Top 10: Floyd Mayweather’s Biggest Wins

Because past is prologue, it’s worthwhile to revisit it in advance of Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao, May 2 on pay-per-view.

Here, we examine a list of Floyd Mayweather’s biggest wins, in reverse order from #10 to #1. By biggest here, we mean — the best opposition he defeated, based on that fighter’s form at the time, with deductions for debatable results. Next, we’ll look at Manny Pacquiao’s biggest wins.

10. Jose Luis Castillo I, 2002

It’s hard to put this one on the list, because almost everyone then and now believes that Castillo deserved the decision. Mayweather talks all the time about his undefeated record, but if not for some fortunate judging, he might not have one. Still, with this victory, Mayweather took the lightweight crown — one of his four true divisional championships, a feat only he and Pacquiao have achieved — and beat a fighter who more than held his own with a sterling group of 135-pounders at the time, including Diego Corrales, Joel Casamayor, Stevie Johnston, Juan Lazcano and Julio Diaz.

9. Juan Manuel Marquez, 2009

Marquez might be the best fighter Mayweather has ever beaten. Why so low on the list, then? Because Marquez, a featherweight for much of his career, was climbing up two weight classes to 147 and didn’t do it very well, judging from his paunchy frame. Even then, Mayweather deserves some credit for the victory. The stubborn Marquez has admitted defeat a total of one time, against Mayweather. If they had met at a weight where Marquez was competent, it’s likely that Mayweather still would have defeated him by a landslide decision, which is how he did it in 2009.

8. Ricky Hatton, 2007

Had Mayweather met Hatton at 140 lbs. where Hatton was at his best and where he was the divisional king, the Mayweather victory over him would count for more. Hatton had established in a near-loss against Luis Collazo that he was no welterweight. Hatton remained, at the time, a top-10 or borderline top-10 pound-for-pound top fighter across all weight classes. He also was reasonably competitive early before Mayweather knocked him out, which means something.

7. Canelo Alvarez, 2013

With his comprehensive decision defeat of Alvarez, Mayweather claimed his fourth lineal/true championship, and at his highest weight: 154 lbs. Alvarez had demonstrated he was not just a Mexican pretty boy in the fight before, a close win over the tricky Austin Trout. In taking on Alvarez, Mayweather caught a fighter before his peak age, which was at least a reversal of the criticism that he was, for a stretch, picking on vulnerable older fighters.

6. Genaro Hernandez, 1998

With this fight, Mayweather arrived at the elite level. He tore apart a fighter who had beaten future Hall of Famer Azumah Nelson to take the lineal junior lightweight crown. And Mayweather did it at an extremely early age: 21. Hernandez lost by retirement in the fight, then retired from his career afterward. Mayweather, who completed a journey from Olympic bronze to pro gold, was just getting started.

5. Miguel Cotto, 2012

When this fight was signed, it looked as though Mayweather was trying to claim the scalp of a big name and too many miles. But at least they met at 154 lbs., where Cotto was more comfortable than Mayweather. When Cotto gave Mayweather one of his toughest battles, suddenly the initial storyline was upended. Mayweather endured, showing his fighting heart, and because Cotto’s stock rose with the performance, so did the stock of Mayweather’s decision win.

4. Oscar De La Hoya, 2007

This was Mayweather’s first voyage to junior middleweight, and it came against a version of De La Hoya that still retained some pound-for-pound top 20 cachet. De La Hoya’s jab, size and body work gave Mayweather some trouble, and it was closer on the cards than it should’ve been, but Mayweather deserved to win and did. The win that propelled Mayweather into the public spotlight, and one-half of his 2007 Fighter of the Year campaign.

3.  Jose Luis Castillo II, 2002

In some ways, this is Mayweather’s most impressive win. Dogged by the view that he didn’t deserve the win the first time he faced Castillo, he signed for the rematch not long after, and this time won solidly by decision. The Castillo scare seemed to send Mayweather into a shell of avoiding tough fights for several years thereafter, but not before he went right back into harm’s way to correct the record with his rematch win over Castillo.

2. Shane Mosley, 2010 (pictured vs. Mayweather above; photo via Ethan Miller, Getty Images)

Plenty of people will tell you Mosley was over the hill by the time this long-discussed fight had happened, and they’re not totally wrong. Yet Mosley was coming off one of the best wins of his career, a destruction of Antonio Margarito (one of the biggest gaps on Mayweather’s own resume), and had ascended to #3 pound-for-pound, behind only Mayweather and Pacquiao. Also impressive: Mayweather survived the biggest knockout scare of his career, then dominated for a decision.

1. Diego Corrales, 2001

Performances rarely come more sparkling and immaculate than Mayweather’s boxer-puncher destruction of Corrales, then one of the five best fighters at any weight. Set aside that Corrales was struggling with the junior lightweight limit; this was an astounding display. Corrales may be a borderline Hall of Famer, unlike some other names on this list that will certainly make it, but he was a fearsome foe that Mayweather picked apart with hardly a moment’s trouble.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.