AP Photo

Mayweather decisions Berto in last fight to remain unbeaten

Leave a comment

LAS VEGAS (AP) His career winding down to its final seconds, Floyd Mayweather Jr. took a victory lap around the ring, his fist raised in triumph.

After 19 years of perfection in the ring, he deserved one final bow.

Mayweather capped a remarkable career with a typical Mayweather fight Saturday night, using his defensive wizardry to frustrate Andre Berto on his way to a decision so lopsided one judge gave him every round.

The $32 million he earned was pocket change compared to what he got for Manny Pacquiao in his last fight. But the more important number was win No. 49 in the final fight of his unblemished career, tying the mark of the late heavyweight champion, Rocky Marciano.

“You gotta know when to go. I’ve had a great career,” Mayweather said. “I’m leaving with all my faculties. I feel like I’m smart and sharp.”

Mayweather wasn’t about to change what he does best in his last fight.

Both dominant and defensive, he used all the tricks learned in a pro career that began in 1996 to take a unanimous decision over Berto and retain his welterweight titles in what he insists was his final fight.

Mayweather won yet again in a fight where he was chased but never really tested. He piled up points with a sharp jab and quick counter punches, leaving Berto swinging at air most of the night.

“What can I say, I was the better man tonight,” Mayweather said

By the late rounds, Mayweather was both talking to Berto (30-4) and taunting him, secure in the knowledge he was winning big against the 18-1 underdog. In the final seconds of the fight he took a victory lap, as the crowd of 13,395 stood and cheered at the MGM Grand arena.

The ringside scorecards reflected Mayweather’s dominance, with one judge scoring a 120-108 shutout. The other scores were 118-110 and 117-111, while The Associated Press had Mayweather winning 119-109.

Mayweather added to his pay-per-view riches once again, and once again he didn’t seem to have to work too hard to make it. Berto, who had lost three of his last six fights, tried to make it a fight but his punches were wide and mostly missed their marks.

“I pushed him to the limit,” Berto said. “But he was just better.”

Mayweather did what he’s done best in his long career, fighting defensively and picking his shots against Berto. He was especially effective when Berto rushed at him, using his counter punching skills to keep Berto away.

It was a winning combination once again, just as it had been in his 48 previous fights.

Mayweather had vowed to give fans an action fight in his last bout, after being criticized for fighting defensively in his win over Manny Pacquiao. He did trade punches with Berto on several occasions, but never stayed in the pocket long enough for Berto to find his mark.

Mayweather complained to his father in the corner during the fight that he hurt his hand, but said since he is retiring it didn’t matter.

Ringside punch stats showed Mayweather’s defensive wizardry. Mayweather was credited with landing 232 of 410 punches, while Berto landed only 83 of 495.

“I was in great shape but it was difficult to fight him,” Berto said. “He was really, really slippery.”

Mayweather weighed in at 146 pounds, a pound more than Berto.

Mayweather, in his 26th title fight, controlled the action all night, now allowing Berto to land more than one punch at a time. He was never able to hurt Berto, though, and passed up chances to engage him in exchanges.

Berto was surprisingly passive early, doing little in the opening rounds but throw punches that hit nothing but air. He picked up the pace beginning in the fourth round, but Mayweather had little trouble ducking and moving away from his wild punches.

By the 10th round were talking so much trash that referee Kenny Bayless called a halt to the action and told both fighters they needed to shut up.

If Mayweather retires it will end a career that saw him become a pay-per-view star and earn more money than any boxer before him. Though most in boxing believe he will some day fight again, the 38-year-old said he had plenty of money and his health is more important than chasing records.

“I’ve accomplished everything,” Mayweather said. “I’ve done everything in my sport.”

‘Canelo’ Alvarez dominates Chavez Jr., Golovkin next up

Getty Images
1 Comment

LAS VEGAS —¬†Saul “Canelo” Alvarez dominated a grudge match against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on Saturday night, winning a unanimous decision in a fight that left no doubt who is the top active Mexican boxer.

Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) used a punishing jab to take control early in the 12-round matchup of former middleweight champions. The bigger Chavez (50-3-1, 32 KOs) started bleeding from the nose in the third round. His left eye swelled in the sixth and started to close a round later.

Alvarez, a 4-1 favorite, was much quicker against the largest fighter he’s faced and won every round on all three judges’ cards.

After the beating, Alvarez immediately announced he will next face middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin in September in a long-awaited bout. Golovkin then quickly joined Alvarez in the ring.

The 31-year-old Chavez, son of iconic Mexican boxer Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., was trying to revitalize a career derailed by positive drug tests, weight issues and lax training. But he proved no match in the bout fought at a catchweight of 164 1/2 pounds.

Chavez avoided a $1 million-per-pound penalty when he weighed in at 164 pounds Friday, a half-pound below the catchweight and the lightest he’s been since losing his middleweight title to Sergio Martinez in 2012.

The 26-year-old Alvarez also weighed in at 164, nine pounds heavier than he’s ever fought. Alvarez, whose lone loss was to Floyd Mayweather Jr., got against the ropes several times and absorbed combinations from Chavez before quickly recovering with uppercuts.

Despite the 4-inch height advantage and an obvious weight edge after he rehydrated, Chavez was overmatched in his first fight under iconic trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain.

A confident Canelo didn’t bother to sit in his order after the seventh round, in a fight that wasn’t nearly as competitive as hoped.

A week after Anthony Joshua stopped Wladimir Klitschko in the 11th round of a thrilling heavyweight bout in front of 90,000 fans at London’s Wembley Stadium, the sport staged another big fight. Only this time there was a distinct Latino flavor.

Mexican bands played outside T-Mobile Arena more than three years before the main undercard began. A majority of the 20,510 fans inside the sold-out building wore either red (Canelo) or green (Chavez) headbands as they celebrated the Cinco de Mayo weekend by chanting “Mexico, Mexico.”

There was tension between the two fighters along with political overtones as a commercial for the fight depicted both boxers bursting through President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall.

The red-bearded Alvarez is normally mild-mannered, but he had criticized Chavez for his work ethic. Chavez then needled him for refusing to fight the bigger Golovkin.

Alvarez was guaranteed $5 million and Chavez $3 million.

In the co-main event, former IBF middleweight champion David Lemieux of Montreal took a unanimous decision over stubborn Mexican Marco Reyes in a catchweight bout at 163 pounds.

A left by Lemieux (38-3) opened a large gash above Reyes’ right eye in the second round. Lemieux later twice knocked out Reyes’ mouthpiece with punches. But Reyes (35-5) stayed upright for 10 rounds as blood streamed down his face and onto his chest.

Lemieux hopes to get a shot at Alvarez.

“I could have done better but I hurt my hand after round two,” Lemieux said.

Other matches on the undercard included Lucas Matthysse, a former junior welterweight champ, ending a 20-month layoff by dropping Emmanuel Taylor (20-5) of Maryland twice before the referee stopped it in the fifth round. The Argentine (38-4) was making his welterweight debut.

Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. (24-0) out-pointed fellow Californian Manuel “Tino” Avila (22-1) in a one-sided 10-round featherweight bout.

For much of the undercard, fans traded “Canelo” and “Chavez” chants on a festive night that brought out several stars, including Evander Holyfield.

GGG outlasts Jacobs in close unanimous decision

Getty Images
Leave a comment

NEW YORK (AP) Gennady Golovkin outlasted Danny Jacobs in an exhausting 12-round defense of his middleweight titles Saturday night.

Both fighters are knockout artists, yet this one went the distance – the first time GGG has not had a KO in 24 fights, and his first time going 12 rounds. The Kazakh won 115-112 on two judges’ cards and 114-113 on the other.

The AP had it 114-113 for Golovkin.

