Neither age, nor jail, nor insistent opponent and trainer were enough to keep Floyd Mayweather Jr. from completing his appointed Saturday night rounds.
And by the time the night was over, even that opponent admitted it.
"He's a little better than I thought,” said Robert Guerrero, whom Mayweather beat by a wide unanimous decision in defense of the WBC welterweight title. “He was barely slipping away from the punches. I thought I'd catch him."
Mayweather improved to 44-0 in 17 years as a pro, while Guerrero fell to 31-2-1 and lost for both the first time in three fights at welterweight and the first time overall since 2005.
And the two men who'd battled verbally through premium cable documentaries, press conferences and 36 minutes of sporadic in-ring violence eventually called a truce after Jimmy Lennon made the verdict official, signaling to the boxing world that it's time to pick the next contestant and begin another countdown on exactly how much time remains before Father Time ultimately reigns.
The smart money says that would-be king will be unbeaten Golden Boy Promotions product Canelo Alvarez, but Mayweather threw in a potential wrench by claiming he'd injured his right hand somewhere in the middle rounds against Guerrero and therefore was unable to press for a knockout.
Regardless, whether the injury ultimately means a lesser opponent in September or another entire year on the shelf before the would-be Alvarez fight, the latest win also guarantees the necessity of yet another round of debate about Mayweather's standing among the all-time greats.
On Saturday, as he faced a foe six years younger who'd been twice as active in the last three years, it seemed clear he'd climbed at least a couple rungs -- thanks to the hard work and dedication mantra Guerrero and his team had been quick to mock in the pre-fight run-up.
“It was blood, sweat and tears in there tonight, what can I say,” Mayweather said. “The less you get hit in this game, the longer you last. Everybody was saying, at age 36, that I wasn't as sharp as I used to be, that I didn't look good in the Cotto fight.
“But Cotto was a future hall of famer and a great fighter. Guerrero was pressing the attack, but I had good work for this fight. A lot of young, strong guys in camp who were forcing me to fight.”
12:57 p.m.: Guerrero admitted, "He's a little better than I thought. I thought I'd catch him."
12:55 a.m.: Mayweather was noncommittal about his future plans, saying "I don't know who we're going to fight right now. I have to go home and rest up first. But I'm ready to party with everyone in Las Vegas tonight."
12:48 a.m.: All three judges score it the same, 117-111 (9 rounds to 3), for Floyd Mayweather Jr. CBS Card also had it 117-111.
Round 12: Fighters embrace to begin final round. Mayweather starts round on bicycle. Crowd boos. Guerrero tries to smother, Mayweather eludes charges. Mayweather bounces along ropes, Guerrero pursues, Mayweather holds. Mayweather closes with flurry, Guerrero raises hands. Mayweather laughs. Guerrero's father yelling, "I thought we were gonna go toe to toe. He ran like a chicken." CBS Card: Mayweather 10-9 (117-111).
Round 11: Mayweather moving steadily, lands looping right hand to Guerrero rush. Combination wobbles Guerrero again, Mayweather landing more than half his shots. Guerrero not letting hands go, even in close. CBS Card: Mayweather 10-9 (107-102).
Round 10: Guerrero throws three lefts in corner, Mayweather blocks all three and counters with right. Guerrero lands strong left to body. Mayweather lands two low blows. Mayweather sharpshoots in final minute, throwing jabs and lead rights. CBS Card: Mayweather 10-9 (97-93).
Round 9: Referee confirms Guerrero cut was caused by punch, not butt. Mayweather using movement. Guerrero forces clinch to corner, but Mayweather holds. Mayweather counters with body shot. Mayweather lands two right hands with back to corner. Guerrero showing more aggression, lands body shot near bell. CBS Card: Guerrero 10-9 (87-84).
Round 8: Guerrero cut on left eyelid, not as active as in past rounds. Looping right hand wobbles Guerrero with 10 seconds to go. Mayweather's best round. CBS Card: Mayweather 10-9 (78-74).
Round 7: Guerrero's father sends him out from corner saying, "Whatever it takes." Mayweather lays on ropes, Guerrero in close but not giving himself enough distance to land and not throwing enough. Mayweather throws left hook to body. CBS Card: Guerrero 10-9 (68-65).
Round 6: Guerrero lands more counters, presses action more than in past rounds. Mayweather lays on ropes, comes off, lands straight right. Mayweather wins last 60 seconds, has landed 40 or more percent in four of six rounds. Guerrero never more than 30 percent. CBS Card: Mayweather 10-9 (59-55).
Round 5: Guerrero lands snapping counter left, Mayweather follows with right. Mayweather not moving, relying on straight right potshots and following with left hooks. Eluding Guerrero charges to ropes. Mayweather putting body behind right hands. Guerrero averaged 71 punches per round in last four fights, throwing 40 tonight. CBS Card:: Mayweather 10-9 (49-46).
Round 4: Guerrero lands glancing left, Mayweather follows with right hand that snaps Guerrero's head back. Guerrero finally forces fight to the ropes, but Mayweather counters well and escapes flurry. CBS Card: Mayweather 10-9 (39-37).
Round 3: Mayweather making Guerrero lunge, lands counter right hand to head. Mayweather landing solid single shots, then trying to smother Guerrero follows. Mayweather's best round, uses jab, lands straight right and keeps Guerrero's reckless style from being utilized. Guerrero's face reddened. CBS Card: Mayweather 10-9 (29-28).
Round 2: Guerrero corners Mayweather and lands lunging straight left. Referee letting clinches linger before intervening. Guerrero making Mayweather lead, countering well. Mayweather lands straight right at the bell. CBS Card: Guerrero 10-9 (19-19).
