasses, Mayweather's speed was always spectacular and always served as a bane for his opponents.
Whether he wanted to launch quick jabs at his opponent's body or land his signature pull-back right hand counter flush on their chin, 'Money' was always able to implement his offense with the precision of a surgeon thanks to his blistering speed.
#2. Dedication: Floyd Mayweather never once lost his drive during his career
Floyd Mayweather embraced the role of a villain during the second half of his career. Due to his boisterous and gaudy attitude while promoting his bouts, and his long and horrid history of domestic abuse towards multiple partners, it was very easy for fans to hate 'Money'.
Mayweather easily played into the bad guy role. He always flaunted his luxurious lifestyle and boasted his rich and lavish ways every chance he could.
However, no matter high his fight earnings reached, no matter how many fancy cars or mansions Mayweather bought, one thing that never went away was his dedication to boxing.
Despite acting like a loudmouth and talking down to many of his foes, Mayweather never took any of his opponents lightly. He always stayed in the gym and remained in superb shape.
#1. Defense: Hitting 'Money' cleanly was nigh impossible
Floyd Mayweather was a defensive master. It can be argued that he was the greatest defensive boxer the sport had ever seen.
From an early age, he was taught the art of landing clean punches without getting hit in return. Throughout his career, especially towards the latter half when he began moving up in weight, 'Money' frustrated his opponents to no end.
Whether it was with his quick feet and ability to dance around his foes, or his amazing talent of standing right in front of his opponent and robbing them of a clear target, Mayweather's spectacular defense was always something to behold.
Wielding the now legendary shoulder roll maneuver, 'Money' was able to block and parry his opponent's most significant punches, even when his back was on the ropes, and counter them with a stinging shot of his own.
It must be noted that there have been other boxers who have tried to use the shoulder roll. Former champions such as Andre Berto and Adrien Broner both attempted to employ the defensive tactic in their respective fights against Robert Guerrero and Marcos Maidana. Both men failed to replicate Mayweather's success and lost in devastating fashion.
While many of his critics slammed him for lacking flashy knockout power during his welterweight run, Floyd Mayweather must be lauded for his ability to keep his opponents at bay with precise shots while avoiding their greatest punches. He made it a habit of lulling explosive firecrackers like Ricky Hatton and Manny Pacquiao into flickering candles.
The five-division world champion introduced a whole new level of art to the sweet science by displaying unwordly defense. Floyd Mayweather's defense and mastery of the game was his greatest asset and will surely be studied by future generations to come.