Weekend Review: Mayweather did his thing
Floyd Mayweather Jr.: Another capable, highly hyped opponent, another ridiculously easy victory. Such has been the remarkable career of the greatest fighter in the world. Some experts built a case for Canelo Alvarez going into their fight Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, saying the Mexican’s combination of youth, size and improving ability would be a challenge for Mayweather (45-0, 26 knockouts). Uhhh … no. “Money” made the red-headed darling of Mexico look as foolish as almost all of his opponents in recent years, his all-around skills much too much for a relative newbie. Mayweather, 36, never looked better. We can’t revel in the excitement generated by Mayweather fights; one-sided boxing clinics aren’t exciting in terms of blood-and-guts. We can – and should — revel in the magical qualities he brings into the ring. He has the mesmerizing ability to turn a talented, determined opponent into his personal punching bag within only a few minutes. That’s some trick.
Canelo Alvarez: Alvarez (42-1-1, 30 KOs) entered the ring on Saturday night an underdog but also an undefeated, fast-rising star who some believed had the tools to give Mayweather a run for his money. The Mexican left the ring profoundly humbled, just another opponent in over his head against the best in the business. He’ll never be perceived quite the same. That said, I still think this was a no-lose proposition for him. Yes, he lost the fight. But he lost to a fighter who has no peers. And he’s young. As he pointed out, it was a learning experience. I suspect that his fans, mostly Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, appreciated his fighting spirit on Saturday night. He never gave up, even when his mission seemed hopeless. That’s all anyone can expect of a fighter. I also suspect Alvarez is the type of young man who will find motivation in the setback. His pride was badly damaged. He won’t want to experience that again. My guess is that he’ll be back in the gym within a few weeks.
Mayweather-Alvarez: Alvarez wasn’t given much of a chance of beating Mayweather going into the fight. We hoped it would be at least somewhat competitive, though. It wasn’t. That’s why much of the energy in the MGM Grand Garden Arena was gone by mid-fight and people started leaving before the final round. The promotion was successful. An estimated 12,000 people showed up at the weigh-in, stark evidence that fans bought wholly into the fight. And a lot of people are going to make a lot of money when the profits are divvied up. Still, several people lamented afterward that the result wasn’t good for the sport. The tremendous hype promised something big and the main event didn’t deliver, unless you believe a sublime performance by Mayweather is enough. No one is to blame here. The promoter’s job is to set up the best possible fight and then sell it to the public, which it did. The reality is that no one can compete with Mayweather. That’s just something everyone must remember going into his fights.
Finding a worthy opponent for Mayweather: Anyone you put in front of Mayweather probably would look a lot like Alvarez on Saturday. So who are the best options? Danny Garcia, whose victory over Lucas Matthysse on Saturday won raves, isn’t the guy. Too small, too slow. I love the idea of Mayweather fighting Gennaday Golovkin or Andre Ward but both are too big for a natural 147-pounder. I think Amir Khan might have the hand speed and athletic ability to cause Mayweather some problems but his chin would likely fail him. And I don’t think his pal Adrien Broner would fight him. That leaves us with a possible opponent we know well: Manny Pacquiao. If the former pound-for-pound king looks good against Rios on Nov. 23, he might resurface as the most viable opponent for Mayweather even after several attempts to make the fight failed. This version of Pacquiao would be a significant underdog. So would everyone else, though. And the fight could still generate a lot of interest and money. Am I dreaming? Probably.
C.J. Ross: Boxing is a subjective sport. People see different things when they watch a fight. But 114-114 for Mayweather’s demolition of Alvarez? That score is what promoter Richard Schaefer called it: “disgraceful.” I scored it 120-108. I could see 119-109. Maybe Alvarez won the 12th round. I believe the other two scores – Dave Moretti’s 116-112 and Craig Metcalfe’s 117-111 – are absurd. 114-114 is a crime. And remember: Ross also scored the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley fight 115-113 for Bradley, another indefensible card. I don’t want to be too hard on her. Scoring isn’t easy. That said, anyone who scored Mayweather-Alvarez a draw probably doesn’t have the skills to score boxing matches. I don’t know. Perhaps she could be re-trained and start again at the very bottom. To leave her in the position she is in now – judging major fights – would be misguided.
BIGGEST WINNER II
Danny Garcia: What more does Garcia (27-0, 16 KOs) have to do to prove he’s among the best fighters in the world? The Philadelphia fighter recorded what might be considered his signature victory, defeating Lucas Matthysse by a unanimous decision on the Mayweather-Alvarez card. That was just his latest accomplishment, though. He has beaten in succession Erik Morales, Amir Khan, Morales again, Zab Judah and now Matthysse. Few fighters have accomplished as much the past few years. And Garcia is only 25. His best years could lie ahead. The question is: What next? He has beaten all of the top 140-pounders promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, which handles him. That’s one reason he’s considering a move up to 147, where the likes of Adrien Broner, Marcos Maidana, Devon Alexander and Keith Thurman reside. And, yes, there’s also Mayweather. Garcia might be wise to take that fight if it’s offered because of the money involved. He would pay a price, though: A one-sided, Alvarez-like loss would severely damage the fine career he is building for himself.
BIGGEST LOSER II
Lucas Matthysse: The Argentine deserves a lot of credit in defeat. He fought half the fight win one eye, yet relying more on courage and determination than anything else, he was competitive. Had the two judges who scored the fight 114-112 for Garcia gave only one more round to Matthysse, the fight would’ve been a draw. It was close. However, close doesn’t mean much. Saturday was Garcia’s night. Matthysse (34-3, 32 KOs) had built considerable momentum, knocking out all six of his opponents since a controversial loss to Devon Alexander. That’s gone. So is the opportunity to supplant aging Sergio Martinez as the top fighter from Argentina. The rebuilding process might not take long, though. Matthysse is a candidate to face the winner of the Dec. 14 Adrien Broner-Marcos Maidana fight. A victory there would go a long way toward repairing any damage suffered on Saturday.
It was a difficult week for Mexican sports fans. On Tuesday, the U.S. beat Mexico 2-0 in a World Cup qualifying game. Mexico is danger of missing the 2014 Cup, which would be devastating to the soccer-crazed country. And their red-headed darling was thrashed by an American wizard on Saturday. Tough times. ÔÇª Carlos Molina (22-5-2, 6 KOs) demonstrated once again that he’s a very good boxer on the Mayweather-Alvarez card. Only this time he reaped big rewards. Molina defeated Ishe Smith (25-6, 11 KOs) to take Smith’s IBF junior middleweight title, Molina’s first major belt. The Chicago fighter has the ability to hold the belt for an extended period, assuming he doesn’t fight Mayweather. ÔÇª Pablo Cesar Cano (27-3-1, 20 KOs) gave a strong performance in his 10-round, split-decision victory over Ashley Theophane (33-6-1, 10 KOs) on the Mayweather-Alvarez card. Judge Richard Ocasio scored the fight 96-94 for Theophane, which didn’t reflect reality. ÔÇª Shawn Porter (22-0-1, 14 KOs) imposed his never-stop-punching energy on Julio Diaz (40-9-1, 29 KOs) on Friday at the MGM Grand to win a unanimous 10-round decision. Porter and Diaz fought to a draw in December.