Floyd Mayweather lost out on a 93-0 undefeated Pay Per View when a prospective opponent lost for the first time.
Mayweather got linked to fighting Paul Spadafora almost his entire career as the pair turned professional within a year of each other at the same weight.
The pair enjoyed infamous sparring sessions that continue to get talked about on Spadafora’s home turf.
Both raced to world titles in the late 1990s. But Mayweather got the fast track to a world title within twenty-four months of entering the paid ranks.
Spadafora waited a little longer. He eventually got his title at lightweight in 1999. Floyd had claimed his belt at the same super-featherweight limit they began their run.
As Mayweather rose through the divisions and on to superstardom, Spadafora had a contrasting road. Beating 18 opponents with losing records, to Mayweather’s two, didn’t help him attract the significant spotlight.
‘The Pittsburgh Kid’ also had troubles outside the ring, serving time in boot camp and prison facilities.
Despite this, the southpaw retained his undefeated record, even through extended periods on the sidelines.
Twelve fights in ten years was a worst-case scenario for Spadafora. But amazingly, he was still consistently named in the same breath as Mayweather.
Floyd Mayweather vs Paul Spadafora
In 2013, two years before Floyd Mayweather retired, Spadafora was in with a shot of potentially being one of those final opponents.
All he had to do was stay undefeated against Johan Perez. Unfortunately for Spadafora, his world came crashing down.
The 38-year-old [at the time] began the fight well, but the hard-hitting Perez took over in the second half of the battle.
Spadafora was eventually handed a 117-111, 115-113 reverse on two of the judges’ cards, with the third scoring a draw.
It wasn’t as close as the cards suggested. Days later, WBA took a request to review the cards. This recount happened due to a protest regarding the magnitude of what was possibly at stake for Spadafora.
A complete analysis came back with a consensus favoring Perez 116-112. It was conclusive.
Spadafora lost and missed out on equalling the excellent Rocky Marciano’s record of 49 wins without a defeat.
In the process, Perez picked up the interim WBA light-welterweight title.
The loss that killed a 93-0 fight
Without the magical ‘0’, any Mayweather encounter was now dead in the water. Spadafora knew it.
Mayweather moved on to choose Marcos Maidana in 2014. They would fight twice due to the lack of Spadafora in the picture.
If Spadafora had matched Marciano’s mark of 49 without loss at 48-0-1, there’s no doubt the ‘Money’ man would have wanted a piece of that action.
Selling a Pay-Per-View of a 45-0 Mayweather taking on a 48-0-1 Spadafora (93-0-1) to halt the breaking of the long-standing benchmark by his rival would have firmly been in the offing.
It was a blow for Spadafora that maybe he’s never gotten over.
Instead, he was slow to return to action. Eight months on, the ex-world title-holder beat Hector Velazquez, a late replacement for Jake Giuriceo.
The off-TV bout went ahead with a whimper. It was a far cry from the bright lights of Las Vegas.
Even at 49-1-1 and with Mayweather scouting for his last foe of a multi-million pound Showtime deal, that lone blemish steered the pound-for-pound king firmly away.
In a surprise move, Andre Berto got the curtain-closing honor. Mayweather himself hit 49-0, and the rest is history.
At 39 and with nowhere to go, Spadafora decided enough was enough.
Without that one defeat, it could have been so different.
Years later, Spadafora went face-to-face with Mayweather for the first time at the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame.
A tense moment was captured on video and broadcast on YouTube for effect.
However, Spadafora posted a video of him embracing Mayweather before the latter was ushered away by bodyguards.
It wasn’t a respecting hug by all means, but it seemed to be the acknowledgment Spadafora needed.
He also posed with Floyd Sr. in what seemed to be a little more awkward situation.
The bad blood may still be bubbling over. But if the families were to settle it, they’d have to do it through an exhibition or their children.