The funny thing about boxing scoring you might not understand, if you’re like a lot of general sporting types and get most of your boxing news from the Bottom Line, is that a wide score doesn’t necessarily indicate the competitiveness of a fight (Duh, says the fight fan: There are travesties in judging and refereeing all the damn time) and so even if a fighter is knocked down five times in say, two rounds, as long as he stays on his feet he can squeak out the other ten rounds of a championship fight and claim the victory. It’s like awarding a baseball team the win for hitting three solo home runs in three separate innings, while the opponent hung a nine in the first.
Yet this year’s Mayweather Fight on May’s First Saturday portrayed this little scoring quirk of the Science sans controversy, and the result was just: Floyd Mayweather took all three judges’ scorecards, with one putting down a 118-110 mark and two scoring it 117-111—that is, ten rounds to two, and nine rounds to three—and very, very few cried nay. By trying real hard, a Puerto Rican partisan might have been able to give Miguel Cotto five rounds. Yet Cotto, a man who has had the Possibly Shot tag applied since his 2008 loss to Antonio Margarito, made the toughest fight Floyd’s fought in years.
So the gist of this column is: Watch This Fight. Yes, it’s over, the decision is made, but that’s not the point. With this one, I can guarantee you good action. Find a local with HBO; they’ll play it all week, starting Saturday. Or be good at the Internet.
Floyd got his nose bloodied, people. You want to see that, because he can still box, and whether his cheesy heel antics turn you on or off, he’s one of the best we’ve got. Watching a modestly sized screen through a barroom window, it was evident even from afar that over 12 rounds, Mayweather was getting his hardest test since I started watching him live in 2006, and lots of people far more knowledgeable than I considered it his toughest fight since a controversial decision win over Jose Luis Castillo in 2002.
A quick-paced, clean, hotly contested fight without controversy at the end—that’s all your average boxing fans prays for before every bout. The unjust thing about the Hype Machine is that neither Floyd Mayweather nor Miguel Cotto will receive nearly the sort of buzz that Floyd got for slapping down Victor Ortiz last September. This was a far better fight, the sort of fight that makes you wish Mayweather fought more often.
I gave up dragging people into buying or finding Mayweather fights a couple years ago—they were always boring for my novice friends, and I’d hear about it. I love watching him work, even against lackluster competition, because he demonstrates the level of technique that crosses naturally into swagger that is only manifested by the very best practitioners of a craft. Now, Floyd could be entering that evening of his career where there’s more knowhow than ever, but the legs aren’t there to completely dance around opponents, confuzzling them into lopsided decisions. Melee Mayweather could be our next Floyd.