Say what you want to say about Floyd Mayweather Jr and his obnoxious behavior outside the ring prior to his defense of his WBC welterweight title Saturday evening (Sunday morning) at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas. One however has to grudgingly admit that the ex-con showed that he still has plenty of what it takes to stay at the top of his game in his total domination of challenger Robert Guerrero. What kept the low-key and humble Guerrero on his feet despite Mayweatherâ€™s steady stream of power punches was the formerâ€™s superb condition and solid chin.
Mayweather engaged Guerrero often and long enough to entertain the live audience and millions more who watched the much-anticipated fight on pay-per-view (PPV), thus avoiding the boredom created by Rigodon Rigondeaux in his victory over Nonito Donaire.
With the victory, Mayweather improved his record to 44-0 and started on the path towards fulfilling a six-fight, 30-month contract with Showtime and maintaining his status as sports highest paid athlete.
With that kind of a deal with the PPV outfit, Mayweather will be fighting twice a year over the two and a half years covered by the contract. The deal is a marked departure from Mayweatherâ€™s previous practice of fighting only once a year but will certainly fatten his already ample bank account.
If there was any doubt about the wisdom of Mayweather picking on a dangerous fighter like Guerrero to trade leather with after a year-long layoff and two months of deprived freedom in the slammer, all these were erased after the first round. We had scored the fight 119-109 giving all but one (the first round) to Mayweather while the three judges saw it identically, 117-107, for Mayweather.
After that masterful and entertaining display of boxing skills, hand speed and footwork, talk shifts to who is the next warrior whoâ€™s eyeing both the good money involved in a Mayweather fight and the distinction of bringing down one of boxingâ€™s greatest icons.
Several names have been mentioned and, of course, many have said that theyâ€™re after Mayweather and are excited at the prospect of being in the same ring with him.
Saul Alvarez, popularly known as Canelo (the nickname given to Saul from the Spanish word â€œCanelaâ€ which means cinnamon in reference to his red hair), is one of those mentioned as a possible opponent of Mayweather. Alvarez, from Guadlajara, Mexico, has already said that he wants to face Mayweather especially after he won by unanimous decision last April over Austin Trout before 40,000 fans at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Writer Paul Magno states that Alvarez said in post-fight statement, â€œHow many times do I have to say it? Mayweather is who I wantâ€.
Alvarez, who turns 23 on July 18 has a record of 43-0-1, and is the current WBC, WBA and Ring Magazine light middleweight champion. His promoter is Oscar de la Hoyaâ€™s Golden Boy Promotions which could make the Mayweather fight easier to put together since De la Hoya and Mayweather can and have worked together.
There are of course many facets to the possible match-up between Alvarez and Mayweather. The most obvious is the age factor: Mayweather is 36 and 14 years older than the Mexican. Alvarez is a young and strong fighter who could possibly weigh up to as much as 165 to 170 pounds when he and Mayweather climb the ring to fight as super welterweights or light middleweights at 154 pounds. With 43 fights in his resume since he turned pro in October 2005, Alvarez has been active, fighting six to seven times a year, mostly in Mexico.
The age factor obviously favors Alvarez although his inexperience compared to the quality of the fighters Mayweather has faced in his 44 fights may prove to be his undoing and warrant delaying the fight by a year or two. More time and quality opposition like Trout could give Alvarez and his handlers better opportunities to correct whatever flaws he may have, although facing skillful opponents could backfire. Delaying the fight by, say two years, could have serious negative effects on fighters pushing 40, although Mayweather has not been hit often and hard enough in his illustrious career to cause any damage.
There are of course other factors to consider and we assume that all camps benefitting from these fights will consider them in what we expect to be interesting negotiations.
From our Filipino perspective, we were a very interested observer of the Abner Mares-Daniel Ponce de Leon fight for the latterâ€™s WBC featherweight title, as an undercard to Mayweather-Guerrero. Mares scored a TKO victory in the ninth round over De Leon. Mares has been mentioned as a possible opponent of Donaire who continues to be an exciting prospect despite his loss to â€œRigodonâ€ Rigondeaux. A Mares-Donaire fight will certainly be very entertaining and instructive and we hope it happens.