SAN DIEGO, September 14, 2013 – The biggest challenge for boxer Floyd Mayweather at this point of his career: living up to expectations.
It’s not enough for Mayweather to win; to silence his critics, he needs to do so in a decisive manner. No matter how good his defensive skills, some fans want to see a fighter bring the action.
Saturday’s fight against rising young star Canelo Alvarez lived up to its pre-fight hype. While the majority decision in Mayweather’s favor over Alvarez wasn’t a great surprise, it was the way Mayweather prevailed that provided the thrills.
Mayweather (45-0, 26 KOs) is known for avoiding punches and smart tactics in the ring, with his accurate connect percentage sometimes a distance third on his skill set list. Mayweather takes criticism for doing just enough to win without engaging his opponent more than necessary.
In this bout against Alvarez (42-1-1, 30 KOs) Mayweather was the fighter moving forward for much of the fight. He was more than willing to engage Alvarez, to the delight of the capacity crowd at the MGM Grand Arena, most of whom were Canelo fans. After the first few rounds, Mayweather confirmed Alvarez didn’t have the punching power combined with the accuracy he would need to do damage, and was wiling to stand in closer and trade shots, often starting exchanges himself.
Alvarez came into the ring 15 pounds heavier than Mayweather at the opening bell, but he didn’t take advantage of it. He should have brawled Mayweather. Instead, he tried to box him. Alvarez didn’t embarrass himself, but he was not a match for Mayweather’s speed and accuracy.
The punch stat numbers tell the story. Mayweather connected on 46% of his punches thrown, 232 out of 505. Alvarez threw nearly the same number but connected on barely half as many punches, 117 of 526 for a 22 percent connect rate. In all his previous fights, Alvarez’ connect percentage was 42 percent. This is the defensive genius of Mayweather, combined with wickedly accurate punching.
Mayweather landed 134 out of 330 jabs, an amazing 42%. Alvarez couldn’t make the jab work, landing only 44 of 294 or 15 percent. The power punching differential was 53% for Mayweather, 31% for Alvarez.
The real headscratcher was the outcome; specifically the crazy town scorecard of judge C.J. Ross, who scored the Mayweather win a draw, 114-114. She also thought Timothy Bradley beat Manny Pacquiao. Time to retire before you’re run out of town on a rail, Judge Ross. Judge Dave Moretti scored it 116-112, and Craig Metcalfe had it 117-111, both for Mayweather. When Mayweather was asked about this outcome, and he shrugged it off.
Mayweather gave a great deal of respect to Alvarez. At the post fight news conference, Alvarez applauded Mayweather when he entered the room, and the pair embraced. “I want to thank this young champion because he will carry the torch. Canelo’s got everything it takes to be a legend in the sport,” said Mayweather. Alvarez said of Mayweather “He’s very fast and very accurate, he took me out of my game plan … I just couldn’t catch him, it was simple as that.” Alvarez said none of Mayweather’s punches really hurt him.
Although it was Alvarez’ first loss, it is not a fatal blow to his career. He did not embarrass himself. He fought well and fought hard. He is only 23, and he will learn a tremendous amount from facing a genius in the ring like Floyd Mayweather. By the time Alvarez reaches his prime several years down the road, this loss will fade into the distance.
Now the questions are all about future opponents for Mayweather and Alvarez. There is no obvious opponent for either, so speculation can run rampant. Many people still hope for a Mayweather vs. Pacquiao matchup, but Mayweather said he’s going to go on vacation and he’s not thinking about Pacquiao. Many would like to see him fight Argentina’s Sergio Martinez, who says he can come down in weight to fight Mayweather. Danny Garcia says he’s moving up to the 147 pound weight class, but Mayweather won’t be his first opponent in a new weight class. Whoever is is, Mayweather plans to fight again in May 2014.
As for Alvarez, he will get a tune-up fight, perhaps someone like Carlos Molina, who won earlier in the evenng in a lackluster decision over Ishe Smith. Forget calls for Alvarez to fight middleweight punching powerhouse like Gennady Golovkin, that’s for sure. Taking a punch from Mayweather cannot compare to being dropped by the likes of Triple G, the hardest-hitting man in boxing.
Alvarez is not the great boxing champion of today; that title belongs to Mayweather. But he is the champion of the future, and his loss today changed nothing about his path in the sport of boxing.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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