Mayweather decisions Berto in last fight to remain unbeaten

AP Photo
0 Comments

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.”

After fighting for Ukraine, Lomachenko fights again in ring

Getty Images
0 Comments

NEW YORK – When Ukraine was invaded, the only fight Vasiliy Lomachenko would consider was the one for his home.

Boxing plans were put on hold, even though they appeared set to include a title match. Lomachenko calls being undisputed champion his dream, but his country’s war with Russia is real life.

“I couldn’t understand anything about what’s happening militarily,” Lomachenko said through an interpreter, “but inside you, you have a feeling of what you need to do.”

Now he’s resuming his career, starting Saturday night in the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden against unbeaten Jamaine Ortiz in a bout that will stream on ESPN+.

Win, and Lomachenko (16-2, 11 KOs) could move on to another chance to fight for the lightweight titles he once owned. But either way, first he’s headed back to Ukraine, which he believes is secure enough now to allow his family to return home this week after staying with him in California while he trained.

Nobody was sure that would be the case when Russia launched the invasion in February. Lomachenko was in Greece at the time, with an expected fight against then-lightweight champion George Kambosos Jr. being planned for later in the year.

He went back to Ukraine and joined a territorial defense battalion, telling his advisers he would be unavailable to take that fight.

“When this was happening, when this started, nobody really knew anything about anything,” Lomachenko said. “And when you really have no understanding about what’s going on, every normal person, every normal citizen would go and defend his country and that’s what the majority of men do in our country.”

For Lomachenko, that meant being part of a team that enforced a 10 p.m. curfew, patrolling the streets to make sure there were no cars in sight. After about a month of that, he was trained to take part in several other duties.

“No military operations, but certain tasks,” Lomachenko said. “For example, a suburban area in the outskirts of the city that we needed to go out and do some reconnaissance, make sure that no alien people, no one unknown is basically located in that area.”

Lomachenko is one of Ukraine’s greatest athletes, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who compiled a 396-1 record as an amateur. After turning pro, he won a title in his third fight and was a champion in three weight classes after his 12th.

He eventually owned three lightweight belts before losing them to Teofimo Lopez in October 2020. Two straight wins following shoulder surgery had him on the path back toward a title shot before the war.

Lomachenko was given breaks during his service to train, so he doesn’t believe his time away will affect the rhythm and footwork that are among boxing’s best. Ortiz (16-0-1, 8 KOs) doesn’t expect to see slippage from the fighter the Worcester, Massachusetts product has sparred against.

“I think the opponent in front of you brings out the type of fighter you are,” Ortiz said, “and I think Lomachenko is going to bring out the best Jamaine Ortiz, the fighter that everybody around me in the gym and in New England and where I come from knows.”

Lomachenko likely would have been favored to beat Kambosos, who had won the titles from Lopez. With Lomachenko unavailable, the Australian instead fought Devin Haney and dropped them in a lopsided decision, then lost the rematch two weeks ago by another wide margin.

Lomachenko doesn’t fret about the opportunity that was lost, just as he doesn’t wonder what if about the fight with Lopez. That was originally expected to take place in the spring of 2020, perhaps in what would have been a packed Madison Square Garden, where Lomachenko is 5-0. Instead, it was pushed back months because of the coronavirus and held in a mostly empty setting in Las Vegas after a nearly 14-month layoff for Lomachenko. Maybe things would have been different without the pandemic.

“I don’t have any regrets at all,” he said. “Everything happens the way they’re supposed to happen.”

Nor does he worry that the likelihood of regaining the belts will be tougher now that Haney has them. Lomachenko is small for the 135-pound weight class and would have to beat a skilled, naturally bigger man, similar to Lopez.

“The sweeter the victory shall be,” said Lomachenko, with a smile.

 

Tyson, 54, to return for exhibition match against Jones Jr.

AP Photo
0 Comments

CARSON, Calif. — Mike Tyson is coming back to boxing at age 54.

The former heavyweight champion will meet four-division champion Roy Jones Jr. in an eight-round exhibition match on Sept. 12 at Dignity Health Sports Park.

Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history when he won the title in 1986 at age 20 and for a time was the most feared fighter in boxing. But his career became littered with distractions and he hasn’t boxed since 2005 after losing his second straight fight.

He has occasionally teased a return with workout videos and it’s finally scheduled to happen.

Jones, 51, won titles in the middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight before moving up to win the heavyweight title in 2003, becoming the first former middleweight champion to do so in 106 years.

The event will air on pay-per-view and the social media music platform Triller. Further matches on the card and musical entertainment will be announced in the coming weeks.