LAS VEGAS (AP) _ Floyd Mayweather Jr. rebounded from a close call in the second round to dominate Shane Mosley in a unanimous 12-round decision on Saturday, May 1 in their welterweight fight.
Boxing's biggest box office draw remained undefeated in 41 fights, but not before giving his fans and his corner a scare when a right hand to the side of his head buckled his knees a minute into the second, and he had to grab Mosley to avoid going down. Mosley landed another right later in the round, but the rest of the night belonged to Mayweather.
Fighting before a star-studded crowd that included Muhammad Ali, Mayweather never came close to dropping Mosley, but landed so many more punches that the outcome wasn't in doubt past the middle rounds.
He had an answer for everything Mosley tried to do, landing right hands to the head seemingly at will as the fight progressed.
By the end of the night, Mayweather had put so many rounds in the bank that the only question was whether he would stop Mosley or be content to win a lopsided decision.
“I wanted to give the fans what they wanted to see, a toe-to-toe battle,'' said Mayweather, who has been criticized for fighting too defensively. “It wasn't the same style for me but I wanted to be aggressive and I knew I could do it.''
Two ringside judges scored it 119-109 for Mayweather, while the third had it 118-110.
Mayweather made Mosley look every bit his 38 years as he landed sharp punches to his head, dominating a fighter who had vowed to turn the bout into the fight of the decade. Mosley tried his best, but couldn't match the speed of the 33-year-old Mayweather, who grew more comfortable with each passing round.
Mosley was a substitute for Manny Pacquiao, who was all but signed to meet Mayweather until a dispute over drug testing derailed the megafight. Instead, Pacquiao beat Joshua Clottey on March 13 in Dallas and is now campaigning for a seat in congress in his native Philippines.
“If Manny Pacquiao can take a blood and urine test then we have a fight,'' Mayweather said. “If not, no fight.''
Mosley almost ruined a lot of Mayweather's best-laid plans when he landed the big right hand in the second that brought the fans at the MGM Grand Arena to their feet. They chanted “Mosley, Mosley,'' as he followed Mayweather around the ring, landing another good right hand before the bell rang to end the round.
But Mayweather came out in the third round and began landing some shots of his own, while Mosley couldn't find his mark.
“I caught him with my big right hand and I tried to move around but by that time he was too quick and I was too tight,'' Mosley said. “After the right hand I thought I needed to knock him out and I needed to do it sooner than later. But I couldn't adjust and he did.''
Mosley said he thought the 15-month layoff since his last fight hurt him, as did a stiff neck. But Mayweather had a lot to do with his ineffectiveness, too, refusing to allow Mosley to dictate the pace.
Mosley's corner kept imploring the fighter to throw his jab more and fight his way inside, but Mosley was content to try to load up to hurt Mayweather with a big punch that didn't come.
“You can't wait for one big shot, you've got to wake up,'' Mosley's trainer told him after the seventh round.
By the 10th round, Naazim Richardson was even more frantic, telling Mosley he needed a knockout.
Mayweather, who earned $2,500 in his pro debut 14 years ago, was guaranteed $22.5 million but probably will end up with much more once the final pay-per-view buys are added up. Mosley was guaranteed $7 million, and also had a share in the TV revenues.
Pictured above is Floyd Mayweather Jr.