Mayweather finishes an undefeated champion with 49th win
One of the biggest nights in boxing in recent history included a match with one of boxing’s finest, Floyd “Money” Mayweather, in what he said was his last professional fight ever. Leading up to his fight included an international frenzy between Orlando Salido from Mexico and Roman “Rocky” Martinez from Puerto Rico. Any true fan, and anyone with an understanding of boxing would have to admit that to be given the opportunity to fight on the undercard that night is a rising star’s dream.
The rivalry in the ring between Mexico and Puerto Rico has been going on for years, and they always produce great fights. It all started in 1981 when Wilfredo Gomez challenged Salvador Sanchez to a bout for the featherweight title, and ever since then, it has been a tradition to put on great performances and to compete for the win and for pride between the two cultures.
Salido fought a great fight, constantly adding pressure from the beginning of round one, up until the final bell in round 12. Martinez also fought a great fight, but had a slightly different game plan in mind. In the earlier rounds it seemed as if Martinez wanted to punch and move, as he kept circling Salido as soon as he finished a combination.
In the later rounds, Salido began to break Martinez down with his consistent pressure and forced him to fight an “inside” fight. Unfortunately, the fight ended in a draw, and the two fighters left the ring furious as they both thought they deserved to win.
In his last fight in a professional setting against Berto, Mayweather put on a show. He threw and landed a barrage of great combinations. It was a side of him that fans did not see in his last four fights, and wondered if he still had it in him. In his younger days as “Pretty Boy” Floyd, we saw increased amounts of action from him. It was a time when he scored the majority of his knockouts and used his killer left hook. Against Berto, Mayweather landed 57 percent of his punches for a total of 232 out of 410. The twelfth round was an exciting round as we all got a chance to see Mayweather aim for a knock out; something he hasn’t done in his recent fights. He didn’t have to make any changes in his craft or in the way he fought. Speed was key, and it helped him pick openings in Berto’s defense. One of the first punches you learn to throw as a boxer, the jab, aided in increasing Mayweather’s accuracy significantly. The jab is Mayweather’s key punch, as he depends on it heavily to help control the pace of the fight. It’s a tool that every fighter must learn to use if they want to be great at the sport. Seconds after the bell rung in round one; the first punch of the fight was a Mayweather jab that landed flush on Berto’s face. Mayweather threw a total of 219 power punches and connected on 149 of them, landing 68 percent of his shots.
When watching a Mayweather fight, fans already know what to expect, and his unique approach to the sport may change boxing for the future generations, as there are already young amateur fighters mimicking his style. We first heard about it in the Cuban School of Boxing: hit and not get hit, and the jab is always your punch of choice unless you can counter with a different one.
Throughout the entire fight, Mayweather shows off his footwork and head movement. It is true, too much moving around and avoiding punches will make a fight boring, but a lot of fans fail to look at it from a fighter’s perspective. Sure, from outside of the ring you want to see action, and it looks easy to dance around your opponent, but from the boxers’ standpoint, it is one of the hardest things to do. Not only does he move around the ring throughout this fight, but he also mixes it up and stands in front of Berto throwing and landing good combination punches.
The fight between Mayweather who is now 49-0 with 26 KOs, and Berto, 30-4 with 23 KOs, did not generate as much “fight hype” as Mayweather’s other fights because Berto was a huge underdog, and fans thought Floyd chose an easy last fight. Even though Mayweather dominated the entire fight, winning by unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards 117-111, 118-110, 120-108, it is not fair to say that he intentionally chose an easy fight. Styles make fights, and every fighter deserves a chance. Berto is known as an aggressive fighter, who engages and makes fights interesting. The slogan Berto’s team put an emphasis on during the pre-fight conferences read, “When have you ever saw a boring Andre Berto fight.”
Fans who tuned into the event that night had the chance to witness one of the greatest in this boxing era compete one last time. In a post-game interview, Mayweather shared, “I’m leaving the sport with all of my faculties, I’m still sharp, and I’m still smart.” Who knows if this decision is certain, but what we do know is that he had a good run.