There is now only one reason left to watch Floyd Mayweather, Jr. box.
You do not watch in expectation of seeing a competitive fight because it has been so long since he’s been in one you have to go back to Jose Luis Castillo 11 years ago to find it. You do not watch in expectation of him being beaten because he has long ago made clear that for the time being at least the only people who could do that are dishonest or incompetent judges at ringside, or himself.
So why do you continue to watch after the way he undressed and embarrassed previously undefeated junior middleweight champion Saul “Canelo’’ Alvarez Saturday night at the sold out MGM Grand Garden Arena?
You watch for the same reason you would watch Yo Yo Ma play the cello or Mikhail Baryshnikov dance or Miles Davis launch into a jazz rift so bizarre you have no idea what he is trying to do, you only know no one else could do it.
You watch to see a genius at work.
“Boxing is like jazz,’’ former heavyweight champion George Foreman said recently. “The better it is the less you understand it.’’
For many that is the case with Mayweather, who won the most lopsided majority decision in boxing history Saturday night by mystifying and mastering young Alvarez and apparently putting to sleep a myopic judge named C.J. Ross, who somehow concluded she had seen a draw when most everyone else with a view of the fight and eyes to see it felt he’d lost no more than two rounds and very likely none.
Yet Mayweather’s brilliance is so blinding it can lead people to argue they are not seeing what they just saw. They argue he can’t punch or that he is too defensive or is a boringly safety first practitioner of a sport that rewards aggression and violence.
They say he ducked this guy or that guy or is more of a master matchmaker than a master artisan plying the most difficult and dangerous of trades.
Those who say these things are as silly sounding as the few who gave Canelo Alvarez a chance to defeat Floyd Mayweather, Jr. in one of the most overhyped sparring sessions in boxing history. Mayweather was paid a guaranteed $41.5 million for the fight, $500,000 of which he gave back to purchase tickets himself, because he is the face of his sport and the finest fighter of his era. The fight attracted the largest live gate in Las Vegas history, $20,003,150, and sold over 23,000 more closed circuit seats in Las Vegas at $100 each. The pay-per-view numbers are as yet unknown and while they seem unlikely to approach the all-timer record set by Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya in 2007 of 2,552,566 they may yet well eclipse the all-time pay-per-view gross of an estimated $137.5 million also set in that fight because the average pay-per-view charge was $15 more than in 2007.
If all those people watched for the chance to get a glimpse of a great artist working on canvas they got their money’s worth. If they watched in search of a boxing match, they did not because Canelo Alvarez proved to be far more Hype than Hit Man, far more victim than the embodiment of viciousness. That is not the master’s fault. That is the student’s and those who bought into a story line without looking at the resumes behind it.
“Canelo brought a checkerboard to a chess match,’’ said Bernard Hopkins, the 48-year-old reigning light heavyweight champion not long after Mayweather had baffled, bemused and battered his 23-year-old challenger for 12 lopsided rounds to lay claim to the unified junior middleweight title and put it alongside the welterweight one he already held. “Here’s the difference, that was a Ph.d vs. a GED.’’
Hopkins’ analysis could not have been more correct. By now you have seen or heard of the one-sided nature of the fight. You are aware Alvarez (42-1-1, 30 KO) came nowhere near challenging Mayweather (45-0, 26 KO) or even hitting him harshly and have come to grips with the fact those like myself who tried to warn you that this kid had no idea what he had gotten himself into and no ability to do anything about it but take a licking until his face began to turn red from embarrassment and purple from bruising were telling the truth.
So why watch next May when Mayweather said he would next be back in the ring on what he termed “Cinco de Mayo-weather,’’ the traditional Mexican holiday weekend that hosts in Las Vegas one of the biggest pay-per-view shows of the year?
The reason is the same reason we watch excellence of any sort. It is the reason we revere mastery of any art form be it blowing glass or landing blows. You watch because to not watch is to deny yourself a moment that will not come along very often in a lifetime.
Watching Floyd Mayweather move inside a boxing ring is a joy. Watching the mental mastery he holds over space and distance and timing is like watching Michelangelo take a piece of stone and turn it into David, the greatest statue ever made.
Was it worth $74.95 Saturday night to see him in the ring against Canelo Alvarez? Well, that depends on what you went for.
