Floyd Mayweather is expected to fight for the last time in his light-middleweight match-up with Conor McGregor on Saturday.
Here, Press Association Sport revisits five of his finest wins.
The long-awaited fight between arguably the two greatest fighters of their generation proved the biggest and richest in history, regardless of it probably taking place six years after their collective peak.
Pacquiao, then 36 and two years younger than Mayweather, was the biggest loser with that timing, when in the absence of the irresistible ferocity of his prime, Mayweather produced his latest masterclass to ease to a comfortable points victory.
The only time he really threatened Mayweather was in the fourth round when he landed a powerful left hand, but the American again adjusted, winning via scores of 118-110, 116-112 and 116-112 on the three judges’ scorecards.
While Pacquiao was widely considered Mayweather’s greatest threat as the world’s finest fighter, it was Mexico’s Alvarez who had the potential to provide his toughest test.
Both significantly bigger and younger, the then 23-year-old Alvarez’s greatest hope of victory came in bullying the decorated American but he consistently struggled to impose himself as Mayweather produced an extraordinary display, punishing any attempts to put him under pressure.
After again dominating with his jab and classy combinations, Mayweather was awarded victory by scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 114-114 in a controversial majority decision that led to judge CJ Ross standing down amid ridicule after she scored the fight a draw.
Against another modern great, Mayweather survived perhaps the biggest punch of his career to produce a true masterclass and earn a one-sided, unanimous decision.
The powerful Mosley landed a big right hand that buckled his knees and forced him to hold on a minute into the second round, but after recovering Mayweather concluded that round in control and thereafter excelled.
He timed and read his fellow American to such perfection to the extent that Mosley could have been withdrawn to save further punishment.
In a fight billed ‘Undefeated’, Mayweather ultimately outclassed a near-peak Hatton to inflict the first defeat of the Briton’s professional career by stopping him in 10 rounds.
Hatton, widely considered a stylistic challenge for Mayweather owing to his pressure fighting and high work-rate, was the world’s leading light-welterweight and largely matched the WBC welterweight champion physically.
However, after a promising start, he began to fall behind on points in the middle rounds. Mayweather began to read him until timing the powerful left hook that sent him to the canvas and led to the stoppage shortly after he returned to his feet.
The first of Mayweather’s match-ups that became a true ‘superfight’ involved him stepping up to light-middleweight – having won his first world title five divisions beneath that at super-featherweight – and producing an educated and classy performance that arguably deserved more than the split-decision victory he received.
Two judges had Mayweather winning 116-112 and 115-113, while the third had De La Hoya via a score of 115-113 but, beyond a sometimes superior work-rate, he did little to overcome Mayweather’s defence and better quality of punching.
Hype will collide with reality here Saturday as boxing legend Floyd Mayweather takes on mixed martial arts superstar Conor McGregor in a battle of combat sport kings tipped to be the richest fight in history.
A little over two months after the fight was confirmed in June, Mayweather and McGregor will touch gloves at Las Vegas’s T-Mobile Arena in a 12-round boxing contest which will be beamed to more than 200 countries and territories.
Fight promoters have breathlessly talked about the bout surpassing the $600 million (508 million euros) generated by Mayweather’s 2015 fight with Manny Pacquiao, insisting that interest has been off chart.
“This is the biggest event that has ever happened in combat sports,” said Dana White, the chief executive of MMA’s Ultimate Fighting Championship.
“This fight will reach over a billion homes worldwide.”
Ringside seats were being offered on secondary ticket markets for an eye-watering $100,250 apiece as of Thursday, even though some 1,700 seats in the 20,000-capacity venue remained unsold.
Millions of fans across the United States meanwhile are expected to shell out $99.95 to watch the fight on pay-per-view television, the most important economic engine of the spectacle.
The sense of anticipation has endured despite an unrelenting chorus of disparagement across the boxing world.
Farce. Freakshow. Circus. Mismatch. Rip-off. Bad for boxing.
It has been impossible to follow the build-up to the fight without being made aware of the near-universal tide of derision.
A cursory glance at the tale of the tape explains the cynicism.
Mayweather, 40, is one of the most skilled boxers of his generation, a master of ringcraft who retired in 2015 after a glittering 21-year career with a perfect 49-0 record.
McGregor, a two-time world champion in UFC, has never boxed professionally and has looked awkward and ungainly during training camp sparring sessions.
He has demonstrated punching power in the UFC, but has never faced an opponent as elusive as Mayweather.
Anything other than a convincing Mayweather win will be regarded as a surprise; a McGregor victory a monumental upset.
Yet the millions who will gladly part with their cash to watch the fight in the arena or on television do not appear to be bothered by the possibility that they may be taken for an expensive ride.
Stephen Espinoza, the head of cable network Showtime Sports which is selling the fight on pay-per-view in the US, said many would tune in on the off-chance of witnessing “something incredible.”
“We did some focus group testing, and the casual fans were absolutely adamant,” Espinoza said. “Their response almost universally was ‘We don’t care if it’s a mismatch. We don’t care if it’s non-competitive — if there’s a .01 chance that something incredible could happen, we need to watch it.’
“And that’s why they’re going to watch it.”
Irrespective of the outcome, the two men at the centre of the action will be laughing all the way to the bank.
