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Round 1 ...

September 20, 2009|Lance Pugmire

Since he last fought 21 months ago, unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. has watched Manny Pacquiao surpass him as the boxer considered the world's best with a 2008 fighter of the year award and a second-round flooring in May of Ricky Hatton, the same man dropped by Mayweather in December 2007 in 10 rounds. Mayweather's confidence hasn't diminished with the layoff and he stepped into MGM Grand on Saturday night as more than a 4-to-1 favorite against world lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez. At Friday's weigh-in, Marquez weighed a personal-high 142 pounds to Mayweather's 146. Though Mayweather's weight cost him a $600,000 penalty paid to Marquez, he was expected to pack on even more weight before fight night, causing some astute boxing followers to surmise Mayweather -- getting paid a guaranteed purse of $10 million -- merely bought himself a weight edge against his Mexican foe. Marquez shrugged off the disadvantage Friday, weighing 148 on an HBO scale Saturday. Mayweather declined to be weighed. Now, we'll see if the difference makes a difference.

ROUND 1

What happened: Mayweather was clearly the bigger man, but this round was spent mostly jostling for position, two guys feeling each other out, so to speak. Marquez was more active, even though most of his punches were blocked. Mayweather sets the tone of the fight, leaning on his jab.

Pugmire's take: At this point, you believed Marquez had a puncher's chance. He does attack strongly. Mayweather was too reliant on defense in this round.

The judges: William Lerch, Mayweather 10-9; Burt Clements, Mayweather 10-9; Dave Moretti, Mayweather 10-9.

ROUND 2

What happened: Marquez hits Mayweather in the chin with a right. The bigger Mayweather responds so much stronger, landing a big right to Marquez's face and a monster left that knocks Marquez to the canvas for the fight's lone knockdown. Marquez is clear-eyed after fall.

Pugmire's take: Mayweather's strengths haven't diminished in 21 months, at least against this smaller world lightweight champion. Marquez is apt to fall when hit on the button, and that's what happened here.

The judges: William Lerch, Mayweather 10-8; Burt Clements, Mayweather 10-8; Dave Moretti, Mayweather 10-8.

ROUND 3

What happened: A Mayweather jab and a stiff right impress. Marquez sneaks in an overhand right, and a glancing right. Mayweather is leading with jab, the way his dad Floyd Sr. told him. A soft jab, and a hard left by Mayweather. Left uppercut by Marquez draws a Mayweather smile.

Pugmire's take: The confidence is back. Mayweather lets it be known he's in control here.

The judges: William Lerch, Marquez 10-9; Burt Clements, Mayweather 10-9; Dave Moretti, Mayweather 10-9.

ROUND 4

What happened: Crowd boos California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on big screen. Mayweather jabs. Marquez working, gets right to body finally. Mayweather's defense earns points.

Pugmire's take: Mayweather said afterward it took him a few rounds to get reacclimated to ring. He never lost the defense, and basically was toying with Marquez.

The judges: William Lerch, Mayweather 10-9; Burt Clements, Mayweather 10-9; Dave Moretti, Mayweather 10-9.

ROUND 5

What happened: Marquez started the round aggressive, throwing a left and trying to charge Mayweather. He couldn't sustain the effort. Mayweather answered with scoring lefts, and Marquez at one point misfired on all attempts in a five-punch combination.

Pugmire's take: "Money" was on stage, backing up his sometimes annoying confidence with all the skills that made him the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world before.

The judges: William Lerch, Mayweather 10-9; Burt Clements, Mayweather 10-9; Dave Moretti, Mayweather 10-9.

ROUND 6

What happened: Nice left and duck by Mayweather. He pops jabs off. Chants of Mexico! come and Marquez wants to throw a hard left, but Mayweather simply backs away. Scoring jab by Mayweather, and Marquez's nose is bleeding. The defense is superb by the six-time world champion.

Pugmire's take: This is why he's 40-0. You can't hit what you can't catch.

The judges: William Lerch, Mayweather 10-9; Burt Clements, Mayweather 10-9; Dave Moretti, Mayweather 10-9.

ROUND 7

What happened: Mayweather snaps jabs off with routine ease and Marquez doesn't have the reach to land his jab. A big disadvantage. Mayweather will later say Marquez is "a great small man." OK. Marquez does squeeze in some shots, but the jabs respond. Close round.

Pugmire's take: Mayweather's praise: "He's a great little man," sums up this fight. He beat up a guy who was too small. Still, he did what he was supposed to, short of a KO.

The judges: William Lerch, Mayweather 10-9; Burt Clements, Mayweather 10-9; Dave Moretti, Mayweather 10-9.

ROUND 8

What happened: Marquez combo misses everything. Mayweather jabbing away, then hits Marquez after skirting a punch. Marquez lands -- the tip of his glove. Marquez tries a late attack on Mayweather's body with the ex-champ on the ropes.

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