In the toughest fight of his stellar career, Golovkin often was stymied by Jacobs changing to a left-handed style. But a series of hard rights throughout the bout were enough – barely – to bring his record to 37-0.

“Daniel did a very good job,” Golovkin said. “Daniel is my favorite fighter. I can’t destroy him.”

He didn’t, unlike so many other opponents who felt the fury or GGG.

“I thought I won it by at least two rounds minimum,” said Jacobs, nicknamed Miracle Man after he overcame bone cancer in 2011-12 to win 10 straight fights. “I did feel like I had to win the 12th round to make sure.”

He won it on two of the three cards, but it wasn’t enough, perhaps because he was knocked down in the fourth round, which went to Golovkin 10-8 on all three cards.

Still, with Madison Square Garden reverberating from chants of “Triple G” or “JACOBS,” no one could be sure of the outcome right until the final punch.

Jacobs is 32-2. Golovkin holds on to his belts and took Jacobs’ WBA middleweight title.

Golovkin, a world champion since 2010, is 5-0 at the Garden, which he calls a “second home.” But Jacobs, from Brooklyn and, oddly, a representative of the competing arena the Barclays Center, tested him more than anyone has.

Golovkin keeps his WBC and WBO crowns – the IBF belt was not at stake because Jacobs skipped that organization’s fight-day weigh-in. On the horizon for GGG could be that elusive meeting with Canelo Alvarez if the Mexican wins his fight in May against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

“Of course I am ready to fight Canelo, of course I want that fight,” Golovkin said. “I am like an animal for that fight.”

But there’s another option, GGG admitted.

“I will give Danny Jacobs a chance for a rematch.”

Earlier, Thailand’s Srisaket Sor Rungvisai stunned previously unbeaten Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, knocking down the Nicaraguan in the first round, bloodying his face with an unintentional head-butt in the third, then winning a majority decision for the WBC super flyweight championship.

Even though Sor Rungvisai was docked a point in the sixth round for another head-butt – there were several in the brutal bout – he never backed off. He relentlessly attacked the cut over the right eye of Gonzalez, who clearly was hampered by the blood streaming down his face. The challenger carried the fight in the eyes’ of the judges through the latter rounds.

In only his second fight outside Asia, Sor Rungvisai improved to 42-4-1 with 38 knockouts. Gonzalez, considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, is 46-1.

One judge had the fight even at 113-113. The other two gave the Thai the nod 114-112 in the action-packed bout.

A sellout crowd at Madison Square Garden vigorously booed the decision.

The AP had it 115-113 for Gonzalez, who has held some sort of world title since 2008.

Gonzalez went down from a hard right to the body in the opening round, but he then took charge – even after his face turned to a bloody mask in the middle rounds. However, Sor Rungvisai landed enough punches and moved well enough to keep in it.

And then, despite being outpunched decisively, with Gonzalez landing 441 to 284, the Thai got the surprise decision.

Earlier, Carlos Cuadras outpointed fellow Mexican David Carmona in a super flyweight fight.

Both from Mexico City, Cuadras and Carmona were coming off defeats. Neither was particularly sharp Saturday night, and the decision drew a lusty round of boos from the crowd.

Perhaps the unorthodox manner in which Cuadras fought, at times looking off-balance and awkward, didn’t win over the fans. Or maybe it was the way Carmona came on late in the 10-rounder.

Regardless, the judges went for Cuadras 97-93, 97-93 and 96-94.

Cuadras (36-1-1 with 27 KOs) lost a close unanimous decision to Gonzalez in a sensational September matchup for the WBC belt he’d held since 2014. He wasn’t nearly as impressive in his win at the Garden.

Carmona (20-4-5) was also coming off a loss, to WBO world champion Naoya Inoue of Japan.

Cleveland’s Ryan Martin improved to 18-0 with 11 knockouts when he totally outmatched Bryant Cruz before stopping him in the seventh round of their lightweight bout.