Let me be blunt here. FIrst, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the best boxer of his generation and the best to come along in a long time. It’s getting harder and harder to contest that or deny it. He is a smart, tactical and accurate fighter who makes other fighters wrap themselves in frustration trying to hit him with a punch. He has been criticized by some because it seems like he is running away from his competition in the ring. That is painfully inaccurate. Floyd fights smart. He stands, fires jab and hook and a few more jabs and spins away. He fights a defensive game but can go on the offensive. He never runs. He turns his front shoulder and doesn’t allow the other boxer to penetrate his vital areas. It happens time and time again. We prop up a young challenger or a seasoned vet who we think can give Floyd a run for his money. Every time, Floyd takes that guy to school. Every time. Unless you are a Floyd fan, the fights are frustrating. Those people usually sum up the night by saying, “Well, if Floyd didn’t run away, we’d have ourselves a fight.” WRONG! Floyd Mayweather Jr. simply knows how to box better than any fighter out there and is an expert at picking apart an opponent or simply avoiding punishment. He never looks bruised or cut up after a fight. Most fighters climb into the ring to win a fight. These days, Floyd’s opponents climb in with the hope of hurting him or at least touching him with solid contact. That is how good he is. Boxing can be a frustrating sport to watch but it can also be beautiful to witness at the same time. There’s a sexy art form to it. That sums up Floyd Mayweather Jr..
Tonight, Floyd took Canelo Alvarez to school because he took the young champions greatest weapons, size and power, away from him for 12 rounds. He pitched a shutout. Mayweather Jr. frustrated Canelo by ducking and diving, slipping jabs and countering with hooks, and this drove the young durable and talented Mexican champ into desperation. Canelo always starts fights with a slow methodical march towards his opponent, but tonight it looked more and more like definitive annoyance with a preconceived notion that was becoming painfully correct as the fight carried on. Mayweather Jr. didn’t pulverize or dismantle Canelo. He just out boxed him. He hit him more often and more precisely. Canelo couldn’t breach the impenetrable vault that represents Money Mayweather’s defense. Every time Canelo threw a combination that usually decimated lesser fighters, it was met with a few counter jabs and didn’t do any damage. As the fight carried on, Canelo’s combinations grew more wild and then became lamely tentative. As a man who respected Floyd’s talent yet wanted to see him be challenged, I screamed at the television. I pleaded with Canelo’s fists. Once you know you are losing the fight, it’s time to let it rip. Throw, throw, and throw some more. Retain dignity and throw some more. Don’t stop throwing. However, I am not in the ring with him. All I can do is shadow box in my chair and will my guy on. Canelo is the one facing down the best fighter in the last 15 plus years of boxing. We haven’t seen this kind of brash excellence since Joe Calzaghe finished with an flawless record. Floyd is outlandish, ambitious, highly confident, rambunctious, and an expert boxer. He reminds you that the very essence of the sport has to do with boxing and not punching. Canelo Alvarez got a lesson tonight and one he will take into his future fights.
Let’s be clear. Canelo Alvarez has nothing to be sad about tonight. He should carry little regret about the way he fought. He is a very good fighter with a chance to be great who was taken down by the best. He is 43-1-1 and that loss comes against Mayweather Jr., the best in the sport. What does he have to be ashamed about here? Nothing. He will have plenty of great fights coming up. He can take on Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and take over the power in Mexico’s boxing ranks. He can fight seasoned vets like Sergio Martinez or Miguel Cotto. He can come up to 160 where I feel he will be more comfortable and find a whole new arsenal of opponents. Canelo has options and didn’t lose any on Sunday morning in Vegas. He came to fight, did his best and simply failed.
What is next for Floyd? I would love to say a fight with Manny Pacquaio but a lot of things have to happen for that to make sense to the champ. Pacquiao still draws the second most pay per view buys behind Floyd so the fight would make money. It would just come 2-3 years too late. The one element of Manny’s game that could give Floyd issues is his hand speed. While not as adept as Mayweather Jr., Pac Man has the power, foot speed and hand speed to keep up the pace with Floyd. However, these opinions carry dust. A few years ago, they would be firm reasons for a match. This was the fight we all wanted to see. Each fighter contributed to making it not happen. Floyd did seem a little scared of it at the time and made efforts to break it up. Manny’s promoters are shitty big fight makers. Each one got in the way. This fight isn’t as hot as it once was but if Pac Man beats Brandon Rios definitively next month, it can happen. I can see Manny winning his next two fights and getting a shot at Floyd next September. Manny can beat Rios and then fight the winner of the Timothy Bradley-Juan Manuel Marquez fight next month and get some revenge. If he can do that, things look a lot different. The fighters would be older but a fight would still carry some flair. If not that, Floyd can come down and face Danny Garcia, who impressed in a blow for blow bout with Lucas Matthysse last night. I think Floyd would school Garcia, Devon Alexander and nearly anyone else put in front of him. Pacquiao is the only intriguing fight option and that isn’t even that shiny of an opportunity at this moment.
All I can say is Floyd Mayweather Jr. deserves your respect because he once again reminded folks Saturday night why he is the best fighter in the boxing game and may retire with the crown on his head. He broke down, frustrated and completely outboxed Canelo Alvarez, “The People’s Anointed Champion” and a very good fighter. It’s time everybody gives him his due and stop the fuss.
You know what I’m doing right now as I drink a cup of coffee at 2 a.m.. I am getting a shovel out and digging a hole for all my Floyd Mayweather Jr. hatred and another small one for my excuses. I still don’t the guy but I think that is part of his appeal. The ultimate antagonist. I just can’t hate the guy any longer. He is too good of a boxer for a boxing fan like myself to hold that kind of weight on him. When I am done digging, I am watching some HBO and going to bed.
Thanks for reading folks and goodnight,