Floyd Mayweather duly retained his WBA and WBC World Welterweight crowns by earning a unanimous points decision over Argentinian fighter Marcos Maidana in Las Vegas on Saturday night and this victory has now stretched his unbeaten record to 47 fights. It was a rematch of an earlier fight in which a majority verdict ensued but it is now three years and five contests since the champion stopped an opponent and questions are now being asked about his capability to reach the milestone of 50 fights undefeated.
The last knockout victory for Mayweather was earned in September 2011 when Victor Ortiz was the victim inside four rounds but the current champion has never been a fighter famed for ending contests at an early stage. He has always relied on his boxing ability to outmanoeuvre opponents with his extensive boxing brain and defensive ability.
There have been times when Mayweather has been accused of handpicking his opponents to suit his style of boxing especially in recent years when his ageing legs have reduced his speed in the ring. Now aged 37, he is not expected to fight again until the spring of next year when he will obviously be one year older but that much slower in reaction and fist movement.
His reaction to his defeat of Maidana suggests that he is losing some of his defensive qualities as he claimed ‘I was hit with shots tonight I shouldn’t have gotten hit with’ and that will be a worry for the unbeaten champion as he aims for boxing immortality before retirement.
He was still able to outsmart his opponent for much of the fight despite accusations that he was bitten on the wrist by Maidana in the eighth round of a lively encounter. However, the Argentinian had lost three contests prior to his defeats by Mayweather and other more capable younger fighters may be more capable of ending his unbeaten record.
Amir Khan is only 27 years of age and has recovered from two damaging defeats to record three recent victories and he has also beaten Maidana by a unanimous decision. The British fighter has already stated that he would not fear a showdown with Mayweather but perhaps boxing politics may prevent that from happening.
Mayweather has a contract to fight twice more with Showtime and they will hope that he can maintain his unbeaten record for the duration of the agreement and a difficult opponent may be sidestepped. Manny Pacquiao is another high-profile boxer who may be offered a contest with the champion but that may not be until his 50th and final fight and by then the Filipino will be nearing 40 years of age and probably some way past his peak performance.
Yet, it may be that Mayweather has already decided upon his next three opponents and expects to retire undefeated in 50 fights after earning a vast fortune from the sport.
The boxing public awaits developments.