History | Jan 20 2020

On This Day: Floyd Mayweather dazzles against Diego Corrales

James Slater tells the story behind one of Floyd Mayweather's greatest performances
Floyd Mayweather vs Diego Corrales
Floyd Mayweather vs Diego Corrales  |  Action Images/Reuters/Steve Marcus

ON THIS DAY in 2001, a 23-year-old Floyd Mayweather, campaigning as a super-featherweight, met tall gunslinger Diego Corrales. What followed was, some experts say, Mayweather’s finest performance.

The anticipated thriller took place at The MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and “Pretty Boy,” as Mayweather Jnr was then known, defended his WBC super-featherweight title against the big-hitting warrior known as “Chico.”  The expected tough night for Floyd did not materialise. Instead, the bout turned out to be a one-sided beat-down in the favour of the unbeaten master from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Sporting a 24-0 record, Mayweather shone like never before. The tall and ultra-dangerous Corrales was coming off an impressive third-round stoppage of Angel Manfredy, and the undefeated 22-year-old  who was 33-0 had won six of his last seven by KO. The former IBF 126-pound ruler (title never lost in the ring), was widely expected to give the flashy, superbly-skilled Mayweather his toughest test yet. Some fans even went further, comparing the upcoming fight to the 1981 welterweight classic between Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns. Instead, though we saw a classic performance, no great fight was witnessed.