• Steve Bunce

Floyd and Wlad earned their easy pickings

Steve Bunce May 7, 2013

It was a special weekend in fight cities either side of the Atlantic as the two biggest earners in boxing both kept their titles, made their millions and never took a punch.

Floyd Mayweather retained his WBC welterweight title with a surprisingly easy win on points over Robert Guerrero at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. There were few highlights and even fewer mistakes by Floyd, who seemed to have rediscovered his Superman speed.

In Mannheim Wladimir Klitschko dropped Italy's outclassed but game challenger Francesco Pianeta three times before the ref waved the massacre off in round six. It was a classic Wlad performance in his 23rd world heavyweight title fight - conservative and risk-free, only crashing over the right hand with any real venom when he knew that poor Pianeta had nothing left.

It is too easy to be critical of the pair of champions and complain that their challengers are handpicked, and that Floyd and Wlad have all the advantages. The opponents are handpicked because that is the way the sport works - in favour of the cash-cow house fighter. They have advantages because they deserve advantages. If Pianeta wants home advantage then his management could have bid millions and asked Wlad to fight in Milan. It's that simple.

As for Guerrero, well, he deserved his shot at Mayweather. He was in with a chance if he had delivered on his promise and, more importantly, if Floyd had actually aged. On the night in front of nearly 16,000 people, not all of whom had paid top dollar for the their tickets, Guerrero was brutally exposed and given a boxing lesson that left him bruised, embarrassed and at times left looking like a raw novice.

Pianeta was a novice, both in real and imagined terms, compared to Wlad. He tried but had no answer to the younger Klitschko's power and experience. It was Wlad's 60th win, his 51st by stoppage or knockout, in 63 fights, and might even qualify as his easiest world title defence. David Haye, a former Klitschko victim in the ESPN studio for the broadcast, thought that Wlad could have ended it earlier. "He puts safety first," Haye said, before admitting: "Klitschko is hard to beat in Germany."

Klitschko now has a date in late August with Alexander Povetkin in either Moscow or Berlin after a Russian promoter agreed to pay Wlad $17.5 million for the fight. Povetkin is just one fighter on a list in my head that would provide a sterner test than the battered Italian. Haye will be back on the list when he beats Manny Charr in Manchester on June 29th.

For his part, Haye knows what's expected of him. "It took Vitali [Klitschko] four rounds to beat Charr and then he needed the help of his doctor to rule Charr out," Haye said. "I have to do it quicker."

It is possible that Mayweather will be back in the ring at the MGM on September 14th, provided his damaged right hand is not broken. He can take his pick of opponents from a list of respectable and available boxers who gathered in Vegas to watch him fight - which he will, seeing as he is the promoter. They were just like the hopeful members of a chorus line at an audition, all desperate to catch Money's eye.

It will be a fun few months for Wlad and Floyd as they look to extend their ridiculous domination.

There's more from David Haye on this week's Podcast - still the finest online boxing chatter in the UK. Treat your ears, and until next week - adios.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Steve Bunce Close
Steve Bunce has been ringside in Las Vegas over 50 times, he has been at five Olympics and has been writing about boxing for over 25 years for a variety of national newspapers in Britain, including four which folded! It is possible that his face and voice have appeared on over 60 channels worldwide in a variety of languages - his first novel The Fixer was published in 2010 to no acclaim; amazingly it has been shortlisted for Sports Book of the Year.