Floyd Mayweather Went Full Mike Tyson To Record Most Vicious Ko – It Was Unlike Him


What makes it even more startling is that the 26-year-old Mayweather was taking on a dangerous puncher. Phillip N’dou, the South African nicknamed ‘The Time Bomb’ for his explosive power, had a 94 per cent knockout ratio – 31-1 (30 KOs) – before facing the self-proclaimed ‘TBE’.

The lightweight version of Mayweather could be far busier and more aggressive than the slick, cagey defensive master he became later in his career at welterweight and light-middleweight.

But still, this defence of his 135lb world title – which ended with Mayweather cracking N’dou with three flush right-hand power shots in a row, sending him to the canvas in round seven – was unlike any other Mayweather performance above super-featherweight. The seek-and-destroy style was more like Mike Tyson or even his rival Manny Pacquiao than typical Mayweather.

“I wanted to throw a lot more punches, give the fans a war,” he said afterwards. “My plan was to stand in the pocket and give some shots, and take some shots.”

True to his word, Mayweather ended the fight with red bruising around his right eye from the shots N’dou landed. But the ‘Pretty Boy’ had thrown 201 power punches of his own in just over six rounds, connecting with a whopping 116 of them.

HBO’s TV analysts were as surprised as anybody. “More action than you ever dreamed you’d see in a Floyd Mayweather fight!” was Larry Merchant’s mid-fight take, while commentator Jim Lampley called it: “Much more of a slugfest than we expected.”



Mayweather, who’d become so cautious as he stepped up in weight – in part to protect his infamously brittle hands – has rarely been more all-action in any fight. He’s certainly never taken this many risks.

In part, Floyd’s mission was to win over the fans in attendance. He was 30-0 (20 KOs) and fighting in his 13th world title fight but it hadn’t all been straightforward: during a 2001 bout, Mayweather received a few boos in his native city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, as he outboxed Carlos Hernandez over 12 rounds.

Two years later and returning to Grand Rapids, Mayweather in garishly fur-lined trunks was determined to give his hometown a dazzling display. He showed his intentions from round one, stepping forward into his jab, then unleashing a stinging left hook to body and head combo that he’d use throughout the right.

However N’dou had extra motivation of his own. Nelson Mandela, a huge boxing fan, had met N’dou before he departed for the USA to wish him luck and give him a signed patch to wear on his trunks.

The great man also gave N’dou some advice: “Keep Mayweather on the outside with the jab, work the body and the head will become available.” Wise words from Nelson, but easier said than done when Mayweather is blazing accurate combinations at you.


The fifth round was the highlight of the fight as the future pound-for-pound king threw everything but the kitchen sink at N’dou, battering him to the canvas (it was ruled a push by referee Frank Garza) only for the challenger to come firing back. The crowd were on their feet.

“Man, you can hear the sound of N’dou’s punches now,” said George Foreman, who knows a thing or two about punching. But Mayweather’s superior accuracy and hand speed meant he was landing a lot more than he was taking. By the time the punishing stoppage arrived, N’dou was a spent force.


Afterwards a grinning Floyd spoke, in most-un Mayweather fashion of, how he wanted to ‘give the fans some exciting fights instead of just moving all the time’. He added: “It’s a great feeling to come home… He was a big puncher, but I have granite for a chin.”

N’dou was gracious in defeat, saying: “I fought the best in the world, Floyd Mayweather, and he’s something special.” His trainer, Nick Durandt added: “I’m very proud of Phillip, we’re going home with our heads held high. He just met a Mayweather at his very best.”


Having diffused ‘The Time Bomb’ in such spectacular fashion, Mayweather was ready to travel up to light-welterweight where he would become a three-weight world champion. However the fight that would make a megastar of ‘Money’ came in 2007, when he outpointed Oscar De La Hoya over 12 rounds at light-middleweight.

By then, the 30-year-old Floyd had transitioned from the boxer-puncher of his younger days – particularly when he had his uncle Roger Mayweather in his corner – to a cerebral defensive genius ready to make opponents miss, then pay.


It was, of course, extremely successful as he extended his career record to that perfect 50-0 tally. But for many boxing fans, the most thrilling version of Mayweather was the one who stopped Angel Manfredy in two rounds, dismantled Diego Corrales, then memorably went to war with N’dou.

“Phillip and I had an amazing fight,” Mayweather said many years later when asked about the contest by South African newspaper Sunday World. “He was a tough competitor, definitely amongst the toughest fighters I had the opportunity to face inside the ring. But in the end, I was the better man that night.”

Floyd always found a way to be the better man in every professional contest he had. But he never did it with such aggressive abandon as when he took the fight to big-punching N’dou in November 2003, then ended matters in style.


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