Floyd Mayweather kept his professional career record unblemished after he triumphed over Marcos Maidana in Las Vegas.
The judges scored the fight 114-114, 117-111, 116-112 in favour of the American, giving him a victory by majority verdict.
Following this fight, Mayweather's professional record stands at 46 wins, zero draws and zero defeats.
The 37-year-old had to dig deep for this win after "El Chino" turned the bout into a real battle. Maidana disrupted Mayweather early on, and it took a few rounds for "Money" to gain a foothold in the fight. It was only then that he began to assert his quality.
Close wins like this have been rare for Mayweather in his illustrious career so far. Not often does he have to dig so deep and battle so hard, so a victory in this style will come as great satisfaction to the undefeated champion.
With the dust settling on Money’s enthralling narrow victory, let's go over some takeaways from the thrilling fight.
Maidana Shows How Money Might Be Beaten
First things first, you have to give credit to Mayweather’s vanquished opponent.
Maidana clearly had a game plan to rough up Mayweather and unsettled him in the opening stages of the fight. Maidana cut the ring off, battled hard on the inside and used a few sly tactics to rile his opponent. Viewers were impressed by just how well Maidana was initially faring:
Awesome!!! Gonna be tough for Maidana to keep this up for 11 more rounds. Best round I've seen some fight against Mayweather. #TheMoment— Billy Lanni (@Billy_Lanni) May 4, 2014
Mayweather was noticeably frustrated, as he found it difficult to establish any kind of rhythm, with Maidana coming forward, cutting down the ring and taking aim.
The Argentine actually threw a remarkable 100 punches in Round 1, which was a measure of his intensity from the opening bell:
If Mayweather is to be beaten, Maidana gave a glimpse into how it might be done. The Argentinean eventually tired himself out after an unbelievably dynamic start, but if he had timed his assaults a little more, he could have kept Mayweather under wraps for longer spells in the bout.
That's something to bear in mind ahead of a potential rematch, which both fighters seem keen on:
"If the fans want to see it again we can do it again." -- Floyd Mayweather (So the rematch comes later this year.)— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) May 4, 2014
Maidana, through a translator, says something along lines of "Just give me a fu--ing rematch." Maidana is not big on press conference banter— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) May 4, 2014
Mayweather Won’t Shirk a Scrap
In the post-fight interviews, Mayweather insisted that he could have "made the fight a lot easier" if he wanted to, per Kevin Mitchell of The Guardian, but instead he gave "everybody the excitement they want."
Money had to dig deep to win this fight, and a huge part of that was battling with Maidana through those middle rounds. With his opponent relentless in his forward forays, Money had to match his effort and industry and establish a platform.
He toughed it out and did exactly that, eventually using his quality to pick spots and create openings. Despite Maidana looking to take it to Mayweather's body, Money began to assert himself:
#MayweatherMaidana Mayweather doing better. Maidana banging the body. Maidana getting a bit tired.— FightNights.com™ (@boxing) May 4, 2014
Once Maidana began to run out of steam at around mid-fight, Mayweather came to the fore. He dragged Maidana around the ring, keeping him at bay with sharp jabs and quick feet. But he was only able to conjure up that idyllic situation after matching Maidana for effort and work rate from Round 4 onward.
Mayweather showcased that the ability to grind out a win, as he did against Miguel Cotto in 2012, has not deserted him. You don’t go unbeaten in 46 fights without some serious heart, after all.
Class Shines Through Eventually
After the argy-bargy during the earlier stages of the fight, Mayweather’s class rose to the surface.
Maidana’s tactic to come out like a steam train was admirable and seemed to work well initially, but he was always going to tire. And when you face somebody as high-calibre as Mayweather, you’re going to get punished as soon as your dynamism drops just a little.
How would a rematch pan out?
Mayweather wrestled back the initiative in the fight during the second half. He bobbed, weaved and shuffled his way around the ring, waiting for mistakes from Maidana and exploiting the chinks that continued to widen in his armour as fatigue settled in.
Maidana caught Mayweather with a big right at the start of the final round that rocked Floyd, but even then, the pound-for-pound kingpin used his experience, ring nous and quality to take the sting out of the situation and come through.
In the aftermath, whilst mainly complimentary about Maidana, Mayweather did have a couple of digs at his opponent, stirring the pot after both fighters insisted they'd be happy to engage in a rematch:
Floyd Mayweather Jr says Marcos Maidana is a hell of a fighter but Cotto was a tougher fight and Canelo hits harder. #Boxing— Boxing & Mma News (@Boxing_Mma_News) May 4, 2014
If Mayweather does fight Maidana again, expect him to box a much smarter fight. He’ll avoid any tussling on the inside, look to keep his distance and pick his shots with purpose. Money seemed to be working out his opponent as the fight drew on, and if they were to square off again, a much more clinical Mayweather could see his opponent off inside the distance.