MANILA, Philippines - It’s like the story of the villainous Queen asking “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest one of all?” and she can’t get over Snow White. In the quiet confines of his insecure mind, Floyd (Money) Mayweather knows he’ll never gain the respect of the boxing cognoscenti unless he bowls over Manny Pacquiao.
Saul Alvarez was supposed to be Mayweather’s toughest opponent since Oscar de la Hoya in 2007. Never mind if De la Hoya had previously lost to Tito Trinidad, Sugar Shane Mosley twice and Bernard Hopkins. At least, Alvarez was unbeaten and conjured visions of a man 13 years younger overpowering an “oldtimer.”
Alvarez was only six years old when Mayweather turned pro in 1996. When the Mexican redhead made his pro debut in 2005, Mayweather had already compiled a 34-0 record. While Mayweather slowed down his engine to extend his boxing career over the last six years, Alvarez raced against time to catch up. Unfortunately, Alvarez did it at the expense of tomato cans, patsies and journeymen with Austin Trout probably his most credible victim last April. Before their fight in Las Vegas last Saturday, Alvarez was 42-0-1 compared to Mayweather’s 44-0. Alvarez crammed 43 fights within eight years. Mayweather logged 44 in 17.
With Mayweather ignoring Pacquiao and calling the Filipino a has-been, Money can’t seem to break out of Manny’s shadow. Even as Pacquiao has lost back-to-back to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez, fans are still intrigued by the possibility of an ultimate showdown with Mayweather. If Pacquiao beats Brandon Rios decisively in Macau on Nov. 24, that possibility may become inevitable.
There doesn’t seem to be anyone in the welterweight horizon or in any division with the ability to draw an audience as large as Pacquiao outside of Mayweather. WBA/WBC lightwelterweight champion Danny Garcia, who outpointed Lucas Matthysse in the Mayweather-Alvarez undercard, is being groomed to be Mayweather’s next opponent. But the 25-year-old Philadelphian won’t stand a chance against Mayweather. He knocked out a faded Erik Morales and also halted Amir Khan but neither is as formidable as Pacquiao.
Steve Busfield of The Guardian brought up the Pacquiao comparison right after the Alvarez loss. “Pacquiao still has beaten the better and riskier opponents and has the more impressive historical marks,” wrote Busfield. “In 2010, Pacquiao was better by two standards – financially and merit-wise.” That was the year when Mayweather beat Mosley and Pacquiao disposed of Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito before mammoth crowds at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Of course, it’s now 2013 and Mayweather is still undefeated while Pacquiao is in the crossroads of a long career with his future as a fighter on the line against Rios.
Mayweather was guaranteed $41.5 million and Alvarez $5 million for their fight. But if the pay-per-view upside amounts to $100 million, Mayweather will get a bonus of about $58 million and Alvarez an extra $7 million. Mayweather’s adviser Leonard Ellerbe said he expects the pay-per-view hits to eclipse the 2.4 million mark set by the Mayweather-De la Hoya bout which grossed about $136 million. If the pay-per-view subscriptions went over the roof and registered three million, the gross will be about $210 million.
Mayweather, 36, was dominant against Alvarez. He insisted on a catchweight of 152 even if Alvarez defended his 154-pound championship. A natural welterweight, Mayweather had no difficulty at the scales and did 150 1/2 at the weigh-in last Friday. He didn’t gorge or rehydrate and in fact, weighed 146 the morning of the fight. Mayweather entered the ring at 150 flat. Alvarez, on the other hand, made 152 on the dot but climbed onto the ring at 165 – compromising his speed and reflexes with the overnight body baggage.
When the fight started, it was clear Mayweather was in a different class. Alvarez could hardly land two punches at a time and was reduced to flailing at a ghost. He tried to box Mayweather but the tactic went for naught. You don’t beat Mayweather at his own game. Alvarez adjusted by charging in and crowding Mayweather. The Mexican, however, just couldn’t find the range. He threw 21 more punches than Mayweather but connected on only 117 to Money’s 232. Mayweather wasn’t just an elusive target, he was also a highly accurate marksman.
In the three judges scorecards, Mayweather won five common rounds – four, five, six and seven. Craig Metcalfe gave Alvarez only three rounds and Dave Moretti four. Surprisingly, Cynthia J. Ross awarded Alvarez six rounds and scored it a draw, 114-all. Mayweather won by a majority decision even as Alvarez swept only one round, the 12th, on the judges scorecards. Ross was the same judge who saw it for Bradley, 115-113, in the Pacquiao fight, for Miguel Vazquez who outpointed Filipino Mercito Gesta and Chris Avalos who decisioned Drian Francisco. Ross has gone against the last three Filipinos whose fights she scored.
While Mayweather keeps winning, he may be losing fans. He’s not as exciting as he used to be. Money doesn’t take risks anymore, preferring to play it safely. He does what it takes to win but unfortunately, fans want more out of the world’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter. Mayweather has won five of his last six outings by decision and the only exception was his sucker-punch knockout over Victor Ortiz. Mayweather isn’t likely to be less boring in the future as he gets older. There’s only one man who can bring fireworks back to a Mayweather fight and he’s battling Rios in Macau on Nov. 24.