Floyd Mayweather Jr unified the super welterweight world titles with a majority decision over Mexico’s Saul Alvarez on Saturday at the MGM Grand Hotel.
The 36-year-old extended his winning streak to 45 straight fights as he earned the biggest purse in boxing history at US$41 million.
“It is about skills,” Mayweather said. “I came out tonight and showed my skills. It is about performance.”
Mayweather fought a brilliant tactical fight in front of the crowd of 16,746 at the Grand Garden Arena. He used his jab and superior hand speed to keep Alvarez at bay, but Mayweather still only managed to win on two of the three judge’s scorecards.
One judge surprisingly scored it a draw, 114-114, while the other two had it 117-111 and 116-112 in favor of Mayweather, who wrested the WBC and WBA titles from Alvarez.
“I’m not in control of what the judges do,” Mayweather said. “I am in shock whoever had it even. Things happen in the sport of boxing.”
This was just the second fight for Mayweather since he was released from prison after serving a sentence for assaulting the mother of his children.
Mayweather gave away 13 years in age and 15 pounds (6.8kg) to the younger and stronger Alvarez, who moved down in weight for the showdown.
The seventh was one of Mayweather’s best rounds as he landed several combination punches early before backing Alvarez up into a corner and hitting him with a right uppercut that snapped the Mexican’s head back.
Mayweather came into the fight at 150 pounds, just a couple pounds lighter than he was at Friday’s weigh in.
Alvarez was first into the ring, followed by Mayweather, who walked slowly into the sold-out arena flanked by rap artist Lil Wayne and Canadian teen heartthrob Justin Bieber.
Alvarez entered the ring at 165, 13 pounds heavier than he was at Friday’s weigh in.
“I couldn’t catch him,” Alvarez said. “He is very intelligent and he is very elusive and that is what he demonstrated tonight.”
On the undercard, Danny Garcia kept his WBC and WBA light welterweight titles with a unanimous decision over challenger Lucas Matthysses.
Garcia knocked Matthysses down in the 11th round and then the two went toe-to-toe in the final seconds of the 12-round showdown with both looking to end the bout with a knockout.
Garcia improved to 27-0, but Argentina’s Matthysses made him work for it as he sent Garcia’s mouthpiece flying with a hard right hand in the 11th.
Carlos Molina also won the IBF’s junior middleweight title with a split-decision victory over Ishe Smith.