LAS VEGAS – Welcome inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena, where SI.com is ringside for Floyd Mayweather’s (alleged) final fight, against former welterweight titleholder Andre Berto. Some notes before we begin...
• Mayweather (48-0) has continued to maintain that this will be his last fight. While most, including Mayweather’s father, Floyd Mayweather Sr., believe he will fight again, Mayweather insists this is it. Strangely, that narrative has gotten little traction this week. Instead, Mayweather has attempted to convince reporters that Berto (30-3) is a dangerous opponent. Few agree, including Las Vegas, which has established Mayweather as a 30-1 favorite.
• I have covered every Mayweather fight since 2007; this is easily the most subdued fight week. The MGM Grand has lacked its usual bustle and earlier this week thousands of tickets were still available. Promoters insist the gate will still be eight-figures, but make no mistake: Mayweather’s popularity following an uninspired win over Manny Pacquiao has taken a hit.
• The story of the week was an SBNation piece written by noted author Thomas Hauser that, among other things, accused Mayweather of having a questionable relationship with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which has administered his enhanced drug testing for all of his fights since 2009. I’ll have more to say on this next week, but it’s safe to say the accusations are troubling, less about Mayweather–though the IV he took the day before the Pacquiao fight demands a more detailed explanation–than the USADA. The drug testing agency cannot afford to be seen as offering preferential treatment to an athlete; any credibility that agency has would evaporate.
And we go to the scorecards: 117-111, 118-110, 120-108 for Mayweather. Fight over. Career (allegedly) over. Floyd Mayweather is undefeated at 49-0.
ROUND 12: And now, maybe, the last round of Mayweather's career. Good combination by Mayweather. Berto looks defeated. Shoulders slump a little. Back in the corner, back in a tie up situation. Crowd starting to boo. Good uppercut by Mayweather. Berto keeps looking to his corner. Uppercut by Mayweather. Flurry by both fighters. Mayweather aggressive in the last minute. Mayweather prances away for the last ten seconds. Crowd boos. It's over. 10-9 Mayweather
ROUND 11: Mayweather lands a hard left hand. Berto flicks a couple of jabs. Another right for Floyd. He's pushing off with the elbow. Good uppercut from Mayweather. Mayweather shakes his head at the broadcast crew. Mayweather looks bored. Mayweather exorts the crowd to get into it. Tags Berto with a combination. Berto lands a jab. Hey, look: Another round for Mayweather. 10-9 Mayweather
ROUND 10: Berto, obviously, needs a knockout. Berto reaches with the right hand. Catches Mayweather in the corner. Mayweather talking to Berto now. Referee pauses the fight and orders both men to stop talking. Mayweather clips Berto with a counter left. He sticks his tongue out at Berto's corner. Mayweather strutting around the ring. Berto flurries wildly, doesn't hit much. Bell rings and both guys are in each others face again. Referee sends them to the corner. 10-9 Mayweather
ROUND 9: This has the feel of a sparring session. Berto can't figure Mayweather out. He reaches with the jab, gets air. Crowd is dead. Berto lands a right hand to the side of the head during a tangle. Mayweather lands a brilliant counter shot. Mayweather tapping Berto to the body. Berto talking to Mayweather now. He tags Mayweather with a good looping left hand. One of his better punches of the night. Another Mayweather round. 10-9 Mayweather
ROUND 8: Mayweather seems very comfortable fighting from the ropes. Muhammad Ali-type stuff. Good combination from Mayweather. That right hand got through. Another right. A good left. Berto ties up. Berto fighting with his hands down. That's a terrible idea. Berto trying to pick up points on the ropes. Mayweather catches Berto with a right hand. Berto taps him with a rabbit punch. Easy round for Floyd. 10-9 Mayweather
ROUND 7: Nice uppercut by Floyd. Follows it up with a solid combination. Berto goes to the body. Floyd back to the ropes. Both guys fighting in close. Berto swinging wildly. Mayweather tags him with a right hand. Berto pushing Floyd against the ropes. Mayweather smiles while he ties him up. Nice shot by Berto gets Floyd's attention. Another good shot. Bell rings and both fighters go nose to nose. Crowd roars. Close round but I'm giving this one to Berto. 10-9 Berto
ROUND 6: Berto charges in, lands a couple of short body shots. Mayweather counters with a good right hand. Great head-body combination by Mayweather. Fan yells "This ain't Pacquiao, Floyd." Mayweather busting Berto to the body. Berto lands a solid right. Mayweather clips him with another good left hook. Thudding. Good jab by Floyd. Berto catches Mayweather with a wild right. Berto landed more that round than before. But it's yet another round for Floyd. 10-9 Mayweather
