Floyd Mayweather Jr. had been out of the ring for more than a year but there was little rust showing in his 36-year-old body on Saturday night.
Mayweather spent the first couple of rounds at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas sizing up Robert Guerrero and then the champion's stinging right proved to be more than the difference in a fight that was never in doubt, earning a unanimous decision to retain the WBC welterweight title.
Mayweather’s defense was so strong that Guerrero was unable to land a punch that slowed the undefeated champion. All three judges scored it 117-111.
Mayweather (44-0) recently signed a six fight mega-deal with Showtime/CBS, and while Saturday’s fight did little to bring anyone to their feet it was clear that he has lost little of the ring mastery that has marked his career.
His next fight should be in the fall against Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, who likely will prove to be a much tougher opponent than Guerrero, a former world featherweight and super-featherweight champion who is now 31-2-1.
Here's a round-by-round recap of the fight (The Times' scoring is unofficial).
Round 1: Both boxers started tentatively in the center of the ring. Guerrero tried to grab a point by some vigorous punching on the clinches. Mayweather lands a few jabs but Guerrero lands a few counter punches. Not a lot of action and very close. The Times' card: Guerrero, 10-9.
Round 2: Mayweather not very engaged early, allowing Guerrero to land a right halfway through the round. Mayweather still able to land a few jabs but the crowd seems to be on Guerrero’s side. Mayweather seems more interested in playing defense and we’ve yet to see him launch an attack. Another close round. The Times' card: Guerrero 10-9; Guerrero leads, 20-18.
Round 3: Guerrero still setting the pace of the fight but Mayweather starting to feel more confident in the ring. The crowd seems to be reacting to a better fight than the one in the ring. Lots of posturing but Mayweather’s right starting to find its target more. The Times' card: Mayweather, 10-9; Guerrero leads, 29-28.
Round 4: Mayweather lands the first significant punch of the fight with a right to Guerrero’s head. The momentum is definitely switching to Mayweather, who also lands a second punch to the head. Guerrero rallies by putting Mayweather on the ropes, but Mayweather extricates himself and takes control back in the center of the ring. Mayweather showing much better hand speed despite being six years older. The Times' card: Mayweather, 10-9; fight even, 38-38.
Round 5: Mayweather catches Guerrero with a quick right. Guerrero tries a flurry on the ropes but Mayweather ducks out easily. Neither fighter has thrown a punch that hurts the other. Mayweather’s right is clearly becoming a difference as Guerrero doesn’t seem to have an answer. The Times' card: Mayweather,10-9; Mayweather leads, 48-47.
Round 6: Mayweather starting to take over the fight. Guerrero hasn’t landed a significant punch since early in the fight. Neither fighter has been hit with a punch that hurts. Mayweather’s defense is stronger than his offense but his right hand sneaks through often enough to easily win the round. The Times' card: Mayweather, 10-9; Mayweather leads, 58-56.
Round 7: Mayweather seems in control but not showing much power in doing so. He’s fighting a tactical fight, which is starting to annoy the crowd. Guerrero lands a weak body shot but it’s clear that Mayweather’s right is the dominant -- but not devastating -- punch. The Times' card: Mayweather 10-9; Mayweather leads, 68-65.
Round 8: A Mayweather right cuts Guerrero above the right eye as his face starts to show the punishment he has quietly taken so far. Mayweather is clearly in command and Guerrero is starting to slow down. Mayweather finishes the round strong and Guerrero seems greatly overmatched. The clock is ticking on the challenger. The Times' card: Mayweather 10-9; Mayweather leads, 78-74.
Round 9: Guerrero is starting to look desperate but he still can’t mount a challenge against Mayweather. Guerrero lands a left but Maywetaher counters with his own left to the body. Whenever Guerrero starts to challenge Mayweather, the champion lands a right, but suddenly one punch from Guerrero draws a small amount of blood in Mayweather’s nose. A better round for Guerrero but he’s too far behind to catch up. The Times' card: Guerrero 10-9; Mayweather leads, 87-84.
Round 10: Whatever momentum Guerrero gained in the ninth round was lost in this one. Mayweather has quietly built a big enough lead that it seems inevitable he will win. The fight has lacked any real big punches. Mayweather does land a strong left but Guerrero seems unfazed. The Times' card: Mayweather, 10-9; Mayweather leads, 97-93.
Round 11: Mayweather seems well aware of his position in the fight even acknowledging someone at ringside. Guerrero hasn’t given up even though his position seems hopeless. Mayweather lands a vicious combination midway through the round and makes the 11th one of his more dominant rounds. This fight should be in the books for Mayweather. The Times' card: Mayweather, 10-9; Mayweather leads, 107-102.
Round 12: Credit Guerrero for still trying in a hopeless situation. Mayweather’s dancing starts to irritate the crowd, which wants to see some action. Mayweather doesn’t seem as if his 36 years have caught up with him. His year off also hasn’t produced a lot of rust. Scorecards are likely to be overwhelming for Mayweather. No real action in the final round although Guerrero kept trying until the end. The Times card: Mayweather, 10-9; Mayweather wins the right, 117-111.
It's official, Floyd Mayweather Jr. has defeated Robert Guerrero by unanimous decision, 117-111 on all three judges cards.
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