USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Velin looks ahead after Floyd Mayweather Jr. stayed undefeated with a unanimous decision over Marcos Maidana.
LAS VEGAS — There is plenty of drama with Floyd Mayweather, but no room for a trilogy.
He did not let his second bout with Marcos Maidana ignite demand for a third, beating Maidana far more convincingly Saturday night than he did on May 5.
Mayweather kept his WBC welterweight championship and raised his record to 47-0 by reverting to his quickness and craft. He won a unanimous decision and quieted a large, melodic contingent of Argentine fans among the 16,144 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mayweather will earn at least $32 million for the fight.
There were the usual boxing eccentricities, of course.
Referee Kenny Bayless called time in Round 8 when Mayweather suddenly jerked his left hand out of a clinch. He claimed Maidana bit his glove. Bayless did not penalize Maidana, but deducted a point two rounds later when Maidana took Mayweather down.
Otherwise, Mayweather was so tantalizing that Maidana, at the end of Round 8, absently began walking toward a neutral corner instead of his own. Mayweather stopped and impatiently pointed Maidana back to his own corner, like a recess teacher getting a wayward second-grader in line.
ROUND BY ROUND: How Mayweather’s win played out
It was a testy fight that did not feature the normal, immediate post-fight hug. But thanks to Mayweather’s recovery of his left jab, and the side-to-side shuffle that kept him from getting backed into corners, there was no reason to ask these rivals to do it again.
“I give myself a C,” Mayweather said. “I can fight a lot better than that. I really thought I was better in the first fight.
“I didn’t know what happened to my hand. We clinched, my hand got underneath, and he bit my middle three fingers. I couldn’t use my left hand. My middle finger busted open. He said he put my hand in his mouth.
“He’s a rugged guy, Extremely dirty, but rugged. I believe he needs to move over to MMA.”
Maidana scoffed at that.
“How could I bite him? I was wearing a mouthpiece. I’m not a dog,” he said.
Maidana also said he won the fight “because you can’t win a fight by running.” Hardly anyone else agreed, particularly the judges. Dave Moretti and John McKaie favored Mayweather 116-111, and Guido Cavalieri scored it 115-112.
“He’s beatable,” said Maidana (36-5), who made $3 million. “If you’re aggressive with him he doesn’t know what to do. But he’s fast on his feet, I can tell you that.”
Mayweather connected on 58% of his power punches and 51% overall. He also dodged all but 17% of Maidana’s jabs and 22% of his overall punches.
Maidana did stagger Mayweather with a right hand at the end of the third round, but it landed almost simultaneously with the bell.
This was only Mayweather’s second rematch. In 2002 he squeaked out a win over Jose Luis Castillo, but won more strongly in the second fight.
Inevitably Mayweather was asked about a date with Manny Pacquiao, a fantasy of fight fans for about eight years now.
“I’m going to go back and talk with my team,” he said. “If a Pacquiao fight presents itself, let’s make it happen.”
Mayweather’s six-fight deal with Showtime expires after two more fights. Two victories would leave him at 49-0 at the end of 2015.
Adding two and two, some boxing people think Mayweather and Pacquiao are fated to open a new Las Vegas venue in 2016, in what could be Mayweather’s 50th victory.
“I’m fighting twice a year now,” Mayweather said. “I think that’s better for me than fighting just once a year. Boxing puts a lot of wear and tear on you, But I don’t want to mess up my legacy. I can’t.”
The legacy remains, as does the leverage.
“Look, he’s been the best fighter in the world for 10 years now,” said Robert Garcia, Maidana’s trainer, echoing the words of 46 trainers before him. “What can you do?”
PHOTOS: MAYWEATHER DEFEATS MAIDANA