Mike Houser: *50-0 doesn’t have same ring to it
Special to the Appeal
When Floyd Mayweather ends his two-year retirement to take on UFC champion Conor McGregor Saturday night, he will attempt to go where no boxer has gone before: back into retirement with a perfect 50-0 record.
A victory over the mercurial Irishman at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas would catapult “Money” past the legendary Rocky Marciano for most victories without a loss or a draw by a retired boxing champion. The fight is scheduled for a 6 p.m. start.
Since he retired in 1956, iron-fisted heavyweight king Marciano, 49-0 with 43 knockouts, has held the gold standard for boxers with a perfect record.
Here’s a quick look at the other seven boxers in this exclusive club and five others who didn’t quite make the grade.
■ Joe Calzaghe 46-0 (32): the Welshman defended his WBO super middleweight crown a record-tying 21 times (from 1997-07) before moving up to lay claim to the light heavyweight crown, beating the venerable Bernard Hopkins. Calzaghe defended that belt against Roy Jones before retiring in 2008.
■ Sven Ottke 34-0 (6): Though he didn’t possess much firepower, the slick German managed 21 defenses of his IBF super middleweight crown between 1998-04. Unfortunately he never faced Calzaghe.
■ Harry Simon 30-0 (22): The rugged Namibian won the WBO light middleweight and middleweight titles between 1998-02, but Simon went to prison after killing three people in a 2002 car accident. He has fought seven times since (most recently in 2016) but lost any chance at greatness.
■ Michael Loewe 28-0 (10): An injury forced the 1997 retirement of the Romanian, who made only one defense of his WBO welterweight title.
■ Edwin Valero 27-0 (27): Valero is the only boxer who left the ring with a truly perfect record, knocking out all 27 of his opponents. But the rugged Venezuelan, who held WBC super featherweight and WBC lightweight titles, was anything but perfect outside of the ring. Then 28, he committed suicide in jail in 2010 after confessing to police he killed his 24-year-old wife.
■ Pichit Sithbangprachan 24-0 (18): Relatively unknown by the rest of the boxing world but famous in his native Thailand, Sithbangprachan made five defenses of his IBF flyweight title. He fought four times after retiring in 1994, maintaining his perfect record.
■ Dmitry Pirog 20-0 (15): The tough Russian defended his WBO middleweight crown three times before he suffered a career-ending back injury while training to fight fellow unbeaten champion Gennady Glolovkin.
Five who didn’t quite attain perfection:
■ Samson Dutch Boy Gym 43-0 (36): So why didn’t a guy who retired unbeaten after defending his title an astounding 39 times make the list? The Thai boxer, who won the World Boxing Federation belt in just his fourth fight, held a lightly regarded belt and never fought for either the WBC, WBA, IBF or WBO crowns.
■ Ricardo Lopez 51-0-1 (38): his 1998 technical draw with Rosendo Alvarez ruined an otherwise perfect record. Between 1990-98, “El Finito” defended his WBC strawweight championship a division-record 21 times. He also won the IBF light flyweight title.
Draws also cost the following boxers a chance at perfection: bantamweight champion Jimmy Barry 59-0-9 (40), with 2 no-contests, IBF light welterweight champion Terry Marsh 26-0-1 (10) and IBF super bantamweight titlist Ji-Won Kim 16-0-2 (7).
With a win over McGregor, who doesn’t have a single amateur or professional boxing match to his credit, Mayweather still isn’t in the clear. The media can always hang an asterisk on him: *50-0 doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, though.
Mike Houser is a longtime boxing writer and former Nevada Appeal staff writer.