Floyd Mayweather Jr (49-0, 26 KOs) successfully defended his WBC and WBA Welterweight world titles with a unanimous points victory over Andre Berto (30-4, 23 KOs) on Saturday night in the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada
This was a comprehensive victory for the champion who showcased all the talent and skill that has made him a star for the past nineteen years as a professional.
Mayweather started the fight strong taking the first four rounds. Berto was a determined challenger, and he became more aggressive around the fifth stalking Mayweather with his jab. However the champion’s superior boxing ability ensured he was never in any danger.
Mayweather’s reflexes and timing were exceptional enabling him to dominate Berto in every department. Mayweather would tie Berto up in the clinch, frustrate him with counter punches and take round after round whilst boxing from distance.
A series of stinging combinations appeared to rock Berto in the fourth and at the bell for the end of the sixth. Berto won the seventh as Mayweather took a round off and the challenger had more success with his pressure tactics. Things turned ugly in the eighth round when Mayweather began taunting Berto. The referee had to intervene to remind the fighters to keep things clean.
Mayweather closed out the fight with a strong showing in the twelfth electing to stand and trade with Berto. It appeared he was going for a grandstand finish but he could not find the punches to halt the muscled Berto. It was a landslide victory for Mayweather with the judges scoring it 118-110, 117-111 and 120-108 in his favour.
With this win Mayweather takes his record to ’49-0,’ equalling Rocky Marciano’s long standing record. During the post fight interviews Mayweather was adamant that he was retiring to spend time with his family and concentrate on the Mayweather Promotions stable of fighters.
He leaves the ring with an estimated wealth of $650 million and a perfect professional record.
On the undercard, Badou Jack (20-1-1, 12 KOs) successfully defended his WBC Super- middleweight title against Britain’s George Groves (21-3, 16 KOs).
Groves was on the canvas in the opening round as a result of a solid right from Jack. It was a uphill battle to get back into the fight from then on for the Londoner.
Groves showed determination to take the fight to the champion. By the half way point the bout had became a battle of jabs. Groves seemed to be in control with his work rate and was having success landing the more effective punches.
However, by the seventh round the tide began to turn in the favour of the champion. It appeared that Jack’s punches were taking a toll on Groves and by the ninth round the champion’s corner were of the belief that Groves was ready for the taking.
Groves rallied in the eleventh but it appeared the champion’s more consistent work shaded it in the twelfth and final round.
The judges scored a split decision in favour of Badou Jack; 116-111, 115-112 and 113-114.
Groves left the ring immediately in disgust, which seemed a petulant reaction to what in reality was a closely contested bout in which he by no means disgraced himself. However there may be some question marks over Groves stamina, particularly in the championship rounds.
On the evidence of this performance one could say that Groves overachieved against Carl Froch, granted he was beaten by the champion in both fights there was a feeling that fans had witnessed the arrival of another future world champion. Groves had also nurtured a reputation as a classy operator with a particularly lethal right hand. He wasn’t able to land effective power punches against Jack which may have been to the credit of the champion but the manner in which Groves appeared to fade in the championship rounds should be a concern. A simple analysis would suggest that Groves burns a lot of nervous energy because of his style but this needs to be rectified in future fights.
If Groves had won the title it would have set up a British Super-Middleweight unification bout with the IBF champion James DeGale. The opportunity may have passed for now but Groves still has time and the quality to mount another bid for a world title.
In other results Anthony Joshua (14-0, 14 KOs) won the vacant Commonwealth heavyweight title with a ninety second demolition of Scotland’s Gary Cornish (21-1, 12 KOs) at the O2 Arena, London.
Cornish struggled with Joshua’s power and smart counter punches. Cornish was dropped twice; the first was as a result of a right hook counter. He rose to his feet and attempted to back Joshua up. He was countered again by a series of lefts and a huge right that saw him fall to all fours. Cornish rose to his feet but the referee waved an end to the fight.
Dillian Whyte (16-0, 13 KOs) stopped Brian Minto (41-10, 26 KOs) in three rounds earlier in the night and both results now set up a tantalising showdown on the 12th of December for the British title.