Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s impressive unanimous decision victory over Robert Guerrero on Saturday night in Las Vegas was highlighted by a tremendous defensive performance.
Now 44-0 for his career, Money looked more like the "ghost" inside the ring than Guerrero, who withstood some heavy shots from the reigning WBC welterweight champion. From start to finish Mayweather made himself a moving target, proving almost impossible to hit at times.
Working with his father, the defensive-minded Floyd Mayweather Sr., in lead-up to the fight, Money was certainly well-prepared to show off his refined skills (via ESPN.com's Dan Rafael):
I was really happy to be back with my father, I knew after the Cotto fight, I was getting hit too much and my dad would help me get hit less. My defense was on point, and he told me just stick to your defense -- the less you get hit, the better -- and to box smart.
The evidence of Mayweather's sensational defensive performance came after the fight. While Guerrero's face was red and bloodied, Money looked fresh and almost unblemished—much like his professional record.
Mayweather's dominance extended well beyond the defensive aspect of his game, however. Despite injuring his hand in the middle of the match, he was connecting on punches and doing significant damage to Guerrero.
The numbers prove it. Money landed 195-of-476 punches (41 percent) for the fight while Guerrero was missing over 80 percent of the time, landing just 113-of-581 punches (19 percent) for all 12 rounds Saturday night, according to CompuBox.
Near-flawless defensive execution.
After the match, Floyd Sr. spoke about the key to Money's success (via Rafael):
I thought Floyd did an excellent job, I helped bring back the defense because I thought he was getting hit too much. There was nothing he couldn't do in there anyway tonight. But after the Cotto fight, he came to me and said, 'Please train me. I feel like I'm getting hit too much.' Honestly, Floyd could have danced the whole fight, but instead he used his defense and I told him to steal him with the right hand. That was the shot [Guerrero] couldn't see.
Like Floyd Sr. points out, it was Mayweather's incredible defense that opened things up for him on the attack. Seemingly every missed swing from Guerrero led to a devastating shot by Mayweather.
Mayweather's fast feet and quick thinking even earned him a few shoutouts on Twitter Saturday night.
College Football analyst Desmond Howard definitely knows a thing or two about speed:
Desmond Howard @DesmondHoward
It's incredible how fast/quick @FloydMayweather is in the ring. Hand speed, foot speed and defense all superior. http://t.co/SPbgZWVEeZ5/5/2013, 4:28:41 AM
ESPN TrueHoop Network writer Alton D. Clark also praised Money's championship-caliber defense:
While Money would have likely survived Guerrero on Saturday without his father in his corner, there's no denying that Mayweather's new, defensive-minded approach gave him the tools to eliminate every shred of doubt about who the best fighter was in this weekend's main event.
Mayweather's offense was stellar on Saturday and allowed him to leave his mark on the judges, but it was his superb defense that started it all, discouraging Guerrero early on and supplying Money with the confidence to pick his opponent apart.
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