WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. (L) of the U.S. connects a punch on Robert Guerrero, also of the U.S., during their title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada May 4, 2013. Photo by Steve Marcus, Reuters
MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE 1) Floyd Mayweather Jr. put on a boxing clinic, thoroughly outclassing Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero in their 12-round welterweight clash to remain undefeated Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas (Sunday morning in Manila).
Mayweather, fighting for the first time in nearly a year, found his rhythm early in the fight, landed his right hand with crushing regularity, and neutralized Guerrero’s offense as he cruised to a unanimous decision victory.
The three judges scored the bout 117-111 across the board for Mayweather, who retained the World Boxing Council welterweight belt and claimed the vacant RING Magazine welterweight title.
“It was blood, sweat and tears. What else can I say?” said Mayweather, who was fighting for the first time since outpointing Miguel Cotto in May 2012.
It was also his first bout since getting out of jail in August 2012.
Before the fight, the unbeaten American faced questions about how the long lay-off, the ring rust and his jail stint will affect him.
“Everybody was saying, because I’m at the age of 36 that I didn’t have it anymore, that I wasn’t sharp,” Mayweather acknowledged.
But he very quickly silenced the doubters. After taking the first two rounds to feel Guerrero out, Mayweather found his range in round three, landing quick right straights against the slower Guerrero.
Guerrero did his best to press the action and tried to trap Mayweather against the ropes, but the unbeaten fighter easily slipped and ducked his way out of trouble.
Even when pinned against the ropes, Mayweather only shrugged off Guerrero’s digs to the body and responded with short punches of his own.
Mayweather’s best moment came in round eight, when he opened up a cut above Guerrero’s right eye and then connected on a huge right hook that clearly staggered “The Ghost.”
“I was going for the knockout,” Mayweather said, “but I hurt my right hand midway through the fight.”
Even without the stoppage, it was an impressive performance for Mayweather, as many believed Guerrero’s youth, rough style and southpaw stance would give “Money” some trouble.
“He’s a true warrior, I take my hat off to him,” said Mayweather of his opponent. “He’s still a true champion at heart. He came out and gave it his best.”
Mayweather remains undefeated in his professional career, extending his winning streak to 44 fights.
Guerrero, who raised his arms in triumph after the final bell, acknowledged that Mayweather was “a little better than I thought.”
“I thought I was going to catch him, but he was on his game tonight,” said Guerrero.
But he also claimed that Mayweather “was barely slipping by my punches” and said he hopes to fight the American again.
“Hopefully before Mayweather retires, I’ll get that shot again,” said Guerrero, who dropped to 31-2-1 (win-loss-draw) in his career.
Mayweather, who landed a stunning 60% of his power shots throughout the 12-round encounter, credited his father, Floyd Sr., for the victory.
“I needed my father this night… (He reminded me of) defense – the less you get hit, the longer you last,” he said.
Mayweather plans to fight against in September, although he has yet to announce an opponent.
The unbeaten American, who last year was the highest paid athlete in the world, is guaranteed to earn $32 million in this fight. Guerrero, meanwhile, is guaranteed $3 million.