Dateline: Las Vegas, Nevada, September 13 – If this is officially his final bout, then Floyd Mayweather’s last fight was already completed more than four months ago when he dominated Manny Pacquiao, his supposedly biggest threat in the ring- a relentless southpaw, a fearless warrior- the denouement of his perfect boxing career that spans nineteen years and includes a solid list of champions, even hall of famers, within the proximity of his weight class in his era. Taking into consideration the names of Miguel Cotto, Marcos Maidana, and Saul Alvarez whom he defeated prior to his biggest challenge, the name of Andre Berto (30-4, 23 KOs) in place from out of nowhere befits the role for his final outing, which is a mere celebration of his perfect career.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. (49-0, 26 KOs), enters the ring jovially as both fighters have promised an exciting match up, as all presentations should be. Always in a seemingly endless quest to end the debate on being the best boxer ever, Mayweather Jr. comes in confidently with the first offensive. He shoots the sharp jab as if to broach the subject of domination and greatness. Berto fires back but hits nothing with his shorter reach. Instead he gets hit again off hand, and gets clocked with a hook. Both competitors show blinding hand-speed but the reigning champion only fires at the right time, a conservation which requires foresight gained from hard training and varied fight experience besides. Andre Berto decides to trap his opponent and wear him down upon the command of his corner but realizes the disparity between planning and actual execution, as Floyd Mayweather lithely moves around the ring while jabbing him at bay. Andre Berto pressed the attack but is now easily timed; a testament to Paulie Malignaggi’s observation that the former champion punches with the same velocity each time. He lacks the variations and mainly fights with his heart, which is why he is easily beloved as a boxer and will likely never be among the elite of the sport. Meanwhile, Mayweather varies his attack by coming inside directly with an uppercut. He temporizes after a stiff jab, keels to his left, bobs away following a signature lead right hand; moves that are beautiful to watch even if almost mechanical. In the middle rounds, the body punches were rapidly successive for a short while. It was becoming a perfect moment to showcase his talents as the best defensive fighter of his generation literally walked around the ring with both hands down, smiling, taunting, solidifying his case of an ever great against a short, stocky fighter whose best days never took off.
It was another masterful performance by the Pound for Pound best fighter in the world who was never really threatened the whole time, and just because there is no such thing as being completely safe in prizefighting. It would’ve been at another level if he fought and nearly lost against better opposition. Perhaps he’s just the best ever it’s perfunctory.
Mark F. Villanueva
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