Boxing


The fighters that Floyd Mayweather Jr. didn’t face

floyd mayweather jr13.08.07 - By Adrian Saba: He is the P4P King since 2005, when Hopkins was losing his bout against Jermain Taylor and Jones was already out of the Top10, and nobody can negate the fact that he has had a great career and is a future Hall of Famer. Floyd Mayweather has done a brilliant job in climbing weight classes, and winning titles in all of them; he has wins over exceptional fighters (Corrales, Castillo, De la Hoya) and has been defeating contenders through many weight classes.

You could say that he has beaten the best at 130, at 135, 147 and 154 –not at 140-, but…what fighters he could have fought to make his resume even better? In every weight division he fought there has been one fighter that Mayweather missed. Of course he didn’t duck those fighters (well, nobody knows), but at the end of the day he did not face them.

Before continuing with the list, let me start a brief digression. I am not denying that Mayweather is one of the greats. He is…but, like many other greats before him, he unintentionally left some unfinished business. He’s not the only one…even the greatest boxers left unfinished business: Ray Robinson didn’t fight Charley Burley; Roberto Duran didn’t fight Aaron Pryor; Heavyweight great Lennox Lewis didn’t fight Wladimir Klitschko; Thomas Hearns didn’t fight Mike McCallum, etc.

Jr. Lightweight: Joel Casamayor. If there is one division that Mayweather completely dominated, it’s 130. He virtually cleaned the division, except for one man, and that man is Casamayor. The Cuban appeared in the Jr. Lightweight scene in 2000, when he captured the WBA title, and meanwhile Mayweather was beating the best in that division. Casamayor’s competition at 130 was never stellar, but he became the top contender at the end of Floyd’s reign (when he ad portas of a fight with Jose Luis Castillo). Who would have been the winner of Mayweather-Casamayor? Mayweather easily destroyed Diego Corrales and defeated Jose Luis Castillo, while Casamayor had a competitive trilogy against Corrales and was defeated by Castillo. And one more thing: Mayweather is just better in most aspects. That makes me belief that Mayweather would have defeated Casamayor.

Lightweight: Paul Spadafora. Mayweather moved up to Lightweight and directly faced the best fighter: Castillo. There were two other fighters in the elite of that division: Paul Spadafora and Leonard Dorin (see The Ring ratings). The Lightweight division of 2002 was a lax one, and without a doubt the current one is better. Spadafora gave Floyd hell in a –meaningless- 1999 sparring session, and that is still commented by many: “if he applied the same pressure in a real fight, he could’ve beaten Floyd.” Spadafora faced a real test in 2003 against Dorin, in a fight that ended in draw. Most think that Dorin won that fight and Spadafora was received a gift. Dorin was later KOed in two rounds by Arturo Gatti. Spadafora didn’t do much after that fight.

Light Welterweight: Ricky Hatton. When Floyd arrived to 140, the division was under the rule of a veteran Champion, Kostya Tszyu, and then it was subjugated by Ricky Hatton. Since the last months of 2005, Mayweather-Hatton became the mega fight that most fans wanted to see, but Ricky wanted to have success in America before facing Mayweather, and the rest is history. Now that fight is a reality, although not at 140. We will watch Mayweather-Hatton in December.

Welterweight: Antonio Margarito. The context of the Welterweight division, when Mayweather arrived to it, was different from today…it was becoming deep, but wasn’t deep yet; the Top3 fighters were: an improbable lineal Champ, Carlos Baldomir, a long-time contender, Antonio Margarito, and a still dangerous former Champ, Zab Judah. Mayweather has been highly criticized for fighting Judah and Baldomir and not Margarito. The climax of this was when he was offered 8 million to fight Margarito last year. The Mexican struggled against Joshua Clottey and then lost to the young, talented and vigorous Paul Williams. Now a combat against Mayweather seems unlikely, but that would have proved a lot in 2006.

Light Middleweight: Cory Spinks. The most recognisable names at 154 were Oscar de la Hoya, Cory Spinks and probably also Roman Karmazin. Fighting Oscar was the best option at 154: he was a beltholder, he was still in formidable shape (as he demonstrated in the fight) and he is boxing’s superstar. Spinks beat Karmazin, so I would say that he is the only relevant fighter that Mayweather could challenge at 154, especially since the Taylor-Spinks debacle (it was a debacle for Taylor). Would it be a boring fight? Yes. Is it necessary? No, but it would make Mayweather’s record even richer.

Article posted on 13.08.2007



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