Floyd Mayweather Jr. dominates Andre Berto, maintains it’s his last fight
LAS VEGAS — Love him or hate him, if this is really the end for Floyd Mayweather Jr., the sport of boxing is going to miss him.
He’s 49-0 with nearly two decades of dominance and just under a billion dollars earned. He’s never known the taste of defeat and, at this rate, he never will.
“I’ve been in this sport 19 years, been a world champion 18 years, broke all the records,” Mayweather said. “There’s nothing else to prove in the sport of boxing.”
If this is the way he wants to walk away from the sport that made him the richest athlete in the world, so be it.
As expected, Mayweather dominated Andre Berto (30-4, 23 knockouts) in front of 13,395 fans at the MGM Grand Garden to earn a unanimous decision with the usual mix of precision counterpunching, deft defense and a superior boxing IQ in a “fight” that was never in doubt. The word “fight” being the operative word because the 12-round clash between welterweights was much less a fight and more of a glorified sparring session where Mayweather danced, talked and embarrassed the overmatched Berto throughout the 36-minute affair.
The scores of 118-110, 117-111 and 120-108 were about what was anticipated. Of course, fans wanted to see a knockout for Money’s final fight considering that the universe was let down by the megafight that turned out to be a dud between he and Manny Pacquiao.
But, as we all know, Floyd Mayweather isn’t necessarily here to give the fans what they want. A perfect example was the selection of Andre Berto, who was 3-3 in his last six fights with his most significant recent win coming against Josesito Lopez. It was the opponent nobody saw coming and the announcement of Mayweather-Berto drew a great deal of criticism. His attempts to justify his choice by saying that Berto comes to fight fell on deaf ears. Well, Berto did come to fight. It just didn’t matter.
As usual, a Mayweather fight wouldn’t be a Mayweather fight without controversy looming. It started with the invitation of the NFL’s first female football coach, Jen Welter, and blew up with the Thomas Hauser report that Mayweather and the United States Anti-Doping Agency enjoy a too-cozy relation and that the agency allowed Mayweather to take an illegal (by their standards) IV prior to his fight with Pacquiao (a claim that the Nevada State Athletic Commission has gone on record stating that Mayweather broke no rules). If Berto was going to be unable able to defeat Mayweather, maybe he’d be distracted into defeat.
Any hope of Mayweather letting his guard down was all for naught as the laser-like focus Mayweather possesses kept him on task throughout.
Mayweather measured Berto with his jab, stuck the jab to the body consistently, slapped him with the hook and neutralized any aggressive attempts by his Haitian-American opponent from the opening round. The only thing really missing from the Mayweather repertoire was the straight right hand. But it wasn’t necessary, as Mayweather didn’t need to unload the toolbox on Berto, who consistently pressed forward and tried valiantly to bull his way through Mayweather’s defenses.
After four rounds, and a right hand that appeared to hurt Berto, Mayweather realized that his opponent had absolutely nothing for him and didn’t even have a backup plan intact. That led to the 38-year-old toying with his prey. He did everything he could to embarrass Berto and Berto did everything he could to land a decent punch.
In Round 9, Mayweather complained of pain in his left hand but still stuck the jab when needed. In Round 11, perhaps sensing that this was about to be his last six minutes in a boxing ring, Mayweather played to the crowd and engaged in a spirited, albeit brief, exchange that brought the crowd to their feet.
For his final fight, Mayweather looked like he was having fun and maybe he’ll miss it. But, as of right now, it’s doubtful.
“My career is over. It’s official.”
If only we believed him.