Floyd Mayweather weathered a strong effort from Marcos Maidana to win in Las Vegas, preserving his longstanding undefeated record.
The judges scored the bout 114-114, 117-111 and 116-112 to give the American victory by majority verdict.
Mayweather was the overwhelming favourite heading into this fight, but his opponent boxed with swagger, vibrancy and fearlessness that have left many calling for a rematch between the pair.
After such an entertaining contest, a sequel would make for more intriguing viewing, and in the post-fight interviews, Mayweather insisted that the fight was tough, but he’d be happy to repeat it, claiming "if the fans want to see it, we can do it again," per Kevin Mitchell of The Guardian.
And after Maidana dragged Mayweather out of his comfort zone, boxing connoisseurs would love to sample this scrap again.
So with memories of a scintillating bout still fresh, let's recap the biggest moments from this exciting fight.
Maidana Puts the Pressure on Early
"El Chino’s" best chance of victory was always likely to be a fast start.
In some of Mayweather’s previous fights against high-pressure fighters, he struggled when opponents flew out of the traps, and that's something Maidana clearly took on board. The Argentinian was intent on giving "Money" no time to breathe, pushing him into the corners, cutting off his space and forcing him onto the ropes.
Maidana threw 100 punches in a first round where he looked to set a positive precedent:
He impressed in the opening exchanges, but naturally, there were worries as to whether Maidana could keep up the pace, as predicted here by Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix:
Maidana landed more shots in round 1 but Mayweather definitely hurt him with a short hook towards the end. Good round for Maidana though.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) May 4, 2014
I don't think Maidana is going to be able to keep up this pace and not get pot shotted to death— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) May 4, 2014
El Chino's industry saw him dominate the opening couple of rounds, before Mayweather managed to work his way back into the fight in the third.
But Maidana continued to battle away. He was bent on turning the fight into a real brawl and was warned for elbowing Mayweather early on in the fourth; Money was noticeably rattled and vocal in his complaints.
Things got worse for the undefeated fighter after Maidana managed to cut him above the eye after some decent exchanges. At this stage, with Mayweather blinking and rattled, Maidana had his opponent exactly where he wanted him.
Mayweather Gets a Foothold
After the opening four rounds, it was apparent that Mayweather was going to have to earn the right to box. His opponent was giving him no time to settle in, and with a cut above his eye, Money needed not only to box smart but to dig deep.
But there’s a reason he remains undefeated, and he established a foothold in the fight as the midpoint approached with Maidana’s intensity starting to wane.
The sixth round saw Mayweather put together his first purposeful combination, shaking El Chino with some scintillating shots. Those blows seemed to knock Maidana off his stride a little, and he couldn’t get near his opponent in the seventh, as Mayweather continued to wrestle back the initiative.
The ensuing rounds were Mayweather's best phase of the fight. He took a tired El Chino to task, bobbing, weaving and picking his shots with aplomb. That continued into Rounds 9 and 10, as noted here by FightNights.com:
#MayweatherMaidana R10 Mayweather taking the edge in 9&10. Maidana getting pushed back.— FightNights.com™ (@boxing) May 4, 2014
After a start bristling with promise and persistence, suddenly it was Maidana’s turn to hang on in the fight.
Maidana Goes on an All-Out Attack
With the fight slipping away from Maidana, he knew he was going to have to knock Mayweather out in the final rounds.
He steadied himself at the start of Round 11, looking to come forward and take big shots at Mayweather and running a sizable risk of being countered in the process. He pushed Mayweather back onto the ropes early in the 11th, before administering a sneaky shot to the ribs when Floyd had his back turned.
His momentum continued to be halted though, as Mayweather started to pick counterpunches and use his supreme defensive skills to slow the pace of the fight.
But in the final round, Maidana came again, catching Mayweather with a thunderous right early on. Money looked hurt, and he retreated to the ropes as Maidana tried to capitalise. But as he so often does, Mayweather saw it through in the end, taking a narrow victory.
Should there be a rematch?
It was an enthralling bout, and there is great potential for a rematch—although you just wonder whether Mayweather figured out Maidana as the fight drew into the latter stages.
Money insisted he could have "made the fight a lot easier" if he wanted to, per Kevin Mitchell of The Guardian. Looking at the way he boxed in the final stages of this one, you can see those words have some substance.
But with Amir Khan confirming he won’t fight in September due to his religious beliefs, per Jeff Powell of the Mail Online, there seems to be little else on the cards for Mayweather.
Maidana fared a lot better than many expected, and you can bet the Argentinian feels that he’s capable of doing a better job in a rematch.