Legendary Trainers Dundee, Steward, Roach, McGirt and Mayweather

Weigh in on The Six-Time Champion’s Chances for Success

Las Vegas (September 8) – It’s the year of the sports comeback with Tiger Woods, Pedro Martinez, Roger Federer, and Tom Brady all coming back to their respective sports in attempts to reclaim their places in sports history. Joining the roster is Floyd “Money” Mayweather, already a six-time world championship in five weight divisions, coming back to the sweet science, after a nearly two-year layoff against five-time world champion in three weight divisions Juan Manuel “Dinamita” Marquez on Saturday, September 19 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The bout will be produced and distributed live on HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

Historically, boxing has a long list of notable fighters who have made comeback attempts including Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard and George Foreman. Mayweather instantly joins these ranks with his fight against Marquez.  Below is a list (in alphabetical order) of some of the legendary fighters who attempted, successfully or unsuccessfully, to make career comebacks.

Also, legendary trainers Angelo Dundee, Emanuel Steward, Freddie Roach, Buddy McGirt and Mayweather’s own trainer Roger Mayweather weigh-in on comebacks and Mayweather’s return.


Muhammad Ali—Exiled from ring from 1967-1970, Ali returned to reclaim the heavyweight title twice in both 1974 and 1978, winning the last fight of his career against Leon Spinks.

Alexis Arguello—Following his retirement 1986, Arguello came back for two bouts, beating Jorge Palomares in 1994 and Scott Walker 1995.

Riddick Bowe—Bowe retired in 1996 following his second win (DSQ) over Andrew Golota.  He returned to the ring for three unimpressive wins between 2004-2008.

George Foreman—Retired in 1977 following his loss to Jimmy Young.  Foreman returned in 1987 and seven years later, in 1994, captured the heavyweight title via a tenth round KO over Michael Moorer, in what is widely revered as one of the greatest performances by an athlete over the age of 40.  Foreman officially retired in 1997 following a decision loss to Shannon Briggs.

Thomas “Hitman” Hearns—Following a loss in 2000 via TKO against Uriah Grant, Hearns did not fight again until five years later, going 2-0 against John Long and Shannon Landberg, both by TKO.

Benny Leonard—Retired in 1924, but returned to the ring in 1931 and won 18 of his 20 comeback fights before retiring for good after fighting 16 times in 1932, losing only his final bout that year.

Sugar Ray Leonard—Leonard retired following detached retina surgery in 1982, but came back in 1984 to defeat Kevin Howard only to retired again.  Returning in 1987, Leonard fought middleweight champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler and won via a 12-round split decision.  After his retirement following a 1991 loss to Terry Norris, he came back for one more bout against Hector Camacho, losing by TKO in the 5th round of their 1997 bout.

Joe Louis—Retired in 1948 after stopping Jersey Joe Walcott in 11 rounds.  Two years later, Louis came back and lost to Ezzard Charles over 15 rounds in a world title fight, but went on to win eight in a row before losing to Rocky Marciano in 1951 and retiring for good.

Sugar Ray Robinson—Retired following his 1952 light heavyweight title loss to Joey Maxim.  He then became an entertainer, lost all of his money and came back in 1955 to regain the middleweight title three more times before retiring for good in 1965.

Max Schmeling—Retired in 1939 after beating Adolf Hauser, but came back in 1947, fighting five fights and going 3-2.

Mike Tyson—Inactive from 1991 to 1995, Tyson returned to the ring in 1995 and regained WBC and WBA versions of heavyweight title in 1996 against Frank Bruno and Bruce Sheldon respectively.  He retired for good in 2005 following a sixth round TKO loss to Kevin McBride.

Tony Zale—Following a loss to Billy Conn in 1942, Zale went into the service.  He came back in 1946, fighting six times before engaging in an epic trilogy with Hall Of Fame fighter Rocky Graziano over two years in which he won, lost and then regained the middleweight title.  Zale retired for good in 1948 following a loss to Marcel Cerden.


