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Mayweather vs. Marquez Live Blog:

Floyd Mayweather Jr. wins by unanimous decision in comeback fight

Former pound-for-pound king proves he’s back despite lengthy layoff

Image

Laura Ranch / Associated Press

Floyd Mayweather Jr., right, swings at Juan Manuel Marquez, of Mexico, during their non-title welterweight boxing match in Las Vegas.

Updated Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009 | 11 p.m.

Back, Bigger and Better Than Ever

After nearly two years away from boxing, Floyd Mayweather Junior improves to a perfect 40-0 with a unanimous decision over Juan Manuel Marquez Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Mayweather vs. Marquez

Referee Tony Weeks watches Floyd Mayweather Jr., upper left, knock down Juan Manuel Marquez, of Mexico, during their non-title welterweight boxing match in Las Vegas, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009. Mayweather won by a unanimous decision. Launch slideshow »

Floyd Mayweather Jr. said all week that he was the same fighter.

He said there are blueprints on how to beat every fighter — except him. He's the guy nobody can figure out.

Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Mayweather proved his point.

A big left hook from Mayweather (40-0, 25 KO) floored Juan Manuel Marquez (40-5-1, 37 KO) in the second round of the fight but it was his total domination in the later rounds that reminded fans of what they had missed over the past 21 months during his time away from the sport.

His unique defensive style created problems for Marquez while his jab proved to be more than enough offense to win rounds, beating Marquez on all three judges' scorecards. He won by unanimous decision 118-109, 120-107 and 119-108.

"It was a very hard fight, he surprised me with the knockdown," Marquez said. "He hurt me in that round but not in any other. I don't want to make excuses but the weight was a problem."

Marquez, who has never been knocked out in his professional career, survived waves of Mayweather attacks throughout the fight. Afterward, Mayweather said he was trying to finish his opponent and admired the way Marquez was able to coming after taking such punishment.

"Tough, tough," Mayweather said. "I hit him with some shots and thought, 'I know he's going to go after this one,' but he just kept coming. I guess that's that Mexican warrior heart he's got in him."

In addition to his boxing skills, Mayweather hasn't lost his ability to entertain and polarize fans, which he proved when he got into a shouting match with Shane Mosley in the ring following the fight.

According to Mayweather, his reaction came from a feeling that Mosley was taking away from a moment that belonged to him.

"When it's Shane Mosley's time to shine, when I go watch them and support them, I don't get in the ring and grab the mic," Mayweather said. "I have respect for them as fighters I just want the same respect."

All things considered, it was definitely Mayweather's night to shine. Perhaps Oscar De La Hoya said it best at the post-fight press conference.

"Floyd Mayweather Jr. is back," De La Hoya said. "And he's probably bigger and better than ever."

Main Event:

Final Round:

Mayweather is still using the jab and his defense to make sure he doesn't lose this fight in the final round. Marquez comes forward with some big shots but Mayweather is able to dodge away. Marquez is warned for an accidental headbutt. The round ends and Mayweather raises his hands. Marquez fought a very tough fight and he gestures towards his fans, but Mayweather was just too strong in the late rounds.

Round Eleven:

Marquez eats a jab but delivers an uppercut that finds is mark. The crowd groans as another left hook lands for Mayweather. Marquez backs into the corner and this isn’t where he wants to be. With his back against the ropes, Marquez tries a combination to get the pressure off, but Mayweather weathers it and backs him down again. He’s still going, but these late rounds have not been good for Marquez.

Round Ten:

More of the same from Mayweather. If there was any rust from the layoff he's shaken it off. A left hook finds its home after he sets it up with the jab. The round ends after a heated exchange and Mayweather dances back to his corner.

Round Nine:

Another round opens with Mayweather successfully working the jab through the gloves of Marquez. It seems as though Marquez is having more and more trouble defending the quickness of Mayweather as this fight goes into later rounds. Now straight right hands are coming in through the gloves that weren't landing earlier. Big combination there from Mayweather but Marquez has shown a ton of heart in his career and he's showing it again here. Ninth round ends, clearly the most dominated one of the night by Mayweather.

