LAS VEGAS-Floyd “Money” Mayweather made his money, shut down the large Mexican crowd, and also stymied Mexican hero Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s best efforts, winning by majority decision on Saturday.
Mayweather (45-0, 26 Kos) looked a little slower and tired a little sooner, but once again he put another notch on his belt by adding Alvarez’ (42-1-1, 30 Kos) WBC junior middleweight title to his growing resume. A crowd of 16,746 showed up at the MGM Garden Arena and witnessed another Mayweather party.
It wasn’t one-sided but Alvarez’s youth had something to do with that.
Feints and movement dictated the first round as Mayweather initiated contact with some jabs through Alvarez’s guard. A right by Mayweather was countered with a left hook from the Mexican fighter. But Mayweather had landed a few more punches in round one in a test for both boxers who seemed tight.
“If my dad said I was tight, he was right,” said Mayweather, 36, who was told that his father-trainer Floyd Sr. said his son was not up to par.
Mayweather got closer in round two which allowed Alvarez to land some shots to the hip. Then came the Mayweather jabs and a quick combo. Alvarez landed a solid jab too that connected soundly.
Alvarez had a pretty good round in the third especially after Mayweather seemed to wake him up with a crisp one-two combination. Jabs from Alvarez landed and a three-punch combination from the redhead sparked the crowd.
Mayweather opened up the arsenal in the fourth and Alvarez followed his path. Both swung away but it was the Las Vegas speedster that landed the more crisp blows.
Alvarez had a good fifth round with some accurate left hooks. Mayweather attempted to unleash some combos but ran into a left hook that forced him to back off. Some rights by Mayweather landed but the left hooks were the best blows of the round.
Both fighters seemed angry in round six and it showed. Left hook was met with left hook and uppercuts flowed from both fighters. Mayweather was slightly more accurate especially with the right hands.
After Mayweather landed consecutive right hands in round seven, he seemed to sense a momentum change and began to corner Alvarez. But the Mexican waited patiently and dropped two right hands on Mayweather. Still, he lost the round but seemed to gather respect from Mayweather.
In the eighth round Mayweather cut loose with some vicious combinations. Alvarez landed his best combo, a right hand and left hook, but Mayweather repeatedly fired combinations that snapped the sweat off of Alvarez’s head.
Mayweather took round nine off and slowed his punch output. Alvarez landed a few more punches in a close round and seemed to have the punch advantage though he did eat a solid right cross from Mayweather.
Jabs and more jabs snapped from Mayweather in round 10 as Alvarez also withstood a fierce four-punch combination. Alvarez tried to rally with a six-punch combination but only one punch seemed to land as the crowd roared. Mayweather went back to the jab and moved at his own leisure.
Mayweather took the 11th round off a bit and allowed Alvarez to land some combinations though nothing penetrated enough to hurt the Las Vegas speedster. In the final round, Mayweather used jabs and movement to skirt around Alvarez who put his hands down to signal for Mayweather to fight, not run. Mayweather obliged but not enough to risk a knockout loss. Jabs shot out from Mayweather until the final bell.
“He’s a young strong champion,” said Mayweather. “Mexico has some great champions throughout the years.”
One judge, CJ Ross, scored it a draw 114-114. Judge Dave Moretti had it 116-112, Craig Metcalfe had it 117-111 for Mayweather.
Alvarez analyzed his first loss as a pro.
“He’s very intelligent. He’s very elusive. I couldn’t catch him,” said Alvarez, 23. “He has a lot of experience. He’s simply a great fighter.”
Danny Garcia Beats Matthysse
Most of the boxing world knew that junior welterweight world champion Danny Garcia (27-0, 16 Kos) could punch with the best. This time he was facing the best and most feared puncher in Argentina’s Luca Matthysse (34-3, 32 Kos). But few realized that both could withstand a big blow with the best of them as Garcia won by decision.
Matthysse was attempting his third world title bid and thought the charm might come against Philadelphia’s Garcia.
In the first half of the fight the Argentine looked to have an advantage as he pounded away with four-punch combinations. Then a clash of heads resulted in a swelling, and Garcia added to that with a left hook and soon the eye closed nearly shut in round seven.
Everything changed and Garcia soon forged ahead, especially after his father and trainer Angel Garcia slapped him during the rest period.
Garcia took advantage of a more careful Matthysse and began to open up with the fast combinations. Matthysse was wary of Garcia’s power after withstanding several left hooks and Garcia opened up with even more aggression.
“Matthysse is a great warrior. He kept coming at me,” said Garcia, 25.
When Matthysse got entangled in the ropes, Garcia took advantage and knocked down the Argentine with a one-two in round 11.
“I’m a champion of the world, I’m not afraid of nobody,” Garcia said. “If you can make it out of Philadephia, you can make it out of anywhere.”
The judges scored it for Garcia 115-11 and 114-112 twice.
Matthysse was gracious in defeat.
“He’s a great champion,” said Matthysse. “Unfortunately I had only one eye for half of the fight.”
Chicago boxer Carlos Molina ( 22-5-2, 6 Kos) grabbed the IBF junior middleweight title from Ishe Smith (25-6, 11 Kos) who was making his first title defense. Molina was the more aggressive fighter though both fighters rarely landed blows. Their counter-punching style was not conducive to excitement. One judge scored it 116-112 for Smith but two saw it 117-111 and 116-112 for Molina.
“I’m never happy with my performance,” said Molina, but added that he is happy winning the title. “I want the winner of tonight’s fight. It makes sense.”
Mexico’s Pablo Cano returned to the win column with a withering body attack to obtain a split decision victory over United Kingdom’s Ashley Theophane (33-6-1, 10 Kos) after 10 rounds in a welterweight bout. Cano hurt Theophane several times during the fight and took some punishment too. But there were no knockdowns after 10 rounds. Cano’s last fight was a loss to Sugar Shane Mosley.
Cuba’s Luis Arias (7-0, 3 Kos) bludgeoned James Winchester (16-9, 6 Kos) all six rounds in winning a one-side six round super middleweight contest. Arias was the faster and harder puncher but Winchester had a pretty good chin.
Las Vegas boxer Ronald Gavril (7-0, 5 Kos) used a body attack to open up firing lanes in defeating Michigan’s Shujaa El Amin (12-5, 6 Kos) by unanimous decision. All three judges scored it 79-73 for Gavril, who fights for Mayweather Promotions.
Former amateur star Chris Pearson (12-0, 9 Kos) blitzed Joshua Williams (9-6, 5 Kos) behind a stiff jab and some lightning combinations. It could have been a difficult fight, especially when you have two southpaws. But Pearson made it look easy with his pinpoint jab and left cross. Referee Russell Mora saw enough and stopped the already bloody Williams from taking more punishment at 1:14 of the first round.
Compton’s Lanell Bellows (6-0-1, 5 Kos) wasn’t rushed but when he saw an opening in Jordan Moore’s (3-1) defense he struck quickly with a right to the body and right to the head. West Virginia’s Moore did not beat the count and lost by knockout at 2:30 of the first round of the super middleweight fight.