LAS VEGAS – Floyd Mayweather Jr. did nothing to deserve the occasional boos that echoed through the MGM Grand arena during the later rounds of his fight with Robert Guerrero.
He didn’t deserve any blame for fans leaving early, either, though hundreds found their way to the exit even before the 12th round began.
If they were spending $1,000 and up for tickets to a brawl, they should have known better. Mayweather built a career on not getting hit, and there was no reason to think he was going to make the same mistakes as last year against Miguel Cotto against a fighter whose only hope of winning was to rough him up.
Instead of booing, they should have been applauding. Instead of leaving, they should have been on their feet cheering.
On the canvas where he does his best work, Mayweather painted a boxing masterpiece only he could produce.
Everyone was saying at the age of 36 I don’t have it no more, Mayweather said. All I want to do is give fans exciting fights.
This one wasn’t as much exciting as it was brilliant. Mayweather used defensive skills built up over a lifetime to take apart a very good fighter Saturday night and do it in such lopsided fashion that ringside judges seemed to be searching for a round to give to Guerrero.
He hit Guerrero with right hand leads all night and might have knocked him out had he not hurt his hand in the eighth round. When Guerrero tried to land big shots of his own, Mayweather was either smothering him on the ropes or had danced out of harm’s way.
It was a $32 million display of all that’s right about the sweet science. And if it didn’t satisfy all the fans at the MGM Grand or those who paid $69.95 for the pay-per-view, it kept Mayweather undefeated in 44 fights in what is becoming a remarkable boxing career.
I showed the world I can still box, Mayweather said. I showed my defense is still there. I’m still fast.
Most importantly, perhaps, it showed Mayweather himself that he still has it.
Mayweather is in the unique position where he can handpick his opponents, and he’s been criticized for trying to find fighters he knows he can beat. Upcoming Mexican star Canelo Alvarez would be a risky fight, one Mayweather might want to save until late in the remaining five fights he has under a deal with Showtime that he says will be the last of his career.
He’s a young guy, Mayweather said of Alvarez. Floyd Mayweather isn’t going to duck anybody. My job is to go out there, rack up victories and be the best Floyd Mayweather I can be.