Round Eight:

Mayweather back to the jab at the start of the round. Mayweather counters a Marquez jab with a nice straight right hand. Marquez still wants to push forward though, aiming for Mayweather's midsection. Another shot from Marquez and Mayweather smiles and motions for him to hit him again. Round ends and Mayweather smiles all the way back to his corner while still watching Marquez.

Round Seven:

Mayweather opens up again with that nice left hook. Marquez answers though, coming back with two solid punches that push Mayweather back. Marquez has Mayweather against the corner this time and lands a combination, but Mayweather beats his chest and tells him to keep coming.

Round Six:

Marquez comes out aggressive, but Mayweather lands the first good punch of the round — a left hook towards the cut near Marquez’s right eye. Mayweather now ducking low and trying to bait Marquez into counter opportunities. Good combination from Marquez as he lands a few hard punches to Mayweather’s body as he’s against the ropes. Mayweather now pushing Marquez into the corner and he lands a nice right hand. Although close, that was probably Mayweather’s round.

Round Five:

Mayweather starts off the round with a few nice jabs. Marquez sees an opening and pushes forward but Mayweather once again smiles to show he’s in control. Marquez backs him up against the ropes and throws another combination, landing a few body shots. Mayweather comes forward with a jab and Marquez counters with a right hand. You can see Marquez’s confidence starting to grow. Mayweather lands a nice left hook. Pretty close fifth round.

Round Four:

Both fighters exchange jabs to start the fourth. Marquez applies pressure but Mayweather handles it well. The crowd is so far overwhelmingly pro-Marquez. It was loud when he went down in the second round but since then all the noise has been in his favor. Marquez lands another big right hook to his target with Mayweather against the ropes. Mayweather trying to come back with that left hook but Marquez has become more aware of it and ducks out of the way. Blood is starting to come from a cut over Marquez's right eye.

Round Three:

Nice straight right from Marquez knocks Mayweather's head back to open third round. Four punch combination thrown by Marquez but Mayweather blocks and comes back with a counter. Mayweather's defense looks as good as ever. He's ducking most of Marquez's shots and countering effectively. Good right hook from Marquez graces Mayweather's left side and he laughs it off to finish the round.

Round Two:

Mayweather's jab is lightning quick, and he's trying to establish a tempo with it early in the second round. Crowd breaks out into a 'Marquez' chant. Marquez lands a good shot that Mayweather smiles back at. Another big left hook from Marquez and it floors Marquez! That's the only punch that's really working for Mayweather, but it's obviously a big one. Marquez back on his feet now but he needs to watch that right side. Again Mayweather lands the left hook, but Marquez able to shake that one off. Big round for Mayweather.

Round One:

First bell rings and Mayweather Jr. is back. He looks comfortable, coming after Marquez with an early left hook that Marquez brushes away. Lots of feinting from Marquez, he's said that he believes that's the key to hitting Mayweather. Marquez lands a combination that gets the crowd roaring. Mayweather lands a tough left hook and then another. An even first round ends.

Main Event:

On Dec. 8, 2007, fans packed into the MGM Grand Garden Arena to watch the undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. at work inside the boxing ring.

For the first time since, they've do it again tonight.

Last time, Mayweather Jr. (39-0, 25 KO) treated his fans to a tenth round knockout of British star Ricky Hatton. He looks for a similar performance tonight against Mexican sensation Juan Manuel Marquez (50-4-1, 37 KO).

Celebrities ringside include: Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Lopez, Magic Johnson, Tyrese and Mike Tyson.

Few believe that the smaller and slower Marquez can prevail in his attempt to become the first fighter to hand Mayweather Jr. a professional defeat. But as Mayweather Jr. himself eluded to earlier this week: Nothing written or said matters once the first bell goes off.

