Great fight on paper; lopsided in reality
Before “Money” existed, “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather moved through the super featherweight division, winning the WBC belt in 1998. At the time, IBF 130 champ Diego “Chico” Corrales, on paper, represented Mayweather’s biggest challenge in his career. Both guys were undefeated and ranked as number one (Chico) and two (Floyd) fighters in the division. However, Corrales lost his IBF belt before the fight due to his managers Cameron Dunkin and Barrett Silver. Both managers told the IBF that Corrales expressed interest in moving up to 135 because 130 became too difficult to make. Corrales filed a grievance on both guys to the Nevada State Athletic Commission and replaced the managers with James Prince. Mayweather took advantage of Corrales’ drained state and put on a masterful display in the ring.
Mayweather dominated the fight from start to finish. “Pretty Boy” Floyd used his superior hand speed and movement to befuddle Chico. At first, quick jabs and lead rights from Floyd kept popping Corrales. Chico had no answer for these shots, even though he did well to cut off the ring. By the time Corrales cornered Mayweather, Floyd escaped and brought the fight back to the center of the ring. As the fight progressed, Mayweather became more confident mixing his punches and landing increasingly more to Chico’s body. This one-sided action continued into the seventh, where Floyd dropped Corrales three times. Floyd’s signature lead left hook landed flush for two of the three knockdowns. Mayweather knocked Corrales two more times in the tenth before referee Richard Steele stopped the fight. Corrales’ father/trainer wanted to stop the fight after the last knockdown, provoking anger and disappointment from his fighter. Mayweather successfully defended his WBC title for the sixth time. He landed 220 of 414 punches as Corrales only landed 60 of his 205 attempts.
After the fight, Corrales served 14 months in prison after taking a plea bargain for abusing his pregnant wife. He returned to boxing in 2003, producing close fights with Joel Casamayor. On the other hand, Mayweather flipped this win into a six-fight, $15 million contract with HBO. This would be the start of Floyd’s transformation into the “Money” persona.