…The Most Exciting Three Minutes Of Floyd’s Career
The knock-on Floyd Mayweather is that he was a pot-shotter, a safety-first operator who was too often more than happy to cruise to the decision win, never going for the KO, never looking to thrill the fans. But this is the later version of Mayweather when he became known as “Money.” Rewind to when Mayweather was calling himself “Pretty Boy,” and it was a different story.
From 130 to 135, to 140 pounds, Mayweather was an aggressive minded fighter, a superb technician who would look to take a guy out, to send the fans home happy. Never was Mayweather more exciting than in his fight with DeMarcus Corley. This fight, Floyd’s 140-pound debut, took place on this day back in 2004, and the fans sure got their money’s worth that night. They also got a Round of the Year candidate.
Mayweather, unbeaten at 31-0, faced southpaw Corley, 28-2-1, and both men saw their chin and heart tested. Fighting in Atlantic City and aiming for a big pay-per-view fight with the sport’s undisputed king of thrills, Arturo Gatti, Mayweather wanted to put on a statement and a show. He managed to accomplish both tasks, with no little help from “Chop Chop.”
Fast, aggressive, and on the front foot, Mayweather was to be hit more frequently than at any other time in his career. Back then, Floyd DID take risks. And so to round four. A classic three minutes of warfare.
Corley, who had tagged Floyd with a left hand to the head in the previous round, was even more successful in the fourth. Cracking Mayweather with a right hand high on the head in the early going of the session, Corley visibly hurt his man, sending Floyd into the ropes. The shot had snapped Mayweather’s head back, and now he had to suck it up. He did so, and more. Corley poured it on, but with arm punches, Floyd staying calm.
When he finally did come off the ropes, Mayweather was hit with another good right hand to the head. Then Mayweather fought back hard and hurt Corley. The two were trading in quite thrilling fashion. “And suddenly it’s Gati-Ward-Four,” yelled Jim Lampley. “I didn’t expect this,” said Emanuel Steward. Then, his turn to be on the ropes, Corley ate two big Mayweather right hands and went down. Amazingly it was not ruled a knockdown.
Corley resumed his offense, getting home with a couple more headshots. Corley was roughing Floyd up, hitting him and physically shoving him into the ropes. Then came two more hard rights to test Floyd’s jaw. The two clinched, and then Mayweather fired out some quick headshots. “I don’t think this is going to go the distance,” Steward proclaimed. Both men bled from the nose. Mayweather jogged to his corner at the bell, seemingly happy with the fierceness of the round.
The fight did go the distance, with Floyd ultimately winning via a wide unanimous decision, having scored knockdowns that were called as such in the eighth and 10th rounds. But that fourth round, wow. Take a look back now via YouTube.
And never let anyone tell you Floyd Mayweather Junior was always a boring fighter.
For his part, Corley took to Facebook today to post some pictures from the fight. Underneath, Corley wrote the following: “On this day I almost hit the power ball. Damn, so close. I had his ass.”
Maybe, but Mayweather showed his greatness. Floyd – as he would prove six years after the Corley fight when he was cracked hard by Shane Mosley – could for sure take a punch if he had to.