As the scorecards were read and Floyd Mayweather Jr. stood in his corner with a nasty cut above his right eye, the MGM Grand Arena crowd rained down boos as he remained undefeated following the most difficult fight of his career.
Argentine welterweight Marcos Maidana (35-4, 31 KOs) was the aggressor throughout the 12-round brawl, and was stunned like many as the judges decided for Mayweather by a majority of 117-111, 116-112 and 114-114 on Saturday night.
Other major news outlets also scored in Mayweather’s favor. Both the Associated Press and ESPN.com scored it 115-113 for the champ.
Mayweather (46-0, 26 KOs) admitted after the fight Maidana drew him out of his comfort zone of counter punching and turned the bout into a slugfest.
"He put pressure on me and that's when I decided to fight differently," Mayweather said. "I stood there and fought him. He's a good fighter, I take nothing away from him."
It’s a more humble response than fight fans are used to when it comes to Mayweather. Many could even take it as a sign that Mayweather in his heart knew he should have lost for the first time in his 16-year professional career.
Yet a look at the overall stats reveals Mayweather was still far more accurate than Maidana, and used the later rounds to climb back into the fight following the fourth-round head butt that cut his eye.
Maidana landed 221 of 858 punches (26 percent) compared to 230 of 426 (54 percent) for Mayweather. Those calling the decision controversial or a robbery have likely been duped by Maidana’s more aggressive and relentless style, rather than its overall effectiveness.
The 30-year-old Maidana backed Mayweather down time and again into the ropes and corner, but never really got the best of the now unified champion, who took the WBA belt and earned no less than $32 million.
Mayweather would get himself out of trouble with left hooks and lead right hands, and at no point seemed in danger of going down.
"I definitely think I won," Maidana said through a translator. "Floyd did not fight like a man like I expected him to do. I had to change the gloves [after a last-minute problem with his original gloves on Friday] and I still gave him a great fight.
"He did dominate some rounds but the majority, I dominated them."
All of the back-and-forth is really only the beginning of speculation of a rematch, especially with Mayweather’s next opponent very much up in the air.
Maidana remained defiant when asked about a rematch, as if it was his to grant.
"Yes, I did go after him. He's a difficult fighter but I won," he said. "I would have to give him a rematch because I won the fight [because Mayweather had a rematch clause in his contract]. Yes, I would give him a rematch."
While Mayweather put the rematch prospects on viewers.
"If the fans want to see it again," he said, "let's do it again."