By Mike Sloan ringside in Las Vegas: After all the hype, all the promoting, all the posturing, all the bold declarations, nothing really has changed in the world of boxing. Floyd Mayweather is still without question the greatest fighter of his generation, the undisputed pound-for-pound king. He proved that yet again with another sensational performance against an undefeated young lion in Saul “Canelo” Alvarez tonight inside the MGM Grand.
Mayweather started out the fight a tad more aggressive than he normally is and he pressed the issue against Alvarez immediately. He tagged the Mexican star with lightning fast left jabs and, per the norm, made his opponent miss repeatedly. Mayweather (45-0, 26 KOs) continued the trend for the duration of the bout, but he also let his hands go when needed. And against an opponent as formidable as Canelo, he had to let his hands go a lot.
Mayweather countered Alvarez virtually whenever he wanted. If he wasn’t sticking his left jab in his foe’s face – whether as a lead or counter- he was rifling that trademark right hand across Canelo’s head. If that wasn’t enough, he lit Alvarez up with short counter left hooks, counter and lead right uppercuts and pretty much anything else he had at his disposal.
Still, with as much damage that Mayweather was inflicting, Canelo didn’t wilt like so many of Mayweather’s previous opponents. He rarely over-extended himself or got sloppy trying to knock “Money” out. Rather, Alvarez (42-1-1, 30 KOs) stayed within his pocket and tried to box Mayweather whenever he could. Yes, he became much more assertive as the fight wore on, but he even tried to lure Mayweather into a few traps where he’d back himself into the ropes. His plans all backfired, though, as Mayweather was nearly flawless in his execution of his masterful gameplan, something that nobody has been able to figure out in the seventeen years he’s been a pro.
The heavily pro-Canelo crowd slowly was silenced as the rounds ticked away because even though their redheaded hero was fighting exceptionally well and landing some solid shots against the world’s greatest boxer, it just wasn’t enough. During the rounds where Canelo fought well and landed a few clean shots, Mayweather simply regrouped and delivered near-perfect right hands, punches that visibly stung and frustrated the young star. But as badly as Mayweather dominated his challenger, he never was close in ever knocking Alvarez off his feet or stopping him. Instead, Canelo plugged away until the end and had to settle for what might be a minor victory in lasting the distance.
Still, with as frequently as Mayweather tore into Canelo, the fight wasn’t without controversy. When Hall of Fame announcer Jimmy Lennon, Jr. read the official scores of the contest, he was forced to read the inexplicable and confounding score of 114-114 from CJ Ross (who also had Timothy Bradley beating Manny Pacquiao, among other disputed scores). After a wave of disgust and confusion washed over the crowd, Lennon then read more reasonable scores of 116-112 and 117-111 for Mayweather, who remains unbeaten. SecondsOut also saw it for Mayweather, but by an even larger score of 119-109. Most of the various ringside and pressroom scores all favored Mayweather, usually with 118-110/119-109 scores.
After the fight, Mayweather was non-committal as to whom he’d be fighting next but he did say it would definitely be in May. Speculation of Mayweather locking horns with the likes of either Danny Garcia or moving up to middleweight were running rampant at the post fight press conference, but nothing was confirmed other than Floyd going on vacation with his family.
You can also follow Mike Sloan at www.twitter.com/mikesloan19
September 14, 2013