Floyd Mayweather Jr. notched his 46th straight win with a majority decision over Argentine Marcos Maidana (35-4) on Saturday night.
Mayweather's successful work at the Las Vegas MGM Grand was, however, anything but the boxing walkover it was expected to be. The rugged fighter known as "El Chino" made "Money" Mayweather work for his money at the welterweight unification fight, where Mayweather was defending the WBC belt and Maidana the WBA title.
Many of Mayweather's former foes have vowed to make their meetings with him a brawl, but the preternaturally elusive fighter from Grand Rapids, Mich., has always managed to skip blithely out of the way of his hyperaggressive rivals. Tonight was different.
While fans will squabble about who won, everyone concurs that Maidana succeeded in making Mayweather fight instead of box. The 12-round title unification bout was a scintillating but ugly contest in which both combatants were warned about questionable tactics: Maidana for coming in with his head and Mayweather for excessive holding. At one point, Mayweather and Maidana wrestled and tumbled through the ropes and onto the ring apron.
From the first to the last gong, Maidana kept his pre-fight promise of applying relentless pressure. Again and again, he drove his man to the ropes and fired away with chopping overhand rights and left hooks. But waging fistic war on the inside requires maintaining the distance to work effectively and do damage. Whenever the Argentine broke the perimeter, and that was often, Mayweather was usually able to grab him and tie him up.