Can Anyone Beat Floyd Mayweather Jr.?
By Chris Ackerman (October 15, 2005) Part II: Hatton, Cotto, Tsyzu 
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Athletic phenomenons come along every so often and during their reign at the peak of their sport, they seem untouchable. Such is particularly true of the sweet science, the main difference being the path of decline. Great fighters seldom burn out slowly but are rather vanquished first by deterioration of physical prowess and then by a foe looking to take over the throne.

When a true superstar with elite skills, incredible gifts and absolute dedication emerges and cements himself on the scene, the question for promoters, odds-makers and fans is whether they can be beat, or at least which opponent would put up the best fight. Floyd Mayweather Junior is such an athlete who has elevated himself far above any of his contemporaries in the ring. Ranked number one pound for pound on any credible list, he is so superior to every other currently active fighter that slots two and three ought to remain empty. The question then is, can anyone beat him?

Before we embark on this discussion in any detail, a few ground rules should be laid out. Analysis will be of realistic opponents Floyd might actually face. A match-up with Samuel Peter is never going to happen. There were serious talks of a fight with Ronald “Winky” Wright and therefore, he will be used to determine the upper limit in weight class of potential opponents for Mayweather. In his last outing, Wright fought at 160 lbs. and has signed on for another middleweight contest later this year. Still, Wright is more suited to junior middleweight and there would likely have been some variety of catch weight agreement had the fight with Floyd been made. Only fighters south of middleweight will be considered; that is 154 and below, inclusive.

In addition, this is a discussion of fights that could realistically happen, and therefore only currently active fighters will be considered. The answer to how Floyd would have fared against a prime Roberto Duran or Pernell Whitaker will never be answered and is one for another forum. Our amended question is this: Can any currently active fighter from 140 to 154 inclusive, beat Floyd Mayweather Jr.?
‘Pretty Boy’ has found a comfortable home at junior welterweight and therefore this seems a convenient place to begin. It is fair to allow a couple of lightweights into the equation however, since both could support the extra weight without difficulty, they gave us the fight of the decade earlier this year and they both have history with Mayweather. I am referring of course to Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo.

The Candidates---140 lbs


Diego Corrales-

Chico is a very tall fighter and in spite of being thin as well, his frame could handle another five pounds and it might even add some resilience to his already impressive skill set. This is not to suggest Corrales is a soft touch. He is an incredibly tough fighter with heart galore…but that is part of the problem. He might be one of those guys who is too tough for his own good. He is easy to hit, as his opponents prove repeatedly, but usually wins anyway because of his bone-crushing power. Diego used this get out of jail free card to thrilling effect against Castillo earlier this year but tipped his hand in the process and was taken out convincingly in the rematch.

Against Corrales, Floyd Mayweather showed the world, in a scintillating display, that speed kills. There was no answer coming from Chico and after five knockdowns he’d even forgotten the question. The corner came in, saved their fighter from further abuse, and in spite of his outrage they would have to do it again if a rematch with Floyd was ever made.

Jose Luis Castillo-

No fighter has given Mayweather anywhere near the kind of trouble Castillo did in their two fights. Both times, Floyd deserved and got the win but it was relatively close in each and naturally some controversy and questions were raised. In fact, CompuBox analysis of the first clash indicates Castillo threw and landed more punches throughout the fight than Mayweather. Obviously that doesn’t tell the entire story but it is a huge credit to the Mexican star that he was able to connect against an opponent most only catch fleeting glimpses of.

A couple of interesting points come up in discussing Floyd’s efforts against Jose Luis Castillo. First, there were issues concerning the frailty of Mayweather’s hands and this has been cited before and since as contributing to a lackluster performance. It is true he has had some chronic issues with the fists, but the degree to which it effected him in these two outings is anyone’s guess. It is at least as likely that Castillo is just an ultra tough, aggressive fighter and cognizant of this fact, Floyd opted for caution rather than engagement. Either way the spectators responded with boos…but Mayweather won the fights.

The second interesting note is that Mayweather, a flashy, stylish type fighter, went for the rematch against the first guy to give him real problems. Rather than move on to the next big payday, Floyd knew he had questions to answer and business to attend to. He may not have gone to war in the rematch, but that shows brains. The fact that he went to the rematch at all, that shows guts.

What got Castillo through the fights with Mayweather is a combination of things aside from just ability as a fighter. Castillo has a face and head made of cast iron. It took ten rounds of thunder punctuated by a perfect and ferocious left hook to put him on the canvas for the first time in his career; and that was against one of the pound for pound hardest punchers in the sport in Diego Corrales. Floyd doesn’t hit anywhere near that hard and really had no other option than to stick and move. Also, Castillo was the larger man and just prior to their rematch, weighed in at 147 to Mayweather’s 138. Should these two complete the trilogy, it would again go the distance but it will either be a wipeout on the cards since Floyd has all but erased the size discrepancy, or another boring boxing lesson.

Questions or comments,
Chris at: Chris Ackerman
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