Younger, bigger and seemingly hungrier were advantages that Saul “Canelo” Alvarez figured would drive him to finally shatter Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s ring of invincibility.
Alvarez, 23, thought he possessed the qualities to make Mayweather another boxing mortal. The contrasts in age, familiarity with weight class and fresher legs suggested Alvarez had a chance at ending one of boxing’s most impressive unbeaten runs.
However, Alvarez learned perception doesn’t work when facing Mayweather. Perhaps a third hand might have done the trick because Mayweather again proved he is the sport’s best fighter.
Only a glaringly mistaken scorecard negated yet another perfect performance from Mayweather in his super-welterweight title fight against Alvarez late Saturday. Mayweather shut down Alvarez’s grand ambitions and won a majority decision at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
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“Tonight, experience played a major key,” Mayweather said. “Canelo’s got everything it takes to be a legend in the sport. Tonight was just my night. What else can I say? We did it again.”
Mayweather, 36, frustrated Alvarez throughout the 12-round distance with repeated lead left jabs and straight right hands to the head. Mayweather also connected with right uppercuts.
And, despite his supposedly advanced boxing age, Mayweather (45-0) proved his quickness not only helps score points but adeptly slip shots.
Alvarez (42-1-1) enjoyed a 15-pound advantage after both fighters rehydrated following Friday’s official weigh-in. Moreover, Mayweather is not a common participant in super-welterweight fights — Saturday’s bout only the third in his career above 147 pounds.
But Alvarez, who weighed 165 pounds Saturday, could not wear down Mayweather. He found few openings and scored with left jabs but couldn’t penetrate Mayweather’s defense sufficiently for possible fight-turning power shots.
“He is a very fast fighter,” Alvarez said. “His punches are not powerful, but score points. That makes him a faster fighter. I was following my game plan. Simply, he did other things and didn’t allow me to execute my game plan. We just could not respond to it.
The outlier that somehow saw a different fight was C.J. Ross — one of the three judges who worked Saturday’s bout. Judges Carl Metcalfe and Dave Moretti scored the bout for Mayweather, 117-111 and 116-112, respectively. But Ross submitted an astonishing 114-114 scorecard.
Ross is no stranger to fight-scoring controversy. She was one of the two judges who scored a win for Timothy Bradley in his disputed decision against Manny Pacquiao last year.
“The best commission in the world is the Nevada commission, so I just leave it in the hands of the Nevada commission,” Mayweather said. “If they felt that was the person that should be out there judging fights then it is what it is. Things happen.”
Mayweather didn’t reveal his next fight options, but expects to return next May. He intends to honor the final four fights remaining on a six-fight deal with Showtime through next two years.
The attractive name that immediately emerged as a possible Mayweather opponent was 140-pound champion Danny Garcia. Fighting on the bout that preceded Mayweather-Alvarez on Saturday’s pay-per-view telecast, Garcia won an impressive unanimous decision against knockout-punching threat Lucas Matthysse.
Garcia proved he is worthy of attention on pound-for-pound best fighters’ lists after his win against Matthysse.
An underdog, despite being a multiple sanctioning body defending champion, Garcia (27-0) frustrated Matthysse (34-3) with solid boxing skills.
Garcia built a lead after his combinations caused deep swelling around Matthysse’s right eye in the seventh round.
Garcia solidified the win when he floored Matthysse, one of boxing’s most feared punchers, with a three-punch combination in the 11th round for the fight’s only knockdown.
Garcia retained his WBA and WBC super-lightweight titles.