People want to see Floyd Mayweather beat; it’s as simple as that. Beating him is a whole other story all together. He proved it again on Saturday evening, the MGM Grand Garden Arena once again where a virtuoso displayed his finest.
We’ve previously contended that if Floyd Mayweather was to truly leave the legacy he so badly wants, a victory over Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez was necessary. It’s hard to imagine a more emphatic victory happening than what transpired on September 14th.
No one is in doubt of just how talented a boxer Floyd is. He displays knowledge of the defensive side of the game bordering on savant like, one of the finest practitioners of a facet of the sport typically derided by casual and hardcore fight fans alike.
The casual fan might just want to see a knockout; the hardcore fan can tell you the last three guys Gennady Golovkin bludgeoned. That said you can generally get them to agree on a fighter like Floyd being boring to watch.
Its unfortunate a fighter with all the skills of Mayweather is labeled as such. It is his incredible ability defensively that leads to these “boring” fights. His skill is such that his fights tend to produce very little entertainment. His showdown with Miguel Cotto was certainly the most entertaining Floyd fight in years, many expecting a bigger, stronger and faster opponent in Canelo to provide an even more entertaining one.
Of course no such thing happened. Floyd completely dominated, perhaps not earning the shut out some experts have scored him but certainly he gave up no more than three rounds. And that’s being generous.
On what argumentatively was the biggest stage of his career, Mayweather shone. He exhibited a veritable what’s what of defensive fighting. When that wasn’t enough he was willing to stand toe to toe with Canelo for a bit.
It’s hard to imagine many other fighters capable of displaying such a variety of techniques with such a high level of effectiveness.
That is not to say Canelo’s night was a total wash. Performing on that kind of stage, dealing with that kind of media attention and fighting an opponent that good can only serve to benefit a 23 year old ready to become the sports next superstar.
The loss is far from the end of Canelo’s career, and is more likely to act as the jumping off point for the incredible popularity and fame to come. He’ll also have an opportunity to learn how to comeback from defeat. At 36, Mayweather has never had to do it, is never likely to do it. But it’s the defeats you battle through that come to define the man remembered as a champion.
When questioned about his readiness after Friday afternoons weigh ins, the unwavering declaration of “I was born ready” was said with such confidence you had to believe Canelo was about to do the unthinkable. Rarely has anyone entered a bout with Mayweather so self assured.
But comparatively, the two men could not look at the possibility of defeat any differently. Boxing fans can hopefully drop the cries of “Mayweather’s ducking” that seem to drown out all his achievements. With the possibility of a showdown with Pacquaio losing its luster with every passing day, Canelo was the biggest challenge Mayweather could have taken.
Still, Mayweather’s career has been very carefully planned for a long time. He doesn’t so much duck, as is the accusation, as wait out. He knows when to make the most money fighting an opponent, and it has typically been against fighters on the downslide. Canelo was different.
Mayweather seemingly threw caution to the wind, perhaps finally possessing the self belief in his skills that, for a man so braggadocios about his ability seemed to lack. The self assured performance was evidence.
Canelo on the other hand has had his management team show far more caution than he ever has in regards to who he will fight. Perhaps it’s down to possessing the fool hardy idea that you’re invincible that comes with youth. Regardless, the damage to his psyche this loss will provide is considerably less than if the shoe was on the other foot.
“I was born ready” was the battle cry of Canelo throughout the promotion of The One. Saying it and doing it are two completely different things. The Canelo on display on Saturday evening was not the Canelo fight fans have come to appreciate.
Gone was the ability to back an opponent down, launching piston like combinations at a prone opponent before ultimately knocking them to the canvas. Instead we saw a much more tentative and wary fighter. Frustration might have gotten the better of him.
A majority of it is, of course, down to the defensive proficiency of Mayweather. It’s hard to hit a guy when he just isn’t there to be hit, or is but somehow manages to seemingly slip every punch. Canelo was left to question his ability, and self doubt is the death sentence of any fighter.
Many have become unraveled standing across the ring from Floyd. Rather then being a troubling display of ineptness on the part of Canelo, it was another example of the mastery of Mayweather.
Moving forward is a lot of uncertainty to both men. Floyd has five fights left on his contract, which if he’s successful in all five will result in him retiring at 50-0. The opponents don’t seem so automatic. One would think an eventual rematch with Canelo is somewhere down the line, but you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who thinks that will happen immediately.
The speculation on a viable next opponent is ongoing, but the biggest problem Mayweather and his management now face is who can provide a big money fight. Canelo was the biggest around and there isn’t anyone else around that could provide anywhere near the star power and potential threat which Alvarez did.
Mayweather will inevitably find someone, but whoever it is will pale in comparison to Alvarez. From here on out it’ll all be a bit anti climatic.
Alvarez on the other hand still does have big money fights which can serve to pad his bank account, raise his profile and provide entertainment. Miguel Cotto’s name has been thrown around almost since the decision was announced, but the ongoing battle between Top Rank and Golden Boy will surely provide an insurmountable obstacle.
Instead Carlos Molina provides a likely challenge, a chance for Canelo to put another W on his resume and ease into a bigger challenge. While he is likely to want to move on to the next toughest challenger his management team is likely to err on the side of caution and protect their asset.
Whatever happens, the two paths will eventually cross again. There’s too much money in a rematch for Mayweather/Canelo II to not happen. The fans have to hope Canelo can rise to the occasion on the next go round.