Floyd Mayweather Jr. made his professional boxing debut in Oct. 1996 at 130 pounds, winning via second-round technical knockout.
Almost 17 years -- and a handful of weight classes later -- no one has taught him how to lose (44-0).
There are those, however, who believe that his blockbuster pay-per-view (PPV) match on Showtime might be different this Saturday (Sept. 14, 2013) against one of the brightest stars in years to emerge from south of the border, 23-year-old superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.
The clash between the two is expected to break every conceivable fiscal record and, if all goes well, could prove a spectacular showdown at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In preparation for a championship battle that may signal the end of an era, it's only fitting that we look back at the roads that led both these warriors here. Yesterday, we checked out the "Greatest Hits" on "Canelo" right here. Tonight, we take a dive into the comprehensive "Money" highlight reel of the reigning, undefeated WBC Welterweight Champion, Floyd Mayweather Jr.
In no particular order, here are Mayweather Jr.'s "Greatest Hits:"
Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Diego Corrales | Jan. 20, 2001
Diego "Chico" Corrales was many things, not all of them pleasant, but he was above all else violent. A monstrous Super Featherweight standing 6' tall, he eschewed his considerable length advantage to punish opponents at close range. When he stepped into the ring against Mayweather, he brought with him a perfect record (33-0), 27 of those victories coming inside the distance.
Not only that, Corrales towered over the 1996 Olympic gold medal winner, entering the ring a full 10 pounds heavier. To the untrained observer, it looked like it would be a slaughter.
It was ... just not in the direction you'd expect.
Mayweather -- not traditionally known for his power -- annihilated Corrales, putting down "Chico" five times before Corrales' corner mercifully ended things in round 10. In fact, Mayweather landed more punches than Corrales attempted (220 of 414 compared to a paltry 60 of 205).
Even if Mayweather has a checkered past outside the squared circle, to deny his genius inside it would be nonsense.
There is no other word adequate to describe a performance like the one against Corrales.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Oscar de la Hoya | May 5, 2007
With all of his assorted shenanigans, it's easy to forget that Oscar de la Hoya was one of the most talented fighters of his generation. He was the first man in almost a decade to defeat the great Pernell Whittaker and his only losses prior to this bout were to all-time greats:
Felix Trinidad, Shane Mosley and Bernard Hopkins.
This was not a dominant victory for Mayweather -- the two scorecards that went his way in the end were 115-113 (a 7-5 victory). In other words, one more round the other way would have made it a majority draw.
I included this anyway both because of the level of opponent that Mayweather defeated, but because this is a pure example of what separates Mayweather from his peers:
His unparalleled ability to adapt.
That which is static dies. Every wall breaks eventually, just as the great works of Ozymandias crumbled to dust. There are things that work against Mayweather for a few rounds; however, there is nothing yet seen that works against him for 12 frames.
De la Hoya -- a converted southpaw -- controlled the early going behind his powerful jab. Mayweather took those jabs, figured them out and then took over like only he can.
One of a kind.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Juan Manual Marquez | Sept. 19, 2009
I won't deny that there was controversy in this bout -- Mayweather missed weight and made no effort to shed the remaining poundage. He basically bought a weight advantage.
But, I can't leave this off because there are few men in combat sports I admire more than Juan Manuel Marquez.
If one asked me to, in the present boxing landscape, pick out the perfect combination of skill and indomitable fighting spirit, I would select Marquez. He is the rare counter puncher who uses countering not as a means to avoid damage, but to maximize the damage he inflicts upon his opponents.
He is a paragon of both the Mexican fighting spirit and the artistry that separates the Sweet Science from street brawling. And Mayweather made him look pathetic.
Mayweather landed almost 60 percent of his punches, while Marquez was lucky to register 12 percent. Mayweather knocked him down, landed almost nine times as many jabs and more than twice the number of power punches. This was complete and utter humiliation of a supremely skilled warrior.
It was absolute genius.
That's a wrap for this edition of "Greatest Hits." Remember to check out the hit list for "Canelo" right here.
Meanwhile, stay tuned for all the "Mayweather vs. Canelo" coverage you could ask for right here at MMAmania.com as fight night approaches.