Floyd Mayweather is back. Perhaps the best boxer of this era and without question the most talented, Floyd "Money" Mayweather has shown an unprecedented mix of speed, power and natural instincts every time he steps into the ring—a combination that has already translated to 42 wins without a loss, 26 knockouts, and world championships in five weight classes.
Following his historic victory over "The Golden Boy" Oscar De La Hoya, and his dramatic 10th round knock-out domination over Ricky "The Hitman" Hatton, Mayweather stunned the entire sports world in June of 2008 when he announced that he was retiring from boxing after competing in the sport for nearly 20 years. Now the former number one pound-for-pound champion is set to return to the sport he loves after 16 months, making his return to the ring for the first time since December 2007.
"My goal has always been to be one of the best fighters who ever lived," Mayweather said. "My career and legacy are very important to me. I feel that I am already ranked amongst the greatest and I am back to prove that I belong at the top by fighting and defeating Juan Manuel Marquez."
Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Mayweather was born into a boxing family. His father, Floyd Sr. was a former welterweight contender who fought Hall of Famer Sugar Ray Leonard, and his uncles, Roger and Jeff, were also pro fighters, with Roger – Floyd's current trainer – winning two world championships in his prime.
Fitted with boxing gloves while he was still a toddler, Floyd started boxing at the age of seven, and his acumen for the hardest game was obvious from the start. He would go on to compile an 84-6 amateur record while earning three Michigan Golden Gloves titles, three National Golden Gloves titles, PAL and National Championships, and an Olympic Bronze medal in the 1996 Games.
He has not lost since.
Turning pro in the super featherweight division on October 11, 1996, Mayweather blitzed Roberto Apodaca in just two rounds, and his journey to greatness was underway. After one more win in 1996, Mayweather went 10-0 with 9 knockouts in 1997, and added five more wins to his ledger in the first half of 1998. Fight fans were chomping at the bit to see the ultra-talented Mayweather in with the elite at 130 pounds, and on October 3, 1998, they got their chance when the 21-year old faced off against Genaro Hernandez for ‘Chicanito's WBC world championship.
It was no contest as Mayweather battered the veteran with blinding combinations, pitching a near shutout before the fight was stopped after the eighth round. Floyd Mayweather was a world champion.
But any great champion will tell you that winning a title is one thing – defending it is another, and Mayweather, despite his physical gifts, showed his desire for greatness by outworking his opponents in the gym and gaining a reputation as one of the hardest workers in the sport.
This work paid off as Mayweather defended his super featherweight title eight times from 1998 to 2001, defeating Angel Manfredy (TKO2), Carlos Rios (W12), Justin Juuko (KO9), Carlos Gerena (TKO7), Gregorio Vargas (W12), Diego Corrales (TKO10), Carlos Hernandez (W12), and Jesus Chavez (TKO9). Corrales, Hernandez, and Chvez would all go on to win world titles after their one-sided losses to Mayweather.
With 130 pounds cleaned out, Mayweather sought new challenges at 135 pounds, and he got it in his WBC lightweight championship match against Mexico's tough Jose Luis Castillo on April 20, 2002. But after 12 hard-fought rounds, Mayweather had won his second world crown.
Fight fans clamored for a rematch though, and "Pretty Boy" Floyd answered their call in his very next fight less than eight months later, repeated his 12 round decision win over Castillo. He went on to defend the lightweight title twice more, over Victoriano Sosa (W12) and Phillip N'dou (TKO7), before testing the waters at 140 pounds.
In the junior welterweight division, Mayweather immediately made his presence known with a dominating 12 round decision win over former world champion DeMarcus Corley on May 22, 2004, and after an eighth round stoppage of Henry Bruseles to kick off 2005, Mayweather made his debut as a pay-per-view headliner on June 25, 2005, and he walked through rugged Arturo Gatti in just six rounds to win the WBC 140-pound championship.
Mayweather didn't spend much time at junior welterweight though, as he immediately jumped up to the welterweight division to take on the best in yet another weight class. Floyd kicked off his 147-pound campaign with a sixth round TKO of former world champion Sharmba Mitchell on November 19, 2005, and on April 8, 2006, he would face former friend Zab Judah in a highly-anticipated grudge match where he cruised to an easy 12 round decision win to earn the IBF welterweight title. Not satisfied with just one belt, Mayweather finished off a stellar 2006 campaign with a 12 round near-shutout over Carlos Baldomir to add the WBC welterweight crown to his resume.
On May 5, 2007, Mayweather, then recognized as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, took on Oscar De La Hoya in an incredible light middleweight bout destined for history books. He reached the pinnacle of his career with a split decision victory, a battle which broke all-time pay-per-view and gate records. Then later in the year, in front of a roaring MGM Grand crowd, Mayweather returned to the welterweight division and knocked out the previously undefeated Ricky Hatton in the 10th round.
As he prepared for his matchup against Hatton, Mayweather appeared on ABC's Dancing With The Stars, which not only contributed the bout's incredible success, but introduced a completely new audience to the sport's biggest star. Mayweather continued to expand his fan base and cross over appeal in February 2008, when he appeared at WWE WrestleMania XXIV, and took on the Big Show in pay-per-view telecast's main event.
Now Mayweather, following his time away from the ring, is set to return to the sport and take on one of the best in the world, Juan Manuel Marquez, where he will attempt to pick up where he left off, and solidify his future boxing legacy.