Floyd Mayweather a class above the rest

A casino full of jackpot superlatives are needed to do justice to Floyd Mayweather's 12-round performance against Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas in the early hours of this morning. It was simply scintillating.

Mayweather made Marquez, one of the most intelligent boxers on the planet, look like a brave journeyman fighter, his vanishing acts around the ring leaving the Mexican often simply hitting thin air.

From the first bell, Marquez was on the receiving end of a masterclass as Mayweather displayed razor-sharp reflexes and brilliant timing. As the fight moved through its phases, his skills were unassailable.  

Marquez was down on the canvas from two left hooks in the third round, but the knock-down was only the start of Mayweather’s fistic dominance.

It was a championship shutout. I gave not a round a round to Marquez, though he never gave up. The judges scored the contest 118-109, 120-107, 119-108 in favour of ‘Pretty Boy’.

That said, Marquez had come up two weight divisions, and two levels in class against Mayweather, who should now be regarded as head and shoulders above anyone currently boxing on the planet. Having seen Mayweather in this form, it is easy to see why many believe this morning that Manny Pacquiao, the great Filipino fighter, and Miguel Cotto, the great Puerto Rican pugilist – who meet in Las Vegas on Nov 14 – would fare no better against the American.

Mayweather’s defensive skills, natural athleticism, timing, reflexes and sheer comfort in the ring make him a great fighter. It is hard to see how he would ever be beaten at welterweight. Only perhaps, if he stays on in the sport too long. His record now reads 40 fights, 40 wins.

It was as if Mayweather had never been away. In the 21 months away since he flattened Ricky Hatton, he has lost nothing. In fact, the rest appears to have done him a favour.

Mayweather, who indulged with some verbal sparring with Shane Mosley in the ring after the contest, as HBO’s anchor interviewer Max Kellerman made a hash of the live interview, said: "I am back and I am going to continue to make noise in the sport of boxing.

"I came from a small weight class. I have fought at 130lbs, all the way to 154lbs and I have faced the best. We take one day at a time. I am truly blessed to be where I am. I go to the gym every day work hard and be the best I can be. There are a lot of great fighters out there. I am just here to be the best.

"People say Pacquiao is number one. I don’t have to rate myself. I know what I can do. Pound-for-pound is an opinion. I was a professional for 11 years, and I was a world champion for 10 years. I went away for two years, came back, I fought the number two fighter. I didn’t rate him, they did. I am a critic of myself. I want to be the best I can be."

Mayweather added: "I don’t rate this as one of my best fights. I think I could have done a lot better. I have been off for a couple of years. I just want to push myself to the limit. Even when I fought Ricky Hatton, I thought I could have done better. I want to be perfect, but no one is perfect. I always want to be better. When I get in the squared circle, the only thing I think about is my children. When the bell rings, I put it all out there for my kids."

He reserved praise for the bravery of his opponent. "Marquez is tough as hell. Tough, tough, tough. I hit him with some shots and I thought they were going to finish him, but he kept pushing back. That is the Mexican warrior heart in him. I have nothing but respect for Marquez and Nacho [Beristain, his trainer] as well. Nacho is one hell of a trainer. If drinking urine makes him that tough… damn!"

Mayweather added: "He was trying to go to the body, but when I am in the ring, I can see every shot that is coming. He is a hell of a fighter. I can’t take that away from him. I am not here to get down on any fighter. With the 54 fights, he was really crafty. The shots I could get in there he was ducking and dodging. I can see why he has been around the sport for so long and dominating."

Marquez said: "It was a very hard fight. He surprised me with the knock down. He hurt me in that round, but only that round. When I hit him and he laughed, I knew he felt my punches. I tried to work the speed, but the difference was the weight. If I had three or four fights at this weight I would have done better. I did the best that I could do in this fight. I still want to dedicate this fight to my fans and the president of Mexico. I am a little sad, but I tried my best and the weight was a big problem. I think there was maybe a 20-pound difference in weight. I am not trying to make excuses. I did the work. I worked very hard for this fight. I am proud to be Mexican and I was willing to die in that ring."

Marquez said on the differences between Pacquiao and Mayweather: "They have different styles. Floyd is very clever. He is 100 per cent a defensive fighter. He is a good counter puncher. And Pacquiao is a guy that likes to fight."

Make no mistake. Mayweather is back. Big time. Along with boxing’s No 1 pound-for-pound belt. Unless Pacquiao can take it from him. The Telegraph