Round 1: Mayweather not moving. Mayweather lands initial straight right. Guerrero rough in clinches, throwing free left hands. Mayweather lands sharper lead right hands, Guerrero countering effectively. Guerrero stares at end of round. CBS Card: Mayweather 10-9.
11:58 p.m.: Under way.
11:57 p.m.: Final referee instructions. Fathers jawing back and forth.
11:55 p.m.: Judges are Duane Ford, Julie Lederman and Jerry Roth. Referee is Robert Byrd.
11:53 p.m.: Jimmy Lennon beginning in-ring introductions.
11:52 p.m.: Mayweather in ring.
11:50 p.m.: Mayweather walking to the ring with rapper Lil' Wayne.
11:49 p.m.: Guerrero in ring.
11:48 p.m.: The always colorful Floyd Mayweather Sr., in a video feature prior to the ringwalks: "(Floyd's) faster than him, slicker than him and smarter than him. He gonna get his ass tore up."
11:43 p.m.: It's anthem time. Tony Meledez with the Mexican, being followed Kelly Rowland. Ring walks to follow.
11:37 p.m.: The three official scorecards had Mares in front, 76-75, 76-75 and 77-74, at the time of the stoppage. CBS had it 78-73 for Mares through eight rounds.
11:32 p.m.: The fight ended and the WBC title changed hands abruptly when, shortly after Ponce De Leon rose from being dumped by a right hand, referee Jay Nady stepped in amid a follow-up flurry from Mares at 2:20 of the ninth round. The initial consensus was that Nady's intervention was premature. Nonetheless, it gave Mares a world title claim in a third weight class.
11:01 p.m.: Mares punctuated what had been an even second round with a wide left hook that dropped Ponce De Leon for the sixth time in his career. The champion quickly rose and was spared from further punishment by the end of the round.
10:49 p.m.: Fighters are in to the ring for the final undercard event, a featherweight title fight between champion Daniel Ponce De Leon and challenger Abner Mares. Mares had unsuccessfully campaigned for a bout with 122-pound phenom Nonito Donaire, but moved up when a deal was not reached. He and Ponce De Leon at one time trained in the same gym and consider themselves good friends, and this fight wasn't made until Ponce De Leon's previous foe was injured.
10:33 p.m.: Santa Cruz stayed unbeaten in the fifth round when Munoz's trainer entered the ring as a sign of surrender at 1:05. Santa Cruz scored a knockdown in the second and nearly prompted an in-corner retirement following the fourth before finishing the job a round later. Santa Cruz, who won a regional title belt, now appears in line for an IBF world title shot with champion Jonathan Romero.
10:11 p.m.: Former bantamweight champion Leo Santa Cruz, who ended a decade-plus boxing drought on CBS in December, is in the ring for his 122-pound debut -- a scheduled 10-rounder -- against former 115-pound champion Alexander Munoz. Santa Cruz, a volume puncher, is 23-0-1 as a pro; while a sporadically active Munoz is just 4-2 in his last fights since 2008.
10:09 p.m.: Both main-event fighters are in the building. Guerrero arrived backstage looking characteristically intense, while Mayweather was shown strutting while wearing a blue Mayweather Promotions sweatshirt, a baseball cap and headphones.
9:58 p.m.: The early night's best fight comes to an end. Love rose from the sixth-round knockdown and survived, but Rosado was the agressor for the second half and earned a 95-94 nod on the CBS scorecard. Official cards gave it to Love by split decision -- two cards for him, 97-92 and 95-94; and one for Rosado, 95-94. Crowd booing. Rosado visibily frustrated. Love said: "I''m a fighter, and like I said, it's up to the judges."
9:43 p.m.: Some drama in the middle rounds. Love had been the better man in terms of skills through the first 5 2/3 rounds before being dumped to the canvas with a short inside right in the sixth. He rose and continued, but the momentum has decidedly turned into Rosado's favor.
9:12 p.m.: The meat of the undercard begins with a middleweight bout between unbeaten Mayweather Promotions property J'Leon Love (15-0) and Philadelphian Gabriel Rosado (21-6), who unsuccessfully challenged for a 160-pound world title belt in his most recent fight. A big step up in class for Love, who's not met anyone of Rosado's caliber.
8:46 p.m.: Las Vegas-based super middleweight Lanell Bellows stopped Matt Garretson in round four of a matchup of unbeatens that had been scheduled for four rounds. Bellows improved to 4-0-1 as a pro, while Garretson dropped to 2-1.
8:14 p.m.: Adrien Broner arrived for a live cable TV spot to hype his June 22 welterweight title fight with Paulie Malignaggi -- who just happened to be on the broadcast set -- wearing a T-shirt with the message "Hey Paulette." Malignaggi retorts well, saying "You remember the movie Rocky, where they had an Adrian and a Paulie? Which one was the girl?"
7:56 p.m.: Arias, a 22-year-old Cuban now living in Milwaukee, got to 5-0 in his brief career with a majority decision -- winning by scores of 58-56 and 58-55, while the third scorecard had it 57-57. He was signed to a contract with Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s promotional company after impressing Mayweather in a series of sparring sessions, and is trained by former light heavyweight champ Eddie Mustafa Muhammad. CBS had it for Arias, 59-55.
7:42 p.m.: Punches have been thrown at the MGM Grand. Swedish-born Badou Jack, an unbeaten light heavyweight, stopped Michael Gbenga via third-round TKO to open the night. They were followed to the ring by super middleweights Luis Arias and Donyil Livingston, who are midway through a so-far-spirited six-rounder.