Las Vegas: Floyd Mayweather resisted a furious early onslaught by fellow American Shane Mosley to preserve his unbeaten professional record with an unanimous points victory in a welterweight bout on Saturday.
Widely regarded as the best defensive fighter of his generation, Mayweather dominated 11 of the 12 rounds with his lightning hand speed and agile movement to improve his career record to 41-0 with 25 knockouts.
A 4-1 favourite going into the highly anticipated bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Mayweather was stunned by a flurry of punishing blows from Mosley in the second round.
However, the 33-year-old immediately regained control and he dictated the rest of the fight with his probing right hand, rock-solid defence and a series of telling combinations.
"I did what the fans came here to see," Mayweather said in a ringside interview. "I went toe-to-toe. That`s not my style but I wanted to give them that kind of fight and I knew I could do it."
Asked how he had recovered from Mosley`s early onslaught, Mayweather replied: "It`s a contact sport and you`re going to get hit."
"But when you get hit, you`ve got to suck it up and keep on fighting. And that`s what I did."
The flamboyant American gained one-sided verdicts from all three judges -- 119-109, 119-109 and 118-110.
WBA welterweight champion Mosley, who had not fought since a ninth-round TKO upset of feared Mexican slugger Antonio Margarito in Jan. 2009, slipped to 46-6 with 39 knockouts.
Watched by a crowd of around 16,000 that included Hollywood actors Will Smith and Leonardo DiCaprio and boxing greats Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard, Mayweather made a confident start.
Mosley then responded in round two, landing several punishing blows with his right hand on Mayweather`s head. Mayweather briefly buckled and was pinned against the ropes after Mosley switched his attack to a series of body jabs.
"I caught him with my big right hand and I tried to move around but he was too quick and I was too tight," Mosley, 38, said of his dominance in the second round.
"After I landed the right hand, I thought I needed to knock him out but I needed to do it sooner than later. But I couldn`t adjust and he did."
With Mosley`s work rate slowing, Mayweather regained the initiative in rounds three and four with several well executed combinations and low body jabs.
Looking fresher and much more composed, he retained control in round five, continually peppering Mosley, bloodying his nose with his probing right hand while maintaining a tight defence.
In the eighth round, Mosley was reprimanded by the referee for grabbing his opponent`s arm and a grinning Mayweather responded with a verbal volley while landing a series of blows to the head.
Mayweather, who had backpeddled in the earlier rounds, continued to push forward and he dictated the rest of the fight with measured body jabs and crunching rights.
He dominated the official ringside statistics, connecting with 208 of 477 punches thrown to 92 of 452 for Mosley. Mayweather also landed 123 power punches compared to Mosley`s 46.