Undefeated virtuoso “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 139, 34-0 (23 KOs), forced defending WBC super lightweight champion Arturo Gatti’s trainer Buddy McGirt to stop their fight after 6 rounds in Atlantic City Saturday night ending a one-sided beating.
The faster, stronger and more versatile Mayweather, 28, pounded Gatti, 33, clearly the favorite of the Atlantic City crowd entering the fight, from the opening bell.
Mayweather delivered the complete package, jabs, left hooks, straight rights and counters from every angle as Gatti appeared to approach the challenger in slow-motion.
Late in the round one Mayweather forced Gatti’s head down, prompting Gatti to look to the referee for help, but in so doing leaving himself open. Mayweather pounced with a sharp hook that sent Gatti to a knee. Although Gatti protested the knockdown, it was merely Mayweather’s warm-up for rounds to come.
Each of the succeeding 5 rounds were virtual repeats of the first, save the opening round knockdown, as Gatti entered Mayweather’s zone face first. At every turn Gatti caught flush shots to the head and body, while landing sporadic and feeble punches in return.
As Gatti’s left eye swelled, Mayweather turned up the heat in rounds 5 and 6. In round 6 Mayweather clearly hurt Gatti to the body and only Gatti’s hard-earned reputation for his never-say-quit drive kept him on his feet.
Perhaps fortunately for Gatti, his left eye swelled nearly shut at the end of round 6. The eye gave McGirt the ammunition he needed to call a halt to the bout and save face for Gatti at the same time.
Mayweather was far more gracious following the bout than he had been before. He quickly dismissed the talk of “paper” titles.
“He’s a great champion and I’m a great champion,” said Mayweather of Gatti to HBO’s Larry Merchant at the conclusion of the bout.
For Mayweather, there could be no better division in which to reside. IBF (and Ring Magazine) champion Ricky Hatton, Kostya Tsyzu, newly-crowned WBA titlist Carlos Maussa, as well as former nemesis and current lightweight champion Diego Corrales loom on the horizon.
There’s much money and many more belts ahead for perhaps the top pound-for-pound fighter in boxing today.
* * *
One the televised undercards, Carlos Maussa, Colombia, 139, 19-2 (17 KOs) knocked out defending champion Vivian Harris, Brooklyn, New York (via Guyana), 139, 25-2-1 (17 KOs) at 0:43 of round 7 to capture the WBA welterweight title. Harris clearly expended far too much energy at the start of the fight in an attempt to score an early knockout, only to fade badly when Maussa refused to cooperate. Maussa, by all appearances a fighter of limited ability, is now in line for a money opportunity with any of the other belt holders. For Harris, it’s back to the end of the line and long wait for the big pay-per-view money that was within his grasp.
Julio Caesar Chavez Jr., Mexico, 142, 20-0 (15 KOs) stopped journeyman Ruben Galvan, 32, Hammond, Indiana, 142, 21-7-2 (9 KOs), in the 4th round of a scheduled 6. Chavez, 19, demonstrated that he has a solid foundation of punches. Obviously he has a long way to go before entering the upper echelon of whatever weight class he finds himself in when he fully matures.
Ivan Calderon, Puerto Rico, 104, 23-0 (5 KOs) won a lopsided 12-round decision over Gerardo Verde, 20, Mexico, 103, 13-2 (10 KOs), to retain his WBO minimum weight title. Calderon, 30, was in complete command throughout mixing moving and sharp punches.
Who will win the Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward fight?