"You can write whatever it is you want to write," Mayweather Jr. told media. "When we meet on Saturday, all that matters is what happens inside that ring."

Three undercard bouts must come first, all with championship belts on the line. Orlando Cruz and Cornelius Lock will square off for the vacant NABO featherweight title, followed by a clash between Michael Katsidis and Vicente Escobedo for the vacant WBO interim lightweight title. Leading up to the main event will be WBA featherweight title fight between Chris John and Rocky Juarez.

Televised bouts:

WBA featherweight title: Rocky Juarez (28-5-1, 13 KO) v. Chris John (43-0-2, 22 KO):

In a previous meeting between these two fighters in March, Juarez used a late surge to even the scorecards and earn a draw after falling behind early to John.

This time he waited too long.

Juarez brought the crowd to its feet when he opened up a brawl in the final round of a fight John had dominated until that point. A combination from Juarez towards the end of the fight wobbled his opponent, but John was able to hang on and get his hand raised in the end.

It was a very tough fight, I was hurt at the end," John said. "My eye was swelling really bad. I wouldn't give up though, for my idol Arturo Gatti.

WBO interim lightweight title: Vicente Escobedo (21-2, 13 KO) v. Michael Katsidis (26-2, 21 KO):

Michael Katsidis played the bully in this one, applying constant pressure that really seemed to take Escobedo out of his game. The Australian claimed the WBO lightweight title by split decision, outscoring his opponent 115-113 and 118-110 on two judges' scorecards. The third scored it in favor of Escobedo, 116-112.

The win earned Katsidis back the WBO lightweight title he won for the first time in 2007. He held the belt until suffering a loss by TKO in the tenth round to Joel Casamayor on March 22, 2008.

"I'm ecstatic, I'm back," Katsidis said after the fight.

Katsidis continually pressed forward, especially at the start of the fifth and eighth round, landing body shots and uppercuts. He visibly stunned Escobedo in the sixth round with a hard left hook.

Escobedo proved resilient however, weathering combinations and proving to be extremely elusive even though his back was against the ropes throughout much of the fight. But by the twelfth round it was clear that Katsidis's stamina was overwhelming the California-based fighter when he suffered the most visible damage of the night — a cut over his right eye.

"I'm a fighter that gives it his all and I needed to give it my all tonight," Katsidis said. "I was willing to put in more work than he was. If I can come back and win a title again, anyone can."

NABO featherweight title: Cornelius Lock (19-4-1, 12 KO) v. Orlando Cruz (16-1-1, 7 KO):

The televised portion started with an immediate upset as the favored Cruz withstood a number of onslaughts before finally succumbing to a big right hook from Lock that put him down for good 2:08 of the fifth round.

"I felt good, I felt like he wasn't on my level," Lock said. "I was catching him with the left. I was throwing the hook a little long so I shortened it up. I caught him, I hurt him and I ended the fight."

Lock showed explosive punching power early, scoring a knockdown in the very first round. Cruz battled back in the second round and was smiling at the end of the third despite eating a flurry of punches right before the bell.

It was the Puerto Rican's first professional loss.

"It was a good shot, congratulations to Cornelius," Cruz said. "But all it was was a good shot."

Preliminary results:

Said Ouali (26-3, 18 KO) v. Francisco Rios (17-11, 12 KO): Oauli wins by TKO in second round.

Erislandy Lara (8-0, 5 KO) v. Jose Varela (23-7, 16 KO): Lara wins by knockout in the first round.

Jessie Vargas (6-0, 2 KO) v. Raul Tovar (6-2, 2 KO): Vargas wins by unanimous decision.

Dion Savage (6-0, 4 KO) v. Loren Myers (7-7, 2 KO): Savage wins by TKO in the fourth round.

Mike Perez (5-0-1, 2 KO) v. Richard Ellis (4-3, 2 KO): Perez wins by unanimous decision.

Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected].

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