If Floyd Mayweather Jr., indeed left the ring for good Saturday night, the last impression won’t serve well for the multiple accomplishments of his brilliant 19-year career.
As expected, Mayweather won a lopsided unanimous decision against Miami native Andre Berto in their welterweight title fight. But, in a continuation of Mayweather’s victory over Manny Pacquiao four months earlier, the bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas became another “glorified sparring session” for the sport’s top pound-for-pound fighter.
Mayweather, 38, landed enough lead punches against a trigger-averse Berto, who promised war but must have declared peace immediately after the fighter introductions. Sufficient combinations from Mayweather and Berto’s inability to engage enabled Mayweather to win the bout on all three judges’ scorecards 117-111, 118-110 and 120-108.
“Muscles don’t win fights. It’s all about that IQ,” Mayweather said. “I’m 10 steps ahead of any fighter. I take whatever your best attribute is and I take it away from you and make you resort to do something that you don’t want to do.”
The dominant performance enabled Mayweather, a world champion in five separate weight classes, to finish his career with a perfect 49-0 record, tying 1950s heavyweight titleholder Rocky Marciano. Marciano retired with a similar mark after his ninth-round knockout over Archie Moore in 1955.
“You have to know when to hang it up,” Mayweather said. “I’m close to 40 years old. There’s nothing else to prove in the sport of boxing.
“My 49-0 record is a part of boxing history. Records are made to be broken. Hopefully, someday we can find the next Floyd Mayweather.”
How history judges Mayweather could lead to continuing debate. True, Mayweather became the top pound-for-pound fighter and pay-per-view headliner the past eight years. His spotless record features 26 knockouts and only one scorecard showing him losing a fight — Mayweather’s split-decision win over Oscar De La Hoya in 2007.
Yet, despite the unblemished record and Mayweather’s claim that he is the best ever, critics will point to Mayweather’s selection of opponents and the circumstances and timing of opting for such foes in the closing chapters of his career. Berto (29-4) was selected despite losing three of his previous six fights.
The bout with Pacquiao, clamored by the fight public for nearly six years, shattered pay-per-view records but didn’t occur until both fighters reached their mid-30s.
Mayweather, who said he will concentrate his post-boxing life to his promotional company, defended his ring performances and choice of opponents.
“It’s not cool to take punishment,” Mayweather said. “I’ve got a little bump and a bruise but it’s OK. I’m leaving the sport with all my faculties. I’m still sharp and smart.
“It [didn’t] matter what opponent I chose. It’s still going to be the same result. I’m not perfect, but I strive to be a perfectionist.”
AROUND THE RING
▪ Aventura resident Ahmed Elbiali (12-0, 11 KOs) knocked out Fabiano Peña in the first round of their light-heavyweight bout Tuesday in Hollywood, California. On the same card, former 154-pound champion Austin Trout (30-2, 17 KOs) knocked out Miami resident Joey Hernandez (24-4-1) in the sixth round.
▪ Boca Raton resident Steve Geffrard won his 13th consecutive fight with a fifth-round TKO over Cory Cummings on Thursday in Westbury, New York. A former national amateur champion, Geffrard, 25, lost his first two professional bouts before his current victory streak.
▪ Key West-based manager Si Stern died Sept. 7 after complications from a heart attack. He was 81. Among the fighters Stern managed in his career were Miami resident and two-division world champion Randall Bailey and heavyweight Sherman Williams. Stern accompanied Williams to his fight in Romania on Aug. 28, but suffered a heart attack three days later after returning to Key West.
Tuesday (9 p.m., Fox Sports 1): Sammy Vasquez vs. Jose Lopez, 10, welterweights.
Friday (9 p.m., Bounce TV): Caleb Truax vs. Fernando Guerrero, 10, middleweights.
Saturday (11 p.m., UniMas-Ch. 69): Jose Felix vs. Marcos Jimenez, 10, lightweights.