Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Marcos Maidana dazzled in the main event of Saturday's Las Vegas action, surpassing expectations in their welterweight collision.
It was "Money" who triumphed in the end thanks to only the second majority decision win of his career, and second such triumph in succession following last September's close ruling over Canelo Alvarez.
The bout against "El Chino" took many a twist and turn that saw each fighter move to and fro in terms of their dominant patches, but contained within were a selection of key moments that altered the tide most dramatically.
It was clear from the first round that Maidana hadn't come to the MGM Grand with the intention of rolling over in front of his veteran opponent, firing from the hip in the opening exchanges.
SHOStats display just how eager the Argentine was in getting matters off to a flying start, too, as he threw more than an eighth of his overall punch tally in the opening three minutes:
#ShoStats: Total Punches Landed/Thrown thru 1 Mayweather [16/33, 48%] Maidana [26/100, 26%]— SHO Stats (@SHOStats) May 4, 2014
However, those figures also point out another crucial aspect of the fight that would ring true throughout: though Maidana's punch tally was high, Mayweather's was far more reserved and clinical.
El Chino appeared to have caught Money off guard with the ferocity of his efforts in the bout's opening round, taking an upper hand which, while ultimately futile, set up the tone for the majority of the match.
Mayweather Opened Up In The 4th
The sight of his own blood in the ring isn't something Mayweather is used to, so effective have his defensive nuances been throughout the years that he's never taken on the blows necessary to warrant regular cuts.
But that was one streak that ended on Saturday, with Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated and David Mayo of MLive Media Group voicing the extent of his fourth-round injury:
10-9 Maidana, 38-38. Mayweather has by far the worst cut of his career.— David Mayo (@David_Mayo) May 4, 2014
Mayweather is cut over his eye. Pawing at it. Blinking to get the blood out.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) May 4, 2014
It turned out that an accidental headbutt was almost certainly the cause of the cut, but it was nevertheless a daunting moment for Mayweather fans to see their idol exposed as human after all.
Thanks to some fine work from his corner and a reawakened need to avoid physical contact, Mayweather wouldn't see the cut affect his performance too much, nevertheless the rare image made the fight infinitely more intriguing.
After Money had managed to ride through the vast majority of whatever Maidana threw at him in the fight's middle stages, it became clearer toward the end of the bout that things were riding in favour of a Mayweather win at the MGM Grand.
This fruitless tale of all huff but little puff for Maidana was evident in the closing three rounds, and it was in the 10th that Mayweather started to open up his lead.
At this stage, the South American was visibly tired from the extraordinary barrage of punches he had thrown throughout the fight, as shown by SHOStats, but Mayweather's conditioning and approach to the matter meant that he was still able to snap Maidana with looping rights and clinical, hurtful blows:
#ShoStats: Total Punches Landed/Thrown thru 12 Mayweather [230/426, 53%] Maidana [221/858, 25%]— SHO Stats (@SHOStats) May 4, 2014