In the biggest fight of the year, and maybe the past decade, Floyd Mayweather proved once again why he is not just a special fighter, but an all time great. Mayweather (45-0, 26 KOs), who in all likely hood will finish his career unblemished, was able to decisively defeat the country of Mexico’s best fighter at the moment, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, (42-1-1, 30 KOs). Some wondered if Alvarez was in over his head, or perhaps even over hyped. Neither of which proved to be true Saturday night in Las Vegas. Although Alvarez failed to ever seize the momentum, or truly tighten up the scorecards, excluding Judge C.J. Ross’ card of 114-114, (Ross also was one of the ringside officials who awarded Timothy Bradley a victory in his bout this past year over Manny Pacquiao) Alvarez still showed the world that he is one of the best fighters in boxing today. When Floyd Mayweather decides to end his era of dominance, the 23 year old “Canelo” may still become the king of the sport.
The night and the fight however, like every other night in Floyd Mayweather’s professional career, belonged to the undefeated icon. Mayweather is without a doubt, the best fighter of his generation. Coming into Saturday night, Mayweather was the stature of other legends such as Bernard Hopkins, Roy Jones Jr, Pernell Whitaker, and Manny Pacquiao. With this career defining victory over Alvarez, Mayweather has now gone onto another level, and surpassed the previously mentioned terrific fighters. Alvarez was the universally recognized champion of the world at junior middleweight, a claim Mayweather had yet to have accomplished until now. In beating Alvarez, Mayweather is now a five division, ten time world champion. The most titles held in the history of boxing. Oscar De La Hoya, who unfortunately was unable to attend Saturday night’s contest, was previously the man to have held the most world championships won.
From rounds one through nine, each round was competitive. Mayweather was able to land the clean effective punches to win the round, but in between Alvarez was able to keep Mayweather on his toes and was there with Mayweather every second. Throughout those stanzas, it was evident Alvarez was not going to be beaten easily by any means, unlike Mayweather’s previous opponent Robert Guerrero. Whenever opponents try to stay on the outside, at distance with Mayweather they look completely outclassed in speed and skill. Alvarez was not, both his skill and hand speed were in the ballpark with Mayweather’s. With the exception of three rounds or so, when Alvarez was able to connect to the body of Mayweather well and fire combinations, Alvarez was never able to connect cleanly on the chin of Mayweather. Alvarez came close often, but the crafty Mayweather either made Alvarez miss or roll his shoulder with Alvarez’s punches. By the tenth, Alvarez was discouraged, frustrated, and tired as the fight was slipping away. With Alvarez now needing a knockout over one of the best defensive fighters in the history of the sport, the upset was then all but impossible. Alvarez no longer had the energy, nor the velocity on his punches that he did earlier, while Mayweather remained fresh as a daisy. Leaving the heavily anticipated bout with a anti-climatic ending.
Although the fight had high intensity throughout much of the bout, the manner in which Mayweather played it safe in the final rounds may have indeed upset paying viewers. Fans order Pay Per View fights to see fighters fight all twelve rounds, trying to win each and every stanza. Mayweather did not do so, he cruised his way to what should have been a unanimous decision. From Mayweather’s point of view, doing just that was the most intelligent option he had. It is understandable, Mayweather is not a natural junior middleweight and Alvarez is a very good puncher; But, Mayweather was clearly not spent at all and Alvarez was, Mayweather had Alvarez checkmated. It would have been better for the sport if Mayweather opened up his offensive arsenal and closed the show with some real excitement for the millions watching as it would have created more excitement following this huge event.
Regardless of how you feel about Floyd Mayweather, or the fashion in which he dominates, there is no arguing that he is a once in a generation athlete. Floyd Mayweather, not Lebron James, or anybody else, is the most dominant athlete on the planet.