If it was to see a fight you went to the wrong place as Mayweather warned you earlier in the week when upon his arrival at the MGM Grand he said ““This is not a fight. This is what we call an event.’’
That’s what it was so if you were expecting a fight you should have shut off your television after Danny Garcia again proved he is more than people say he is by dismantling with his mind as well as his right hand Lucas Matthysse. But if you went there for a higher calling, if you tuned in to watch a Grand Chess Master work you were well served.
What is the price of seeing greatness even if only for an hour? It’s not priceless but it’s well worth $74.95.
Man I bought into the hype...I was hearing the Rocky theme,and getting inspired by side-show promotion. I had it all wrong...I kept hoping it would turn into the Jersey Joe Walcott vs Marciano classic where tenacity and pressure might create the perfect opening...Makes me appreciate Marciano more, Alvarez less...Bring on that Siberian guy Prodoloukov (don't know the spelling), that rattled Bradley, and is trained by Freddy Roach...He knows what he'd have to do....
A lot of pre-fight stuff in the media described Canelo as a 'pressure fighter' and I remember thinking, he isn't really. Canelo likes to box and raise the tempo in spots but he ain't gonna pressure you all night. Feet too slow, doesn't fight at a quick enough tempo - barely squeaked by outboxing Trout and outclassed by PBF. It needs a pressure fighter of the calibre of Duran in Montreal to trouble Floyd. A long-armed, quick, boxer-puncher in Hearns mode could trouble him. Pacquaio could win rounds. Style-wise, I maintain Amir Khan has the best shot at outboxing PBF and winning seven rounds. However, his chin won't hold up and PBF will stop him before scorecards are required. Despite that I'd rather see Khan v PBF than Garcia, Alexander, Trout, Cotto, etc. There are no pressure fighters up to the job and Khan as a pure boxer has a shot at troubling PBF.
It was an impressive performance by Mayweather, given the fact that he was taking on a bigger, stronger, and younger opponent. However, just like most Mayweather performances (probably since the Corrales fight), there is a hint of disappointment in that it left me a wanting a bit more. I realize he is risk-averse by nature, but I would love to see him put his foot on the accelerator and actually try for a stoppage. To me, he sat on his lead the last three rounds (I scored them all for Alvarez), leading me to score the fight 116-113. Maybe I'm asking for too much. Mayweather has the ability to be more offensively-oriented, but he's content to throw one or two punches at a time. While I can certainly appreciate his talent and his ring IQ, for me he's not particularly entertaining to watch. There is no question that he's the best fighter of his era, and I don't see anyone on the horizon that can beat him (unless he steps up and fights one of the middleweight titlists, which he most certainly will not). A fight against Lara or Trout might be interesting, but neither of those guys would be an effective pay-per-view B-side. I'd even settle for seeing him take on James Kirkland at 154, if Kirkland could ever get his life together. In my opinion, given the glaring holes in his resume during his prime (avoiding Casamayor, Freitas, and Steve Johnson at 135, bypassing Kostya Tszyu at 140, and sidestepping Williams, Margarito, Pacquiao, and prime Cotto at 147), the only way he can meaningfully enhance his legacy is to take on a middleweight beltholder. I realize this is probably not a popular opinion, and all the Mayweather fans will call me a "hater" (such a moronic term) because I don't bow down at his feet, but so be it.
i agree Matthew. i am a huge fan of floyd, but i see the same things you do. i want more, he does coast and he is a safety first fighter...do yourself a favor, dont go back and watch the corrales fight, it will have you wanting more and we will never get that floyd again..
i rewatched some of the fight and canelo did do a few things well, when he went to the body he was scoring and hitting floyd pretty well, but floyd understands the game and everytime canelo scored he came back and scored himself with cleaner punches...
who is there left to fight which could garner the pay day floyd wants?
maybe khan in england if khan can win impressively...
no one else besides pac would really have a public interest....
unless floyd moves up to fight a mw for a belt, which the interest would be historic....that would see the ppv
A fight in England against Khan would bring a big payday and probably do good PPV numbers, but us hardcore fans know that fight would be a mismatch. On one hand, Mayweather might actually score a kayo. Your point is correct; he really has few big-money options at 147 or 154. His most significant move would be to fight a middleweight beltholder, but we know he won't do it.