Ten Years Ago Today: “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather Puts On Punch-Perfect Display Against Diego Corrales!

By James Slater: Floyd Mayweather Junior, still ranked by some people as the best in the sport today Pound-for-Pound, may or may not fight again; but one thing looks doubtful - that “Money” will ever box as superbly as he did exactly ten years ago today.

A full decade ago, at The MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the 23-year-old “Pretty Boy,” as he was then known, defended his WBC super-featherweight title against the late, great Diego “Chico” Corrales. What was expected to be a fairly evenly fought bout turned out to be a one-sided beat-down in the favour of the 23-year-old from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Simply put, the 24-0 star shone like never before. The tall and ultra-dangerous Corrales was coming off an impressive 3rd-round stoppage of Angel Manfredy, and the undefeated 22-year-old (33-0) had won six of his last seven by KO. The former IBF 130-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. What we saw one man’s utter dominance over another at the highest level of the sport. Five times in all the freakishly brave “Chico” hit the man - only to get up and fight back, or try to fight back, on each occasion. Corrales never won a round all night, and in the end, after the fifth knockdown, in the 10th-round, Diego’s corner threw in the towel. As was his warrior nature, Corrales went all-but berserk, chewing out his corner for coming to his rescue.

In actuality, though, Corrales was saved for another day. On this night he was never going to beat Mayweather. Of course, as we all know only too well, no-one has ever beaten Floyd. To this day, at 41-0(25), the man who went on from that seemingly effortless win in January of 2001 to win titles at lightweight, light-welterweight, welterweight and light-middleweight, has yet to be bested.

Back in 2001, when he was making a very good fighter look incredibly ordinary, Mayweather was busy meeting and defeating the best around. Unfortunately, in around 2006 or so, “Money,” as he was now known, began “cherry picking” his opposition. There were accusations of Floyd dodging Antonio Margarito and then, in 2009 or so, fans began accusing Mayweather of making every excuse possible so as to avoid a fight with Manny Pacquiao.

This debate - about whether or not Mayweather has indeed avoided certain fighters - continues to inspire colourful arguments between fans. But what many fight fans will agree on is this: the Floyd Mayweather who out-boxed, out-fought and ultimately destroyed Diego Corrales in 2001 would have definitely beaten a super-featherweight version of Manny Pacquiao.

Back then, Floyd was far more active in the ring, he threw more punches and he was less inclined to allow an opponent to see the final bell. Back then, would Mayweather have been out-worked, even overwhelmed by the dynamo that is Pac-Man? I don’t think so. But the 2001 version of Mayweather was a better, hungrier fighter than today’s version is; where getting out with a win having taken as few risks as possible seems to be “Money’s” main goal.

Will Floyd fight again? Maybe. Will he ever fight as good as he did exactly ten years ago today? No way!

Article posted on 21.01.2011

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