It didn't come as easily as we anticipated, but Floyd Mayweather endured a grueling battle against a game Marcos Maidana to extend his undefeated record to 46-0.
In a fight that the pound-for-pound king was expected to thoroughly win, he received the stiffest test of his storied boxing career. After both men pummeled each other throughout an extremely physical 12 rounds, the outcome remained in question before the judges awarded Mayweather a victory by majority decision.
The fight was close enough for Maidana to feel like he got robbed of pulling off the monumental upset. Citing a pre-fight dispute that forced the 30-year-old to change gloves, he expressed his frustration after the fight, per ESPN.com's Dan Rafael.
"I definitely think I won," Maidana said through a translator. "Floyd did not fight like a man like I expected him to do. I had to change the gloves and I still gave him a great fight. He did dominate some rounds but the majority, I dominated them."
He wasn't the only one perturbed by the results. The audience, according to beIN Sports' Andy Kerr, did not respond positively to the final call:
A big part of that stems from a natural desire to witness the underdog prevail. A Mayweather loss is historic, while yet another win is business as usual. Including Justin Bieber and Lil Wayne in his entourage also had to lose some supporters.
Although no doubt existed in his last bout, the final scorecards (117-111, 116-112, 114-114) were identical. Mayweather achieved his last triumph over Saul "Canelo" Alvarez in the same fashion, but the similarities between the two fights stop there. C.J. Ross' draw ruling caused confusion after Mayweather seemingly earned a decisive victory last September.
This time around, Michael Pernick's 114-114 scorecard was a fairer assessment of this slugfest. Mayweather escaped but not in his accustomed runaway fashion.
According to CompuBox's punch stats, via Rafael, Mayweather landed 230 punches to Maidana's 221. In "Money's" 38 fights tracked by CompuBox, nobody has hit him more times.
Mayweather often confounds eager competitors with his one-of-a-kind defense and elusiveness, but he could not shake Maidana's attack. Instead, as relayed by Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole, Mayweather adapted his style and engaged in a brawl: "I was in a tough competitive fight. I normally like to go out there and box and move. But he put pressure on me, so that's when I decided I'd make it competitive and fight differently. I wanted to give the fans what I know they wanted to see, so I stood there and fought him."
It's important to note that the aggressive Maidana more than doubled Mayweather's punches thrown. The unrelenting Argentinian took 858 swings to the current champion's 426, giving the 37-year-old a much prettier conversion rating of 54 percent.
Taking Money's advanced efficiency into account, he deserved to maintain his unblemished record. While the shock of the undefeated champion not cruising to victory gives Maidana's glorified effort even more allure, the judges got the final outcome right.
But by Mayweather's elevated standards, his 46th victory was far from easy.