Nothing sidetracked undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. from accomplishing his goal this past Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
In a virtuoso performance, Mayweather, the pound-for-pound best boxer in the world exhibited no rust after being out of the ring for a year as he retained his World Boxing Council welterweight belt and added the vacant Ring Magazine title with a unanimous decision over Robert Guerrero.
What the 15,880 fans in attendance saw was Mayweather landing right hand leads throughout, and Guerrero scoring in the first and second rounds, but after that was hard-pressed to muster much of an offensive assault.
By the end of the third round, Mayweather had taken over in terms of tempo and solving Guerrero, eventually opening up an ugly cut above the challenger’s eye in the eighth round.
Mayweather’s trademark hand and foot speed were on display, and even when he was backed up against the ropes, quickly evaded trouble.
The final punch stat numbers all favored the 36-year-old Mayweather, who signed a six-fight, $200 million deal with Showtime/CBS.
“Guerrero’s a warrior,’’ said Mayweather, a five-division world champion with eight world titles and is 44-0 with 26 knockouts. “He’s a true champion.”
Afterward Mayweather was asked if he was going for the kayo. “I hurt my right hand midway through the fight,’’ he said. “I’m a little disappointed. I was looking for the knockout, but I couldn’t because I hurt my hand.”
Much of the bout was contested in the middle of the ring with Mayweather getting off clean punches with ease and escaping the majority of Guerrero’s attack.
Mayweather’s domination was apparent whether tossing jabs, power punches or total shots and they swayed Judges Duane Ford, Julie Lederman and Jerry Roth, as all three scored the fight, 117-111.
Guerrero (31-2-1 with 18 KO’s) was game, but couldn’t solve the riddle that is Mayweather, who landed 60 percent of his power punches.
“Floyd’s a great fighter and that’s why he’s undefeated,’’ said Guerrero, who connected on 28 percent of his power tosses. “I hurt him a few times, but he’s so slippery. He’s better than I thought.”
By the eighth round, Mayweather’s accuracy bloodied Guerrero’s face and it looked at one point the champ was on the verge of decking the 30-year-old, landing 23 of 30 power shots.
The next four rounds were more of the same as Mayweather came in and had his way with the over-matched Guerrero.
Over the first two rounds, the pair stood toe-to-toe, and each had their moments, but the tide turned in the third round as Mayweather, who located 41 percent of his total punches to 19 percent for Guerrero, caught his stride and began to pepper him at will.
The instances when Guerrero shined were brief, and he became frustrated as the fight continued because Mayweather stood right in front and dared him to find the target, which he couldn’t.
Rick Assad has been a sportswriter for more than two decades. He has a political science degree from UCLA, a journalism degree from CSUN, is a staff writer for diamondboxing.com, and is a columnist for socalboxing.wordpress.com. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.