LAS VEGAS — Floyd Mayweather added another historic accolade to close his career by easily defeating Andre Berto via unanimous decision (120-108, 118-110 and 117-111).The promise to fans that they’d see an “exciting” fight that would “push Mayweather” turned out to be a hollow one as Berto could not mount any consistent offense against the champion’s formidable defense. But the subdued action in the main event was made up for with one of the most entertaining undercards you’ll witness all year.
AGGRESSIVE OQUENDO RISES FROM KNOCKDOWN, DECISIONS GONZALEZ: Veteran Jhonny Gonzalez’s latest comeback suffered a significant setback at the gloves of Jonathan Oquendo. After suffering a flash knockdown in the first, Oquendo dropped Gonzalez hard with a right hand in the second and nearly got an early stoppage. From there, the bout was an attrition battle between Oquendo’s wild but consistent aggression, punctuated by clubbing body shots and right hands, or Gonzalez’ s dominance at long-range and counter hooks. I had the pair splitting the last four rounds for a draw, but the judges preferred Oquendo via scores of 98-90, 95-93 and 94-94. That first score of 98-90 should be considered criminal.
“The judges favored him too much,” Gonzalez said. “He kept head butting me. It just didn’t go well. As soon as he knocked me down, nothing happened. I just got right back up.”
“I feel very happy,” said Oquendo. I knew I had to throw a lot of punches and work to get inside to get the victory. I was able to implement that game plan tonight.”
Gonzalez still has one viable fight — the rematch against Abner Mares. Both are coming off hard losses and it makes perfect sense. With their diminished statuses and PBC affiliation, it should be easy to make.
As for Oquendo, he may find himself as a future opponent of either Leo Santa Cruz or Carl Frampton.
JACK EARNS SPLIT DECISION OVER GROVES: A composed Badou Jack fought a disciplined bout against George Groves to take a split decision nod over a game George Groves (116-111, 115-112, 113-114). Groves was put down in the first by two looping right hands, but stormed back in the successive rounds with a high punch output and sturdy jab. Jack responded in the middle rounds by roughing up Groves with thudding body shots and disrupting the British star’s offense with his own hard jab.
“Groves has a lot of heart,” said Jack, who made the first defense of the WBC belt he took from Anthony Dirrell in April. “Body work is becoming my signature. I wasn’t effective enough because I couldn’t knock him out. I felt like after the first round I could but I just couldn’t. I didn’t go to the body enough.
I haven’t thought about my next fight yet, but there’s a lot of big fights for me. I heard Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. wants to fight me. I want to enjoy this win but I will fight anyone.”
Groves protested the decision by leaving the ring immediately in a huff. Once he views this one on film, I think he’ll reconsider his stance. Over the second half, Jack was the one dictating the action and at times bullying Groves. On my card, I had it 116-111. For all his talent, the hard pill to swallow for Groves is that he’s now 0-3 in world title fights.
MARTINEZ ESCAPES WITH DRAW AGAINST RELENTLESS SALIDO: Mexico’s revenge will have to wait for another night with Rocky Martinez retaining his WBO junior lightweight title with a split draw (115-113 Martinez, 115-113 Salido, 114-114).The fight was action-packed with Salido’s brutal body punching forcing Martinez to stand his ground and slug over the bout’s second half.
Unlike most observers, I have no problem with the verdict. I scored the bout 115-113 for Salido. Both scored knockdowns in the same round canceling each other out, but it was still a round I scored for Martinez. I gave the champ 3 of the first 4, and then 5 straight rounds for Salido. However, Martinez on workrate took rounds 10 and 11 for me before Salido punctuated the bout with a strong 12th. If I score one of those rounds differently, it’s a draw.
Both guys are thankfully open to a rubbermatch. The only question is can they recover enough by December to give us a calendar year trilogy.
MAYWEATHER CRUISES OVER BERTO: Was anyone truly surprised? Floyd Mayweather was his usual self and so was Berto, so there should be no surprise that Mayweather ran away with this one with scores of 120-108, 118-110 and 117-111. Watching this one, I got the feel Mayweather was simply going through the motions with a guy he knew had nothing for him. Berto gave effort, but the skill gap was so wide what played out was akin to big brother indulging a little brother’s hopeless but “cute” effort.
Regardless of what you think of his opponents or when he decided to face them, Mayweather is leaving on top. Any further fights would just be icing on the cake of a legacy already solidified. As long as Floyd is around, the division stands still as fighters position themselves for a big payday over seeking the best competition. For that reason alone, the retirement comes at the right time. A comeback is possible only if we see one of the PBC welterweights come into their own as a star over the next year. For now, just appreciate one of the best fighters the sport has ever seen.