ROUND 5: Berto lands a short uppercut. Mayweather responds with one of his own. Berto doing a lot of holding. Just rushing in. Berto lands a low blow. Floyd felt that. Warned by referee Kenny Bayless. Back to holding. Floyd jabbing well when there is some space between them. Berto doesn't seem to have much of a game plan. Chalk up another round for Mayweather in an ugly fight. 10-9 Mayweather
ROUND 4: Berto trying to push Mayweather to the ropes. He's just not doing anything when he gets there. Berto misses on a three punch combination. Berto comes back, lands a hard jab. Referee doing a terrible job breaking the fighters up in clenches. Mayweather lands a hard right, wobbles Berto. Berto tries to come back. Lot of holding now. Mayweather lands a soft jab. Another round for Mayweather. 10-9 Mayweather
ROUND 3: Good action early with both fighters exchanging solid shots. Berto ties Mayweather up. He's warned by the referee about holding. Mayweather back against the ropes, and Berto can't do any damage again. Mayweather lands a jab. Good combination from Floyd. Mayweather slips, touches the canvas when he stumbles. No knockdown. Berto charging in. Floyd easily scampers away. Berto bangs Mayweather with a couple of shots in close. Floyd counters with a hook that gets through. Better round for Berto. Still a Mayweather round. 10-9 Mayweather
ROUND 2: Berto still jabbing. That's not going to win him this fight. Mayweather more accurate with the jab. Both guys tying up a lot this round. Berto rushes in now, looking to pin Mayweather against the ropes. Mayweather escapes. Nice left hand by Mayweather. Berto lands a decent right hand. Berto swings wildly, misses, Mayweather counters. Another easy round to score for Mayweather. 10-9 Mayweather
ROUND 1: Berto comes out aggressive. Pops off a couple of jabs. Floyd's defense gobbles them up. Mayweather targeting the body early. Slips a nice hook to the head. Berto with a sharp jab catches Floyd. Berto's defense looks pretty good early. Hard left to the head by Mayweather. Solid round for Mayweather. He looks sharp. 10-9 Mayweather
8:33 PT: Here comes Floyd Mayweather. Mixture of cheers and boos from the crowd. Not much of a roar either way.
8:31 PT: Here comes Andre Berto. Once, Berto was considered a strong candidate to face Mayweather. From 2008-2010, Berto was one of the biggest stars in the welterweight division. But he was exposed against better competition and has since drifted to the fringes of the 147-pound ranks. Deserved or not, he gets the biggest shot of his career now.
8:29 PT: Crowd has filled in, though there are still plenty of empty seats in the building. Mayweather closed at around a 20-1 favorite, and few Vegas gambling experts expect this to be anything more than a Mayweather whitewash.
8:17 PT: A few highlights from the undercard:
Jonathan Oquendo pulled off a mild upset, outpointing Jhonny Gonzalez in a decent super featherweight scrap.
Super middleweight champion Badou Jack won a narrow split decision over former title challenger George Groves in another solid fight. This was a surprise, too; George entered the fight with a far more impressive resume–most notably two tough fights with former 168-pound star Carl Froch–while Jack was considered more of a journeyman who plucked a title from Anthony Dirrell earlier this year.
Jack was solid, dropping Groves with a right hand to the side of the head in the first round and wearing him down with a strong body attack. Of the 127 power punches Jack landed, 52 were to the body; though he was out-punched by Groves (721-506) Jack landed at a far more accurate clip (42% to 21%), according to CompuBox. One of the questions about Groves, 27, coming in was if the two wars with Froch took too much out of him. It was pretty clear they did.
After the fight, Jack called out Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (who has shown no ability to make 168-pounds) and Lucian Bute (who is shell of his former self). There was no mention of Andre Ward, the undisputed kingpin of the super middleweight division and, frankly, the only fighter a world champion should be interested in fighting.
In the co-main event, Orlando Salido and Roman Martinez battled to a draw in a rematch of a competitive fight last April. The first fight between the super featherweights was an entertaining slugfest, and the rematch was no different, with Salido and Martinez fighting in a phone booth for 12 rounds. Martinez fought well but it was Salido, with slashing body shots and relentless pressure controlling the pace of the fight. SI.com scored the fight 115-113 for Salido, who I thought won a tough but comfortable decision. Both fighters expressed interest in a third fight, and it seems likely Showtime or PBC will put up the money to make it.
Some pre-fight reading:
We’ll be back a few minutes before the start of the main event. Keep an eye on my Twitter account for updates before then.