If pay-per-view targets are met, Mayweather could earn as much as $200 million, pushing his career earnings towards $1 billion.
McGregor, who four years ago was living off unemployment benefit in Dublin before his emergence as a star of MMA, could pocket $100 million.
A gaudy “Money Belt” is also up for grabs to the winner, comprising 3,360 diamonds, 600 sapphires, 300 emeralds mounted in 1.5 kilos of solid gold and set in alligator leather.
Both fighters engaged in a global publicity tour to drum up interest in the fight last month that was marked by a series of lurid verbal exchanges, ranging from expletives and homophobic slurs to allegations of racism.
Yet a final press conference between the two fighters on Wednesday saw something close to an outbreak of civility, with both men refraining from the trash-talking in a strangely subdued showdown.
McGregor insists that he is ready to stun the sceptics by knocking out Mayweather inside two rounds.
“I will go forward and put the pressure on and break this old man,” McGregor said.
“I don’t see him lasting two rounds. I think I could end him in one round if I want. Everyone is going to eat their words on Saturday.”
A relaxed-looking Mayweather was unfazed by McGregor’s warnings of impending calamity, instead reminding the Irishman that he had faced plenty of explosive punchers through his career — and emerged victorious.
“We can both do a lot of talking, but it comes down to the skills,” said Mayweather, a 1/4 favourite with some bookmakers.
“After 21 years I’ve been hit with everything and I’m still right here. One thing you must know about combat sports, if you give it, you must be able to take it.
“I go out there and do what I do. I’ve been here before and fought many different fighters with different styles.
“There have been plenty of guys who talked a lot of trash, but when it’s all said and done, I came out victorious.”
Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor traded verbal jabs as the circus-like countdown to their money-spinning superfight cranked into overdrive on the Las Vegas Strip.
Thousands of fans including a sizeable contingent of Irish supporters thronged the heart of the Nevada boxing capital to greet Mayweather and McGregor at their separate grand arrival ceremonies.
Mayweather, the 40-year-old undefeated former welterweight boxing champion, has been lured out of retirement to face McGregor, a star of mixed martial arts’ UFC.
The two men meet in a 12-round contest under boxing rules on Saturday which is tipped to become the richest fight in history.
The cross-combat collision has appalled boxing purists, with many decrying the event as a farcical publicity stunt more in keeping with the choreographed traditions ofWWE wrestling.
Mayweather and McGregor – who clashed repeatedly during an expletive-laden world press tour to drum up interest for the fight last month – insist however that they are ready to deliver a battle for the ages.
McGregor, a massive underdog in what will be his first professional boxing fight, insisted Tuesday he was ready to stun the oddsmakers.
“This is not even close to my toughest challenge ever. I will crumble him,” McGregor roared.
“I have adapted perfectly to boxing, I am very pleased and ready. I’m a special man, I will prove that August 26, this will go one or two rounds, maybe I will bang him out and hurt him.
“If he survives, I will decide whether I embarrass or seriously hurt him.
“I’m calm and cool, same as I am in every fight. I’m fit, sharp and I’m gonna be ruthless in there. I believe he’ll be unconscious inside one round.”
McGregor and Mayweather passed each other after their separate introductions, with McGregor taunting the American with a shout of “Why didn’t you want to face off?” — triggering a melee between their two entourages.
A relaxed-looking Mayweather meanwhile had earlier predicted the fight wouldn’t last the full 12 rounds.
“I talked to you before and said that this fight wouldn’t go the distance,” Mayweather said.
“If you’re going to bet, bet it won’t go (the distance).”
Mayweather did his best to play down his status as a heavy favourite, insisting that his two-year layoff from the ring had blunted his prowess.
“That’s what makes this fight so intriguing, I’ve been out a few years, feel like I’ve lost a few steps,” Mayweather said.
“So we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Earlier Tuesday, Mayweather had taunted McGregor over his fitness, telling the US website FightHype that he believed his opponent would struggle to make the 154-pound limit for Saturday’s bout.
“Conor McGregor is extremely heavy right now,” Mayweather said. “I think he’s 164 so he’s still got 10 pounds to go.”
McGregor hit back at Mayweather’s comments.
“He needs to shut his mouth,” McGregor said. “It is a fool of a thing. Let him keep praying, praying for weight, for fatigue, praying for me to take a backward step. All he is doing is praying, but he is praying to the new god of boxing.”
McGregor could face a painful financial penalty if he is unable to tip the scales inside the limit. Boxers often have the option of cancelling a fight or collecting a larger share of the purse if an opponent fails to make weight.
Estimates vary but some projections indicate Mayweather could make as much as $200 million from Saturday’s contest, with McGregor collecting around $100 million.
Mayweather has fought at 154 pounds before but is more used to fighting at welterweight (150 pounds). McGregor however has fought at 170 pounds in MMA.
McGregor, 29, last week insisted he was in peak condition following a gruelling training camp that had taken him to “hell and back” and left him primed to face either a long or short fight.
“There is no way in hell that I’m not ready to fight in the deepest of trenches in this contest,” McGregor said.
“We are ready for both scenarios. I’m ready to go to war for 12 rounds and I’m ready to put him away early on.”
Provided by AFP Sport