Originally created 05/24/04

Floyd Mayweather Jr. sets sights on 140-pound title



ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Victorious in his 140-pound debut, Floyd Mayweather Jr. has his sights set on a third world title.

Mayweather, fighting for the first time as junior welterweight, pounded out a convincing decision over DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley and vowed afterward he'll take on all comers in his new weight class.

"I beat the best at 130, I beat the best at 135. Now, I want to beat the best at 140," he said after Saturday's fight.

The unanimous 12-round decision, in a WBC elimination bout, vaulted Mayweather into contention for the title now held by Arturo Gatti.

It wasn't easy. Mayweather, 27, of Las Vegas, had to shake off two minor injuries and a fourth-round scare in which Corley landed a hard right to Mayweather's head, knocking him back into the ropes, and added a dozen consecutive punches.

"I got a granite chin," Mayweather said. "He caught me with a good shot and I shook it off."

The 29-year-old lefty from Washington, D.C., who entered the ring at Boardwalk Hall wearing an Army camouflage jacket and a gas mask over his head, couldn't capitalize though.

With a dangerous combination of speed, power and patience, Mayweather dominated the rest of the fight. His most effective punch was a right-hand lead that lashed out so quickly Corley was powerless to stop it.

"He was protecting his body. I was trying to break him down to the body so I could go to the head and put him down," Mayweather said.

He put him down, all right.

In the eighth, he dropped Corley (28-3-1) in the middle of the ring with a left-right combination. In the 10th, Corley went down again, courtesy of a five-punch combination.

Five other Corley falls were ruled slips or pushes, not knockdowns.

Mayweather said afterward that he had hurt his left shoulder in training camp, and his right hand during the fight.

It was the second straight loss for Corley, who dropped a split decision to Zab Judah last July.

Mayweather, meanwhile, was left to look ahead to a promising - if uncertain - future.

The fight was the last in a six-fight deal he had with promoter Bob Arum and HBO, although both have right of first refusal if Mayweather signs with someone else.

Arum and Mayweather have had a stormy relationship, but neither was ruling out the other for the future.

"This young man is a credit to the sport of boxing," Arum said. "His skills are just absolutely tremendous."

Mayweather wasn't quite as effusive.

"We don't know what the future holds," he said. "He may be my promoter again."

Equally uncertain is whether Mayweather will hook up with Gatti, who holds the WBC's 140-pound title.

"I've been chasing Arturo Gatti for the longest time. The guy doesn't even want to fight," he said.