LAS VEGAS — Floyd Mayweather Jr. put on another boxing clinic here Saturday night. The student was a young Mexican redhead named Saul Alvarez. Or Canelo, which means cinnamon.
Mayweather’s sweet science has never been sweeter.
Just to put the icing on the cake of his overwhelming victory, Mayweather danced away the final 10 seconds of the fight.
For Alvarez fans, the fear was that their 23-year-old hero would be too slow and plodding for the lightning-fast Mayweather. The fear was realized, in front of a sellout of 16,500 in the MGM Grand Garden and a worldwide audience that might have been unprecedented in numbers.
The fight will go down as wonderfully hyped, but not wonderfully fought by Alvarez, who was not, as his Golden Boy promoters hoped, ready to step up as the next great Mexican boxer.
The only upset of the night was the fact that it was ruled a majority decision. One judge, C.J. Ross, inexplicably saw the fight as even. The other two, Craig Metcalf and Dave Moretti, got it right.
Ross, incidentally, was one of the judges who had Tim Bradley beating Manny Pacquiao last Dec. 8.
Sadly for Alvarez fans, the best pre-fight summary of what would happen came from Mayweather’s father, the always-controversial Floyd Sr., who trained his son for this fight and says many things that make no sense. Not this time.
“Floyd’s faster, smarter, more experienced,” Floyd Sr., said a few days ago. “Canelo is gonna end up being Floyd’s sparring partner.”
Alvarez, the bigger man, reportedly weighed 165 at fight time in this 152 catch-weight fight. Mayweather said he fought at 146, after weighing in at 1501/2.
Alvarez said of Mayweather, “He’s very elusive, very intelligent. We were trying to catch him. That’s all.”
Mayweather’s record went to 45-0. Nobody has caught him yet.
The first three rounds were fairly predictable. Mayweather jabbed and Alvarez tried to counter, but he had trouble catching him. In the third Mayweather landed two big rights, but they didn’t seem to affect the bigger, stronger Alvarez.
Those rounds had to be tough scoring for the judges, but if speed and defensive skill were factors, Mayweather led, 3-0.
The fourth round got a little more active, and a little uglier. Alvarez connected with his best punch yet, to Mayweather’s groin. He got a long lecture from referee Kenny Bayless. Mayweather landed two quick rights later in the round and that might have been enough to win the round.
Alvarez showed toughness and his fans rooted hard, cheering lustily over every near miss. To that point, there were lots of them.
By the seventh, Mayweather was in complete control.
He was on Floyd cruise, darting in at will, connecting on four or five jabs at a time. At one point, he had Alvarez in the corner for 30 seconds and just slapped away, mostly at will.
By the time they finally got around to fighting, after 9:30 Pacific time (12:30 a.m. in the East), the crowd was properly fired up.
Danny Garcia of Philadelphia had survived a war with Lucas Matthysse of Argentina to win a unanimous decision in the highly touted semi-main event.
Matthysse suffered a bad cut under his right eye earlier, but had remained game and had even knocked out Garcia’s mouth guard in the 11th round. But Garcia scored the only knockdown of the fight later in the round and fought gamely throughout against an aggressive Matthysse to win.
The crowd, now on its feet, got further stimulation, or something, from the Mayweather walk introduction, which was done by a rapper intoning “money-team, money-team” about 50 times as the fighter walked toward the ring.
Alvarez’s introduction in the ring had the seemingly pro-Mexican crowd on its feet and rocking.
But it was Mayweather who rolled, again.