Boxing: Floyd Mayweather wins WBA title at Vegas
Las Vegas: Pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather ran his perfect record to 46-0 with a 12-round majority decision over Marcos Maidana in a welterweight world title unification bout Saturday night.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. of US celebrates his win over Marcos Maidana of Argentina. Pic/AFP
The 37-year-old American Mayweather retained his World Boxing Council world title and took Maidana's World Boxing Association belt, winning the fight on two of the three judges' scorecards, with the third scoring it a draw.
"It was a tough competitive fight tonight," Mayweather said. "I stayed in there. I wanted to stand and fight.
"I could have made this fight easy but it would have been boring."
Mayweather, who was an 11-1 favourite heading into the fight, received scores of 117-111 and 116-112. The third judge scored it 114-114.
Mayweather did not get the decisive victory that so many had predicted as the more aggressive Maidana gave him all he could handle.
The event was marred when a large crowd of fans, fearing what they thought was a gunshot, rushed in panic towards the exit. Some two dozen fans were injured in the melee and some were hospitalized.
Maidana: I was 'robbed'
Argentina's hard-punching Maidana, 30, who was making the first defense of his title, suffered the fourth loss of his career to go with 35 victories.
Maidana was upset with the way the fight was scored, saying he was "robbed" of the decision.
"I definitely think I won," Maidana said. "He didn't fight like a man.
"Nobody has ever attacked him the way I did. And nobody has ever landed punches the way I did."
Most of Mayweather's recent fights have been boring tactical affairs, but Maidana's relentless pursuit of the unbeaten champion and willingness to go toe-to-toe made for an exciting bout.
Many in the crowd also thought Maidana had done enough to win the fight and his supporters in the arena booed the decision, then tried to drown out Mayweather's post-fight interview.
Mayweather made a grand entrance befitting his superstar status. He was accompanied into the ring by pop star Justin Bieber and rapper Lil Wayne.
Some of the other celebrities in attendance at Saturday's fight at the Grand Garden arena inside the massive MGM Grand hotel-casino complex included rapper Drake, former heavyweight world champion Mike Tyson, entertainer Snoop Dog, comedian George Lopez and basketball legend Magic Johnson.
The first few rounds of the main event bout were electric as Maidana stuck to his pre-fight promise to come out swinging. Mayweather seemed to be content to lean on the ropes and absorb the overhand rights that got the crowd excited but appeared to do little damage early on.
Mayweather did suffer a cut over his right eye in the fourth round from an accidental head butt.
"After the head butt I couldn't see for two rounds. But that is what champions do, they adjust," Mayweather said.
Both fighters resorted to some questionable moves later in the fight.
Maidana hit Mayweather with a low blow in the eighth and later in the round Mayweather tried to surprise Maidana with a ghost punch while the Argentinian was trying to communicate with the referee about something Mayweather was doing that he didn't like.
In the 11th, Maidana pushed Mayweather partly through the ropes then threw more punches while Mayweather was leaning over backwards almost falling out of the ring.
A rematch likely
Maidana landed a total of 221 punches -- more than any fighter against Mayweather in his last 38 fights.
Mayweather praised Maidana for taking the fight to him but blamed the Argentinian for the rough stuff.
"I thought I was the boxer and he was the WWE wrestler," Mayweather said. "It was the toughest wrestling match I have ever had. Miguel Cotto was a tougher fighter and he hit harder."
But asked if he would give Maidana the rematch that the Maidana says he wants Mayweather replied, "Let's do it again."
At the post fight news conference, Mayweather shook the hand of Maidana's trainer Robert Garcia and said there would be a rematch in the fall.
Some see Mayweather's inability to dominate like he has done in the past as a sign that father time might be catching up to him.
"He is getting older and showing a lot of mistakes that he didn't used to do. It is a great time to catch him," said British boxer Amir Khan who beat Luis Collazo on Saturday's undercard and is also hoping to land a title bout against Mayweather.
After the fight MGM officials had to deal with the upheaval caused by the stampede.
Eric Poleski, battalion chief for the Clark County Fire Department, said the crowd mistook a loud bang caused by a temporary wall falling down for a gunshot and panicked.
No serious injuries were reported, Poleski said, but those taken away in ambulances included a young fan rushed to a local children's hospital.