Las Vegas, NV – The teacher taught the student a lesson that he will likely never, ever forget. In front of a record 16,746 fans that included hip hop heavyweights Rick Ross, Diddy and Nas as well as number of athletes (Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson), actors (Jack Nicholson, Don Cheadle) and a rabid Mexican contingency howling inside of the MGM Grand Garden, Floyd Mayweather put on a scintillating display of boxing ability as he thoroughly outclassed Saul “Canelo” Alvarez to unify the junior middleweight world titles and keep his perfect record intact with a majority decision victory.
Aside from a completely nonsensical 114-114 score courtesy of the same C.J. Ross that gift wrapped a notorious decision victory for Timothy Bradley over Manny Pacquiao, it was a one-sided wash by Mayweather. Thankfully, judges Dave Moretti (116-112) and Craig Metcalfe (117-111) restored order to the universe. But, honestly, even those scores were generous (Knockout Nation had it 120-108) as “Money” made easy work out of what was being called his toughest test to date.
The 36-year-old may have been Canelo’s senior by 13 years, but his experience and tool set offset the physical advantages that many assumed the redheaded Mexican would have. Mayweather admits that Canelo’s time will come, but just not while he’s still around.
“Canelo is a young, strong champion. A great Mexican champion,” Mayweather (45-0, 26 KOs) said. “I take my hat off to him and to Mexico. He can take a loss and bounce back.”
But there would be no bouncing back on this night. All that was bouncing was Mayweather’s jab off Canelo’s face. The pound for pound king took the fight straight to Canelo from the opening bell as he went on the offensive in a hurry. A slick jab squeezed through the young fighters gloves and repeatedly snapped his head back. Perhaps taken back by Mayweather’s strategy, Canelo winged heavy punches while Mayweather was in range, but could only come up with air as the champion darted away with relative ease.
“He’s very elusive, he’s a great fighter and that’s why I couldn’t catch him,” a visibly displeased Alvarez said afterwards while connecting on only 117 of his 526 punches thrown (22%). “I did not know how to get to him. It’s as simple as that. He’s very elusive.”
If nothing else, it was a boxing lesson that could go a long way in helping Canelo take over the sport once Mayweather finally decides to hang them up. But on this night, Canelo found himself in way over his head. Mayweather cracked him often with the jab and launched a number of straight right hands that Canelo could hardly see coming. The Mexican hero’s lack of experience came into play as he was visibly frustrated and often resorted to dirty tactics like a shoulder to the chin or a punch into the thigh to vent his anger. It didn’t matter though, Mayweather sucked the air out of the screaming Mexican fans who bombarded the arena with “Ca-Ne-Lo” chants. By the middle rounds they likely started to think about what they were going to wear to the litany of after parties. Mayweather was extraordinarily accurate as he landed 232 of his 505 punches (46%) and over half of his power shots.
“My dad had a brilliant game plan,” Mayweather said while noting that he believed to have dislocated his elbow in the sixth round. “I could have pressed it and got the late stoppage.”
Nevertheless, “Money” once again lives up to his nickname as he will take home a record $41.5 million while seeing the upside of the pay per view that could close in on the 2.44 million buys that he and Oscar De La Hoya did several years ago when setting the pay per view record.
With the win, Mayweather will now have to pick from a shallow pool of options for his next fight. The undefeated fighter vows to fight next in May, and again in September. That’s the easy part. The hard part is figuring out with whom he can be matched with that the public believes might give him a run for his money. If Saturday’s extraordinary performance was any indicator, the only fight that’s going to challenge Mayweather will be against Father Time.
For More In Boxing, MMA and Combat Sports, go to KnockoutNation.com.