43 have stepped into the ring. 43 have failed.
On Saturday night, Floyd "Money" Mayweather overcame a bloody nose, a busted lip, and an unwavering opponent in Miguel Cotto on his way to a unanimous-decision victory in front of over 16,000 fans at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
|Photo by: Al Bello|
With the win, Mayweather added the WBA super welterweight title to his collection of eight belts across five different weight divisions, from 130 to 154 pounds.
"I could have just outboxed him and moved back, made it a boring fight," Mayweather said afterward. "But it's a recession, and you guys spent your hard-earned money to see me, so I said f___ it, let me give you what you paid for."
Mayweather looked sharp early on, but the middle rounds belonged to Cotto, as the heavily pro-Cotto crowd buzzed with the hopes of seeing an upset.
But in the end, Mayweather showed why he has ranked among boxing's best pound-for-pound fighters for the past decade, using his speed and punching accuracy to seal the deal.
"The judges said I lost the fight, so I have to take the defeat," Cotto said. "I brought my best and I did my best every morning in training camp and I did my best tonight."
Now the question is, what's next for Mayweather?
While he called out Manny Pacquiao during his in-ring interview with HBO's Larry Merchant, "Money" seemed more pessimistic about the prospective bout during the post-fight presser.
"The fans and the public are being fooled," Mayweather said. "Bob Arum (Pacquiao's promoter) does not want to make this fight happen. It's not on me."
Mayweather went on to say he called Pacquiao personally, offered him a $40 million guarantee and promised to wire him a $20 million advance within 24 hours. But when Pacquiao supposedly demanded a 50-50 split of all revenue, "Money" nixed the deal.
If the Pacquiao fight doesn't happen, could Mayweather be done? Even at 35-years-old, it seems far-fetched that a fighter in the prime of his earning potential would consider walking away from the sport, yet that's exactly what he suggested to a small group of writers after the post-fight press conference was over.
"There's really nobody left out there for me to fight anymore," Mayweather said. "I really can't say where my career is going to go from here."
If Saturday's bout was indeed the end for Mayweather, he couldn't have picked a better way to go out. Enticing the crowd with the almost semi-surreal notion that he could actually lose, only to have the last laugh (all the way to the bank) in the end, with his pristine record still fully intact.
Love him -- or in most cases, hate him, there's no denying the fact that "Money" is one of the greatest entertainers in the history of boxing.
And a pretty damn good fighter to boot.
Bravo, Floyd. Bravo.