Floyd Mayweather found himself in a tough position against Marcos Maidana at the MGM Grand last night - but the welterweight showed his class and responded in a way that conveys just what a true champion he really is.
Mayweather outpointed a game Maidana in Las Vegas to unify the welterweight division and remain unbeaten.
Maidana tried his best to turn the contest into a messy, and sometimes ugly, affair. The Argentine went after the pound-for-pound king and gave him one of his toughest tests in years.
Mayweather suffered a cut above his right eye and was caught with some powerful body shots and trademark swinging right-hands throughout the fight, but he was able to push through from the sixth round onwards and seal his 46th consecutive victory.
"It was a tough, competitive fight," said Mayweather after his win, who has now only stopped one opponent in seven years.
"I normally like to go out there and box and move. But he put pressure on me. I wanted to give the fans what they wanted to see so I stood and fought him.
"I couldn't see for two rounds after the (accidental) head butt (in round four). After I could see again it didn't bother me. That's what champions do, they survive and adjust."
It was by no means a one sided bout, that is for sure. Maidana started the first round in frantic fashion, pushing Money onto the ropes and unleashing a flurry of shots from close range. He landed several overhands off of both sides but none that looked to have caused any significant damage to his opponent.
In the second Maidana continued to unload an array of shots and looked in trouble of tiring himself out early on after having thrown an astonishing 100 punches in the first, but he was being backed by a mass of Argentinian fans in the arena that were making plenty of noise.
Mayweather looked to have found his feet in round three, finding his range and landing a few classy combinations. However, Maidana's ability to harrass and close down the space kept forcing Floyd onto the ropes, where he landed several combinations of his own.
The pace and style of the fight looked to have rattled Mayweather, who was clinging on to his opponent everytime he got knocked to the ropes. Maidana had thrown a far greater volume of punches, but the 37-year-old favourite was landing a higher percentage.
In round four Mayweather suffered a cut above his right eye, presumably caused by a clash of heads, that appeared to worry him as El Chino continued to pile on the pressure.
Maidana probably had one of his best rounds in the fifth with more and more of his punches breaching Mayweather's usually unpenetrable defence. The champ didn't look used to this and appeared to be struggling, as well as bleeding.
As the fight wore on, the 30-year-old Argentine continued to throw punches from odd angles that were near impossible to see coming. This prompted Mayweather to throw some ambitious and wild punches of his own as Maidana looked to be getting his own way by turning the fight into a brawl.
Round eight was perhaps the best of the contest. Both fighters showed some great punching ability and Mayweather's footwork was back to its best as he battled to stay off the ropes. Maidana unleashed some huge left jabs but TMT responded with some powerful counter-punching of his own which was enough to win him the round.
Mayweather looked to switch up his style in the ninth and it appeared to be working as he caught El Chino with a beautiful right cross shot. Maidana's pace had glaringly slowed and the stage now looked set for TMT to go on and dominate the final three rounds.
In the closing stages Mayweahter resembled a calm and composed figure who was completely focused on the job at hand. The undefeated 37-year-old showed his experience and used his impeccable defence to deal with everything his powerful opponent could throw his way.
One judge scored the fight 114-114, the other two 117-111 and 116-112. It was a cracking fight and Maidana surprised Mayweather, and perhaps the world, with his furious early onslaught and unusual angle of attack.
The Argentine will hope of securing a rematch in the future, though it is uncertain if the now unified welterweight champion will be willing to give him one after that scare.
Most would much rather see Mayweather face his pound-for-pound nemesis Manny Pacquiao, a fight which the great Muhammad Ali tweeted that he'd like to see happen after last nights contest, and one which would attract the attentions of all boxing fans around the globe.
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