Floyd Mayweather beats Marcos Maidana via unanimous decision in rematch

LAS VEGAS – Floyd Mayweather's nose was swollen and his lips were busted up. He seemed low key and subdued, even after yet another dominant performance.

The week was filled with unwanted controversies and distractions. He was dogged about domestic violence incidents in his past and ripped about thoughtless comments he made about Ray Rice.

The work of promoting a major fight had clearly taken a toll on him. And, he's moving inexorably toward his 38th birthday.

Love him or loathe him, you can't deny him.

Mayweather once again proved he's far and away the best fighter in the world by routing Marcos Maidana on Saturday before 16,144 at the MGM Grand Garden, retaining the WBC welterweight and super welterweight titles with a unanimous decision.

Judge Guido Cavalieri had it 115-112, but John McKaie and Dave Moretti had it 116-111 for Mayweather. Yahoo Sports had it 117-110 for Mayweather.

Mayweather gave himself a C-minus, but if that was a C-minus effort, nobody else could ever get a passing grade. He dictated the pace, landed more than half of his shots and connected with the hardest punches.

Marcos Maidana punches Floyd Mayweather during their WBA and WBC title fight. (AP)

In the ring after he'd won for the 47th consecutive time, he even said of the long-awaited Manny Pacquiao fight, "Let's make it happen."

Asked at the post-fight news conference if a Pacquiao fight is realistic, he said, "What's realistic is that I am 47-0."

It was an overwhelming victory in the rematch, as he made Maidana look ordinary. Maidana wasn't able to cut off the ring and never landed much of consequence.

Maidana, who said he believes Mayweather is beatable, said he thought he won the fight, but he was alone in that assessment.

"I was in great condition and I never felt tired," Maidana said. "You don't win a fight by running. I thought I won the fight. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe the judges love fighters who run. I don't want to waste my time with a third fight. I trained with all my heart and to get this type of result, this is not fair and there is no reason for another fight."

In the eighth round, they were grappling in the center of the ring and the fighters tangled. It appeared as if Maidana bit Mayweather on the left hand, and Mayweather reacted angrily. He came to the neutral corner and told the ringside media, "He bit me."

He was clearly angry and complaining to referee Kenny Bayless. It impacted him as the fight went down the stretch, he said. He had a mark on his left middle finger that he said was caused by the bite.

"I didn't know what it was, but my fingers all of a sudden went numb," Mayweather said. "It was the eighth round and my fingers went numb for rest of the fight. We were tangled in the center of the ring and I didn't know what it was at first. Then I realized he bit me."

Maidana denied biting, asking, "With a mouthpiece on? I'm not a dog." But later, he seemed to fess up, complaining about Mayweather's tactics. Maidana said Mayweather put his glove in his mouth as they were clinching.

It seemed Maidana was fighting far dirtier, but Maidana said, "He was rubbing his glove in my eyes."

The biggest news was not Mayweather's mastery, but that he gave hope to those who have long wanted to see a fight with Pacquiao. That was probably the biggest significance in an easy win in which Mayweather landed 166 of 326 punches while holding Maidana to just 128 of 572.

"Pacquiao needs to focus on the guy [Chris Algieri] in front of him," on Nov. 22 in China, Mayweather said. "Once he gets past that test, let's see what the future holds."

Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana trade blows during their fight. (USA Today)

That doesn't mean the fight is anywhere near a sure thing – long-time observers will need a lot more than that during a euphoric moment post-fight to be convinced the long-awaited match is near – but it did mark a new stance by Mayweather.

Strangely, Mayweather seemed off-put by his performance. Maidana again tried to fight a rough-and-tumble fight and Mayweather did well to avoid being caught by anything wild.

But he wasn't happy with his defense. As he left the ring, he stood on the top step watching highlights on the large video board. He grinned wanly after seeing his hand raised.

"I got hit with shots tonight I shouldn't have gotten hit with, but that's the sport," Mayweather said.

He focused almost exclusively with his left hand in the early part of the fight, dropping the right hand in only on occasion. But as the middle rounds wore on he fired more rights until the biting incident.

Maidana tried the same roughhouse tactics he used in the first fight. He threw far less shots this time, but he was punching as Mayweather punched and made a bit of a difference.

"Chino threw so many punches in that first fight, but it's hard to hit Floyd," Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez said. "He stands right there and he moves the shoulder and he moving his head and he's hard to hit. But if you throw when he throws, he could be vulnerable."

All in all, it was a great night for Mayweather, who said promoting a fight "is a lot more work than people realize."

It's nothing compared to what he does in the ring, though, and he's coming down the stretch of a masterful career.

He's not as fast or as sharp as he was when he was younger, but he remains the most technically brilliant fighter in the world by a large margin.

And his experience of more than 18 years has helped him deal with all the outside issues.

Inside the ring, there is no one like him.