By Luis Sandoval
Any lingering questions about what Floyd “Money” Mayweather (44-0, 26KOs) still has left were quickly put to rest Saturday evening in Las Vegas with a dominant performance against Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (31-2-1, 18KOs).
Scores were 117-111 across the board in a unanimous decision victory for Mayweather, who showed no signs of ring rust after a 52-week layoff.
Mayweather’s last fight against Cotto offered the suggestion that the reigning pound for pound king may have been slipping as he was hit more than we were used to seeing. At 36 years old, Mayweather showed that not only is he still the best in the game, but he still possesses the skill set he’s displayed time and time again.
Against Guerrero, Mayweather used his legs and began to box his southpaw opponent. Guerrero tried to press the action and continued to work even when Floyd tried to tie him up. While the pride of Gilroy, Calif. landed some good shots to the body, it was as clean as he would hit Mayweather for the rest of the night.
Things were interesting for the first couple rounds, but little by little, Mayweather began to go work and do what we’ve grown accustomed to seeing; a dominant performance. The right hand was Money’s money punch as he landed it flush and often. Lead rights that landed clean drew cheers from the crowd as it was Mayweather’s accuracy allowing him to hit and move out before Guerrero could do anything about it.
Part of Guerrero’s game plan, as with most of Mayweather’s opponents, was to put an immense amount of pressure on Floyd but the game plan proved to be ineffective. Even when Guerrero would get Mayweather against the ropes and had him within arm’s reach, he was reluctant to let his hands go. Instead, it was Floyd who continued to pile on the points and right hands as he seldom threw any other punch to attack a befuddled Guerrero.
By the half way point, the fight had taken a pattern as Mayweather was in full control and his challenger couldn’t solve the puzzle in front of him. To his credit, Guerrero never stopped coming forward and trying to find his way inside but he paid a high price each time as he was drilled him with laser right hands.
In the 8th round, Mayweather put on his best offensive display as he worked Guerrero with hard right hands to the head and body. With a cut over Guerrero’s left eye, he took a beating as he was stunned by another right and endured a heavy onslaught by Floyd. It was more proof Mayweather was on a different level and was picking Guerrero apart.
The rest of the fight fell into the same pattern with Mayweather using his legs, defense, countering skills and sheer faster hands to continue to dominate the fight until the final bell. As much as Guerrero tried to make this a fight, he was simply outclassed by the best fighter in the sport today.
Many questioned if Mayweather had the legs at 36 years old. If the reflexes were still there and could he take on a young hungry champion gunning for his throne. With his performance tonight, Mayweather proved he’s still the Floyd of old and put on one of his vintage performances. The Mayweather that hardly gets hit cleanly in a fight returned and much of that credit went to his father Floyd Mayweather Sr.
“I’m back working with my father. The less you get hit in the sport, the longer you last. I needed my father this night and we were victorious. My father provided defense. The less you get hit the longer you last. Continue to box. If the knockout comes, I was going to take it” said Mayweather after defeating Guerrero.
Mayweather also revealed he hurt his right hand midway through the fight which he felt prevented him from finishing the fight that way he would’ve liked to which was by knockout.
After this performance, the fight that is being brought up is a mega bout with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez who is coming off the biggest win of his career as he defeated Austin Trout last month. Mayweather has confirmed he will fight again this year in September but who the opponent will be is something we will still need to wait for.
“We don’t know who we are going to fight in September. Let me go home and rest up first and talk it over with Al [Haymon]and Leonard [Ellerbe] and see who we come up with” said Mayweather regarding a Canelo fight possibly being next.
Mayweather’s only fault tonight might be that dominant performances don’t always provide the all out action most fans covet. There were mixed reactions in the media and fans in attendance as some appreciated Mayweather’s masterful display while others felt it wasn’t exciting enough for their taste.
Performances like tonight ultimately show Mayweather’s skill level is on another scale. You can’t help but feel Mayweather added another Picasso to his gallery of fights and he simply was too skilled for yet another opponent.
As for Robert Guerrero he finally got the fight he had been asking for. While he was outclassed tonight, his will and determination carried through 12 rounds even if the results he wanted weren’t achieved. Guerrero still has plenty of fights he can make and losing to the number one guy in the sport is nothing to be ashamed about.
Mayweather continues to sit atop the boxing world and secured a guaranteed 32 million dollar purse tonight. With only 30 months left to go in his career as a boxer, Mayweather continues to add to his legacy as the last chapters are yet to be written.
Abner Mares (26-0-1, 13KOs) made an explosive Featherweight debut as he stopped Daniel Ponce De Leon (44-5, 35KOs) in the 9th round of their championship bout.
Mares put on a terrific performance as he not only boxed, but also fought fire with fire as he exchanged with the hard hitting southpaw and caused the most damage. Even though De Leon’s best weapon is his left hand, it was Mares who put his on display early as a leading left hook caught De Leon and put him down in the 2nd round.
Things wouldn’t get any easier for De Leon as it was Mares who was beating him to the punch and landing the cleaner and harder blows. De Leon’s left hand was landing but it wasn’t having an effect on Mares who began making those left hands miss as he controlled the distance better as the fight went on.
In the 9th round, both fighters opened up and it would prove detrimental for De Leon as he was put down for the second time in the fight with a thunderous right hand. De Leon would beat the count but Mares would jump on him and land two big follow up rights. While De Leon was in a bad predicament, he tried to fight back but referee Jay Nady jumped in and called a halt to the fight.
Mares scored the first stoppage since 2010 and it came in a new weight class were many wondered if he had maybe moved up too soon and bit off more than he could chew. He proved that not only can he be successful as a Featherweight, but that he is true elite fighter to reckon with.
You can follow Luis Sandoval on Twitter @Truewest007. You can also tune in to BoxingScene Radio, Boxingscene’s official audio show every Tuesday from 6-8PM PST with hosts Ernest Gabion, Luis Sandoval, and Ryan Burton.