Mon, Nov 06, 2006 - Page 19 News List

Mayweather earns title

'PERFECT FIGHT' The US boxer did everything but knock out his Argentine opponent in a no-doubt demonstration of greater skill and superior quickness

AP , LAS VEGAS

Floyd Mayweather Jr. dominated nearly every minute of every round on Saturday night to earn a lopsided decision over Argentina's Carlos Baldomir for the World Boxing Council (WBC) welterweight title.

Mayweather remains unbeaten after the win, which could help to set up a headline bout next year against Oscar De La Hoya.

Baldomir never went down and never appeared in trouble, but his face was bloodied from the first round on as he took punch after punch to the face from the much quicker and much more skilled Mayweather.

Two judges gave Mayweather every round, while a third gave him all but two rounds. The Associated Press had Mayweather winning every round and scored the bout 120-108.

Mayweather won his 37th professional fight and 16th title fight. More importantly, he looked good enough to set up a possible fight with De La Hoya in May that could be one of boxing's richest ever.

"I fought a perfect fight," Mayweather said.

The only thing that Mayweather didn't do was try to go for a knockout against the durable Baldomir, who hadn't lost in eight years.

Mayweather said he hurt his right hand in the sixth round, preventing him from going for the knockout.

It didn't take much time for Mayweather to figure out the Argentine, a veteran fighter who spent much of his career fighting as an undercard before winning big bouts against Zab Judah and Arturo Gatti earlier this year.

Baldomir came into the fight as the WBC champion, but Las Vegas oddsmakers had Mayweather was a 4-1 favorite and he showed why in the first round by cutting Baldomir over his left eye and on his nose.

"I got him, you know what I mean?" Mayweather told his corner after the first round.

Mayweather certainly knew, fighting the fight he wanted to against Baldomir, whose punches were often way off the mark as he grew increasingly frustrated.

"He was just too fast and I felt like I couldn't catch him," Baldomir said. "And when I did catch him I felt sluggish."

Mayweather, a four-time champion, was fighting for the title Baldomir won in an upset of Zab Judah in January.

Baldomir's only real hope was to rough Mayweather up and negate his speed and boxing ability, but the strategy didn't work in the early rounds as Mayweather landed with an assortment of left hooks and lead right hands.

By the fifth round, Mayweather was unloading big punches and Baldomir was growing even more frustrated. He chased Mayweather futilely, taking punishment as he threw wild right hands.

At the end of the fifth round, Baldomir gestured angrily at his opponent as Mayweather went back to his corner.

Mayweather earned US$8 million for the fight, while Baldomir was paid US$1.6 million.

Mayweather fought without a trainer in the corner, though it didn't seem to matter much. His uncle, Roger, normally serves as Mayweather's trainer, but is now in jail in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he is serving a six-month sentence on a battery charge.

In another fight, Orlando Salido landed the harder punches and more of them to upset Robert Guerrero and win the International Boxing Federation featherweight title by unanimous decision.

Salido of Mexico won by wide margins on two ringside scorecards to take the title that Guerrero won in his last fight.

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