Despite the fact that Floyd “Money” Mayweather (44-0) beat Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (31-2-1) via a decisive unanimous decision Saturday night, that Mayweather was dealing with an injury to his right hand (h/t Mayweather’s Twitter) makes the victory even more impressive.
According to Bryan Armen Graham of Sports Illustrated, Money said that he hurt his hand somewhere in the middle stages of the fight and felt the injury is what prevented the undefeated champion from knocking Guerrero out:
Judging from the quality and quantity of punches thrown by Mayweather—he landed 195 of his 476 punches and hit 153 of his 254 power shots (h/t Yahoo! Sports)—the injury didn’t stifle his game for most of the fight.
Money hit Guerrero flush with the right hand throughout the fight, but instead of the damage to Mayweather’s hand being the reason The Ghost didn’t go down, it was more likely the toughness of the former interim champion.
Guerrero’s iron jaw is what got him into the position he was in Saturday, and his toughness is what kept this fight from ending with a knockout, not the injury to Mayweather’s hand.
While Mayweather pushed through the pain and finished the fight, the latter stages of the bout were slow-paced and boring, as Money was both protecting his hand and his sure-fire victory.
Many fans in attendance and watching at home—including boxing legend George Foreman—thought Mayweather started watching the clock at the end of the fight, but the injury could explain his lack of aggressiveness:
After all of the drama following the fight about the extent of the injury and how it could cause Showtime to cancel the September bout currently scheduled for Mayweather, Dan Rafael of ESPN is reporting that the Mayweather camp claims his hand is fine:
Mayweather (44-0, 26 KOs) said at the post-fight news conference that he planned to still fight on Sept. 14 and his visit to the doctor after that seemed to match his optimism about keeping the date.
"He went to hospital [Saturday] night and everything is fine," Kelly Swanson, Mayweather's longtime publicist, told ESPN.com on Sunday. "He just experienced some soreness."
While there has been a very vocal minority of fans that feels Mayweather’s hand injury is the only reason Guerrero walked out of Las Vegas without getting knocked out, that is likely not the truth.
There is no question that an injury to Money’s dominant hand was a big obstacle to overcome during Saturday’s fight, but while Guerrero sustained damage throughout the fight, he was never truly in trouble enough to get knocked out.
Mayweather dominated throughout the first 10 rounds of this bout and decided to fight defensively for the last two rounds.
Whether the evasive 11th and 12th rounds were to protect the win or his hand, the injury he sustained during the fight didn’t alter the general game plan for Money much at all.