The ringside consensus, at least in my neighborhood, had the judges a bit too charitable toward Floyd Mayweather, now 43 wins without a defeat but yet to begin his 90-day sentence in the county jail.
Then again, as the postponed execution of said sentence would suggest, Mayweather represents house money for Nevada and the state athletic commission. For what it's worth, I had it eight rounds to four, Mayweather, who matched Miguel Cotto's great spirit with some of his own, and more than that, unmatched skill.
That's not to say I don't understand Saturday night's decision. Two judges had it 117-111, and a third scored the fight 118-110. Consider the disparity between my score and theirs to be the vig. As everyone in this town knows, the house gets the vig. And Mayweather is the house.
Mayweather isn't my favorite guy. The making-it-rain routine has become, at best, a dreadful cliche. Worse still is the way HBO has taken to shilling for him, enlisting the services of an apparently renowned sociologist to advance the Money mythology and deconstruct the motives of a grown man who called Manny Pacquiao a "little yellow chump."
Not only is this an indictment of sociology, it makes for unseemly television, something that's pretty hard to do these days. HBO wouldn't kowtow to Mike Tyson, who was a far more valuable franchise, but now it submits to Floyd Mayweather.
I'm not arguing that Mayweather, who'll begin the sentence June 1 for roughing up the mother of his children, is beyond redemption. But for all the talk of boxing's decline, perhaps there's another decline to consider.
Actually, judging from what happened Saturday night with 16,047 fans in attendance at the MGM Grand Garden, boxing is in unexpectedly good shape. The undercard featured an interesting if one-sided fight between Shane Mosley, who should retire, and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, who has a chance to be an interesting fighter. More important, the main event was an excellent one. As it ended, Mayweather turned in a decisive final round, staggering his opponent with a left uppercut. Then he turned to Cotto and said: "You're the toughest guy I ever fought."
For all the criticism of Mayweather, it's worth mentioning his toughness. There is virtue in his discipline and composure. In the sixth round, Cotto bloodied his mouth, cracked him pretty good with a jab and a left hook. In the eighth, Cotto pounded on him with right hands to the body.
Mayweather has little experience in losing rounds, but after each he came back stronger.
"Miguel Cotto is last of the Mohicans," he said. "I fought him at the weight he wanted, 154, no catch-weight. He didn't come just to survive. He came to fight. I dug down and fought him back."
The early rounds saw Mayweather dare Cotto to bull his way in, which of course Cotto did, and Mayweather fought with his back on the ropes. Even as the spectators chanted for Cotto, their delight was, like their fighter, a bit too eager. Mayweather picked off some of the shots with his gloves, others by slipping and rolling.
Then he answered. There was that beautiful right uppercut to the body. Then, as the action moved toward the center of the ring, Mayweather began connecting with long overhand rights, then combinations. As an act, the Money character is tired. As a fighter, however, he's enlightened.
"I could've just stayed on the outside and outboxed him and won the fight easy," he said. "But this is a pay-per-view and I wanted to give the fans what they paid for . . . I was looking for the knockout."
At $70 bucks a pop, that was no small task. But when it was over, the victor seemed very proud of his wounds.
"Cotto won some rounds," Mayweather readily conceded during the post-fight interview. "Normally I come up here and I don't have no bumps and bruises. Tonight I got a few bumps and bruises."
He was asked about being remanded to the custody of the state of Nevada.
"Everybody knows my situation, June 1," he said. "It's just an obstacle in my way."
Would he be ready to fight again this year?
"Hopefully. This was a grueling fight tonight."
What began with him entering the ring accompanied by 50 Cent and Justin Bieber ended with what Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaeffer called "a very, very, very big" pay-per-view number. The fighter has conspired with HBO to create the most profitable heel since Mike Tyson. Still, Mayweather faulted the network and its "24/7" show for failing to accurately depict his true philanthropic nature.
Then, of course, Mayweather was asked about the prospect of a fight with Manny Pacquiao.
"I'm tired of the media, and people being fooled," he said.
Who's this guy kidding? He is the media.