Roger Mayweather

“Well I know one thing about layoffs and I know about fighters. If a fighter got skills – the greatest fighters in the world where people don't even know had layoffs. What did you think Sugar Ray Leonard had? He had a five and a half year layoff. He had two eye detached retina surgeries, right. But he still beat the greatest middleweight. He beat Marvin Hagler when he was laid off five and a half years. When Sugar Ray Robinson was laid off three years, that’s the greatest fighter on the globe. Muhammad Ali was laid off three years.

“So Floyd ain't going to be the only guy that’s been laid off in boxing. Most of the great guys – great fighters have something in common. They were all laid off anyway.  All of them who were good, what they called great, they all had layoffs and they all still had spectacular performance when they fought. So guy keeps asking about how you laid off, when you laid off. Fights are won by skill. That’s all there is to it.”

Angelo Dundee

“There is nothing more intricate than fighters.  They are all different.  You never know what effect a layoff is going to have.  Ray Leonard, I knew he was always staying in shape, like basketball, other sports, he was very athletic so the layoff didn’t bother him in the Hagler fight.  He was in great physical condition…but being in the ring, it’s a different feel.  Being in shape is not enough for a fighter.  Being in the gym is not enough.  You need to be in the action.  There is no substitute for a fight.  Marquez has been a little busier than him (Mayweather), and the question mark is going to make this fight a good attraction.”

“Ray used to do a variety of things to stay in shape.  Ali was a whole different physical effort and Foreman didn’t train in gym.  He did roadwork and calisthenics, that’s where he put in most of his work.  All fighters are different…Foreman knew how to train for a guy his age.  When you get older, you can’t put in the effort like you did when you were a kid.  You need to leave something in the tank.  Will he overdo it in training?  So there are many question marks in a comeback.”

“Fighters come back for the glow.  There is the spotlight, and there is the dark, and there is no in between. You miss the glow. That feeling is the ultimate feeling.”

“Mayweather is just that great of a fighter.  He’s smart, slick, and knows how to use the ring.  He’s going to have a tough fight on his hands, but he should be able to overcome.  You take what you got and you utilize it.  When the bell rings, you’re going to see who the best fighter is.  Floyd will have to beat a good Marquez.”

Emanuel Steward

“Fighters come back because they still have a lot of fights still left in them.  They don’t realize it.  Many have been doing it since they were eight, nine, ten years old, and they miss it.  Fighters like Floyd Mayweather and Muhammad Ali have a tremendous love for boxing which they don’t realize until they walk away.”

“I think Floyd’s going to look spectacular on September 19.  Historically, guys of his caliber; crafty, skilled fighters, they come back good.  Some guys, when they quit boxing, they are partying, but when Ali came back he was unbelievably sharp and looked splendid…The Leonard’s, Ali’s, I would put Floyd in that class, they never lost the love of the sport.  They are different types of fighters that never left the sport spiritually or physically.”

“Floyd is a brilliant boxing mind, just like Ali.  The top fighters, they don’t have a lack of confidence.  Layoffs do some fighters good…the time away heals the body up.”

Freddie Roach

“Sometimes a break can be good for a fighter.  Time can make you hungrier and give you a spark. But it can affect you in positive and negative ways…Mentally, it is a factor.  You’re away from the sport and enjoying life, and its not conducive to a boxer’s life…A gym is a gym and a fight is a fight, and you can say you’ll get ready with sparring partners, but there is no place like a fight.  You’ll just never know until fight night.”

Buddy McGirt

“I don’t think the layoff is going to affect Mayweather.  He’s a natural fighter.  He’s picked a real tough guy to come back against, but I don’t think he will have any problem on fight night…He was staying busy, and sometimes you need the break to get away, and to get it together…I think is going to be a very good fight.  Marquez is a very good fighter.  He’s a warrior.”