LAS VEGAS – Floyd Mayweather Jr. fought as if he had never left the ring, coming back from a year’s absence Saturday night to win a unanimous 12-round decision over Robert Guerrero in their welterweight title fight.
Mayweather was masterful at times, landing thudding right hands and bloodying Guerrero’s face in a performance that mimicked some of his best fights. Mayweather hurt Guerrero on several occasions, including a series of right hands near the end of the eighth round that buckled Guerrero’s knees.
All three judges scored the bout 117-111 in Mayweather’s favor. The Associated Press had Mayweather winning 119-109
Mayweather remained unbeaten in 44 fights, while handing Guerrero only his second loss as a pro.
Mayweather was booed at times for not mixing it up more, but he didn’t need to. He was content to move and land jabs and right hand leads, while Guerrero grew increasingly frustrated trying to chase him.
The fight settled into a familiar pattern from the third round on as Mayweather made adjustments and started landing some crisp right leads to Guerrero’s head. Guerrero was eager to trade punches, but often couldn’t find Mayweather, who had already moved out of range.
Before the fight there had been some concern about Mayweather having ring rust after going a year without a fight. But he didn’t miss a beat, using his defensive skills to baffle Guerrero and keep him off balance.
By the fifth round Mayweather’s confidence was growing and he began landing some heavy right hands to Guerrero’s head. Guerrero kept plodding after him, but paid the price as Mayweather shot counter right hands through his defenses
Mayweather was faster and stronger than Guerrero, who was fighting for only the third time at 147 pounds. Mayweather said he hurt his right hand while going after the knockout in the eighth round, but still managed to control the fight round after round.
“I feel bad I didn’t get the knockout tonight that the fans wanted,” Mayweather said. “I hurt my right hand.”
Mayweather was a 5-1 favorite coming into the fight, but Guerrero was considered dangerous coming off a big win over Andre Berto. Guerrero hadn’t lost in eight years, and vowed to be the first to beat Mayweather, now 44-0.
But he had never fought Mayweather.
Guerrero (31-2-1) was cut over his left eye in the eighth round, when Mayweather seemed on the verge of stopping him.
Ringside punch stats showed Mayweather landing 60 percent of his power punches, an unusually high rate. That included 23 of 30 power punches in the eighth round, when Guerrero was wobbled.
“I landed some good shots on him,” Guerrero said. “Floyd’s a great defensive fighter. I thought I was going to catch him.”