MANY have tried, all have failed. Floyd Mayweather’s unbeaten record is still intact. Some have come close, mind, and there’s a few who claim they deserved the decision against the boxer who fancifully claims to be “TBE” – The Best Ever.
Perhaps the strongest claimant to blemishing Mayweather’s perfect ledger is tough Mexican Jose Luis Castillo who gave Floyd hell for 12 hard rounds back in 2002.
HBO’s esteemed unofficial judge gave Castillo seven of the 12 rounds, with one even.
Fast forward five years to the biggest and most lucrative fight in history, at the time. And “The Golden Boy” Oscar De La Hoya became the only boxer to ever have beaten Mayweather in the eyes of an official judge.
Tom Kaczmarek saw De La Hoya a winner by 115-113, while the other two (Jerry Roth and Chuck Giampa) had it for Mayweather, 115-113 and 116-112 respectively.
De La Hoya started brightly and aggressively, but faded down the stretch as Floyd took over. This fight still splits opinion today.
Floyd’s own father, Floyd Snr was quoted as saying: “I thought Oscar won the fight on points, threw more punches and was more aggressive. My son had good defense and caught a lot of punches but Oscar pressed enough to win the fight.”
More recently Mayweather has gone on record to concede the Puerto Rican warrior, Miguel Cotto gave him his hardest fight in May 2012. “You’re the toughest guy I ever fought,” said a bloodied Floyd at the final bell.
Floyd battled Argentine hardman Marcos Maidana twice in 2014. The first fight was the closest and most competitive (majority decision). “I feel I was robbed. I feel I won,” Maidana said afterwards. But Mayweather put on a clinic in the rematch to win comfortably on points.
So, how to beat Floyd Mayweather?
Well-respected Scottish trainer Billy Nelson attempts to make sense of Mayweather’s ring artistry, in his own words.
“How do you beat Floyd Mayweather? With great difficulty! His weaknesses are very minimal. You have to try to nullify his speed and get him off balance, if at all possible. I’d target his body, because he’s 40-odd now and he’s been quite inactive.
“I’d focus on defence. You have to make sure your head movement is spot on, so you can roll under his punches. You have to counter-punch one of the game’s best counter-punchers. It’s like reverse psychology almost. Shots have to be thrown in fours and fives, as you can’t get away with throwing ones and twos. Mixing a lot of feints into your work is important as well.
“If you pick the wrong shots, Mayweather will rip you to pieces with his speed. He’s got fantastic accuracy. When he fought Arturo Gatti, he threw about 700 punches and his success rate was 81 per cent.”
Over to you, Conor.