Floyd Mayweather cemented his place at the top of the boxing tree last Saturday with a master-class performance against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
The 23-year-old Mexican became Mayweather’s 45th victim in the ring and was on the receiving-end of a virtuoso performance. Admirably Canelo had a game plan, stuck to it but simply could have done no more against a seemingly superhuman opponent. The occasion certainly didn’t overawe the Mexican but Mayweather’s speed did.
The American arguably put in his best-ever performance, showcasing his undisputed skills. His defence was impenetrable, and even against a younger, stronger and heavier opponent, he proved elusive, regularly frustrating the Mexican.
That said, Canelo should be commended for keeping his head, rather than punch himself out by wildly chasing shadows. Unlike previous Mayweather opponents, he reserved energy, enabling him to unleash his notorious body shots during the latter rounds.
Although this proved to Canelo’s best period in the fight, and just when you sensed that the momentum could shift, Mayweather would beautifully pivot and spin out of trouble—displaying his impressive and unrivalled counter-punching abilities.
For those who asked more of Canelo, had the Mexican gambled and thrown the proverbial kitchen sink at Mayweather, the outcome would have been akin to the Ricky Hatton v Mayweather bout in 2008, where the then undefeated Mancunian did all the chasing and was effectively schooled, culminating in a 10th round TKO.
Mayweather’s punch statistics (sourced from CompuBox and reported by MMAmania) underlined his sheer dominance on the way to a majority decision, as almost half of his 505 punches found the target, compared to Alvarez who could not even connect with a quarter of his own.
|Floyd Mayweather||Saul Alvarez|
|Total punches thrown||505||526|
|Total punches landed||232 (46%)||117 (22%)|
|Jabs landed||139 / 330 (42%)||44 / 294 (15%)|
|Power punches landed||93 / 175 (53%)||73 / 232 (31%)|
One judge had the audacity to score the fight a draw. CJ Ross supplemented her questionable standing as a judge (following her disputed scorecard when Manny Pacquiao lost to Timothy Bradley) with an even worse performance on Saturday and the Nevada Boxing Commission would be wise to halt any more official outings in Las Vegas for the 63-year-old—with a frank Mayweather declaring, “I thought it was a joke.”
Waking up to the first “L” on his otherwise impressive professional record, Canelo was gracious in defeat, “He’s a great fighter. He’s very experienced, very intelligent, very elusive, it’s as simple as that. I just didn’t know how to catch him.”
Mayweather replicated praise to the challenger, “I take my hat off him. Mexico has had some great champions and Canelo is a true champion. I just listened to my dad, he had a great game plan, take my time.”
What’s next for the Money team?
The next logical opponent is Danny Garcia, who impressively defended his light-welterweight title in convincing fashion against his much-fancied opponent Argentine Lucas Matthysse on The One’s undercard.
Would this fight generate significant interest? Unlikely. Philadelphian Garcia, perhaps somewhat harshly, could be considered as a marginal improvement on Robert Guerrero despite two wins against Erik Morales and a stoppage against Amir Khan (who himself has also touted a bout against Mayweather).
Garcia’s father would be a useful media weapon in generating sales but truthfully, the only fight which would create genuine interest is the one which fight fans have been clamouring for the last five years—against Manny Pacquiao.
The Pacman must first of all, take care of Brandon Rios in China during November. A convincing win would see the pressure back on the Money team to make the fight happen—since it is they who appear to be the main stumbling block.
Mayweather has previously insisted that following the Filipino devastating knock-out at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao does not deserve a shot at the pound-for-pound king. This can only be considered to be a diversion since Mayweather was only too happy to accommodate the likes of Shane Mosley, Oscar De La Hoya and Miguel Cotto—exciting fighters who all had blemishes on their otherwise distinguished records before facing the Nevadan.
Without doubt Mayweather can certainly consider himself one of the all-time greats. But in order to be considered the greatest, he must beat all of his rivals and only one obstacle remains in Mayweather’s path to the pinnacle of excellence—the Pacman.