Mayweather handles Berto with ease in final fight of his career

Three thoughts on Floyd Mayweather’s lopsided decision over Andre Berto at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday night.
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LAS VEGAS -- Three thoughts on Floyd Mayweather’s lopsided decision over Andre Berto at the MGM Grand Garden Arena  on Saturday night:

Just as expected

All week, Mayweather did his best to convince reporters that Berto was a dangerous opponent; Berto, too, dismissed the idea that he wasn’t deserving of this fight. Yet when both fighters stepped in the ring, it went almost as scripted. Berto tried to out-jab Mayweather early, reaching–and often missing–Mayweather with soft punches. Mayweather wasn’t particularly aggressive, but was the far more accurate puncher. Mayweather landed 57% of his punches (232/410) while Berto connected on just 17% (83/495). The final scoring (117-111, 118-110, 120-108) reflected Mayweather’s brilliance. 

Floyd Mayweather defeats Andre Berto by unanimous decision

Frankly, there is not much more to say. This was a glorified sparring session. Berto alternated between jabbing and trying to rough Mayweather up along the ropes, and Mayweather had an answer each time. His combinations were crisper, his power punches were harder and he was never in danger. Berto landed the occasional wild right hand, but Mayweather was never hurt and rarely seemed bothered. He preened to the crowd in the final two rounds, yapped at Berto’s corner and shook his head at Showtime’s announce team. To be honest, after the ninth round, he, like the rest of us, looked bored. 

It’s not about how Mayweather fought–it’s who he fought

No one expects Mayweather to be Arturo Gatti. He’s a brilliant defensive fighter who wins with accuracy of punches. If he had performed this way against Tim Bradley, Keith Thurman or Amir Khan, the criticism would have been muted. But that he did it against Berto, a middle-of-the-pack welterweight who has not had a significant win since 2010, the criticism is enhanced. The prevailing critique of Mayweather is that over the last eight years he has staunchly refused to fight the best opponents. If this is the end for him, he ends fighting one of his worst. 

That’s not meant to belittle Berto. Even with the loss, there are still plenty of good fights for Berto in the future. He’s an action fighter who is eagerly willing to engage. But he was put in against an opponent he wasn’t ready for, tabbed for a fight he didn’t deserve. 

ROUND-BY-ROUND: Mayweather-Berto live blog

Is this the end?

Showtime’s Jim Gray asked Mayweather if he injured his left hand during the fighter. Mayweather shrugged and said it didn’t matter; his career was over. There is widespread speculation that Mayweather will return in 2016, possibly in a rematch with Manny Pacquiao, possibly against one of the young stars of Al Haymon’s stable (Khan, Thurman, Shawn Porter) who will have the opportunity to step into the massive void Mayweather is leaving in the sport. 

If he does retire though, the sport will miss his talent. He’s 38, more skilled and better conditioned than anyone around his weight class. I’m not sure we’ll ever see a fighter who spends 19 years at the top of the sport. But there has been so much negativity surrounding his career, so much frustration about who he fights, it’s probably best that this is the end. He can move on, count his millions and enjoy the rest of his life. And boxing can move forward with talented young fighters like Thurman, Gennady Golovkin and Saul Alvarez to lead it.