LAS VEGAS – It wasn’t pretty, but Floyd Mayweather cruised to a 12-round unanimous decision against WBC welterweight titleholder Carlos Baldomir on Saturday night and proved he is the true world champion.
With lightening reflexes and superb defensive work inside or out, Mayweather (37-0, 24 KOs) showed more than 9,000 fans at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino that he can fight at welterweight.
But Baldomir kept charging and hoping that lightning in the bottle could floor the elusive Mayweather. It almost did in the latter rounds as the new champion apparently hurt his right hand and used it very seldom after the 10th round. He just didn’t need it according to two judges who scored it a shutout for Mayweather 120-108 twice and 118-110.
“I hurt my right hand in the middle of the fight,” Mayweather said, adding that his right hand was practically useless after the injury. “I haven’t felt this pain before.”
Baldomir’s crude but clever style posed few problems for Mayweather who kept moving out of danger rather than absorb a punch or two by the tough Argentinian. A solid right hand on Mayweather’s chin in the second round barely made him blink.
“He definitely was too fast and I couldn’t catch him,” Baldomir (43-10-6, 13 KOs) said. “When I caught him the punches weren’t strong enough. I felt sluggish.”
Mayweather’s slick movement and ability to tie his opponent up inside, kept him out of harm though the last three rounds were dull and uneventful.
“I can win under any circumstance and I am here to stay. He fought his heart out and I fought my heart but I beat him,” said Mayweather, who had a few more bruises than usual after the fight. “I will fight anyone and I will beat anyone.”
Riverside heavyweight wins
Though no title was on the line, Arreola proved to the growing heavyweight following that he is the best heavyweight in the state of California by forcing referee Kenny Bayless to stop the fight at 2:17 of the seventh round of a scheduled eight round contest against Damian “Bolo” Wills.
In a fight for state heavyweight supremacy both Arreola (18-0, 16 KOs) and Wills (21-1-1, 15 KOs) entered the ring undefeated with large followings and the winner receiving a boost to a larger audience. By the second round the Riverside heavyweight stepped into another gear with quicker and more accurate punching. Wills took a pounding but refused to go down as referee Bayless looked intently for a sign of surrender. It never came.
“I thought for sure the referee was going to stop it that round,” Arreola said. “I didn’t want to hurt the guy.”
Arreola said the training and sparring in Big Bear proved to be the difference in the fight.
“I’ve been sparring guys like Hasim Rahman, James Toney and Vladimir Klitschko. Who is Bolo?”
Though visibly stunned in the second, Wills recovered the next round and proceeded to pressure Arreola who fired what seemed like 100 punches and seemed burned out.
“I wasn’t tired,” Arreola said. “The minute rest seemed like an eternity.”
Now Arreola enters another realm as a heavyweight.
“I showed who’s best in the state, now I want to show who’s best in the United States and then the world,” Arreola said. “But I’m taking it one fight at a time. I’m not predicting anything for now. That’s how you get beat.”
Salido defeats Guerrero
IBF featherweight titleholder Robert Guerrero (19-2-1, 12 KOs) captured the title on Sept. 2. Now the coveted belt is Orlando Salido’s.
“It was a very tough fight and he was very rugged,” said new champion Orlando Salido (28-9-2, 18 KOs), who failed in a previous title bid against Juan Manuel Marquez two years ago. “I learned a lot from my loss for the title the first time. I knew what to do.”
Salido countered his way against the long arms of Guerrero, who needed about seven rounds to figure out his opponent’s body attack. But Salido’s persistent body attack and clever counters beat Guerrero to the punch for most of the 12 rounds. The judges scored it 118-110, 117-111, 115-113 for Salido.
Paul Williams still undefeated
In another welterweight showcase for rising star Paul Williams, a last-minute replacement from New Zealand named Santos Pakau lasted longer than expected with a knockout at 2:16 in the sixth round.
“He was a durable guy,” says Williams (32-0, 24 KOs) who hopes he can meet welterweight titleholders Mayweather, Antonio Margarito or Kermit Cintron. “I just did my job and let the referee do his job.”