Following a defiant seventh-round knockout of previously unbeaten Jose Pedraza (22-1, 12...
The Master is Still King
By Tom Donelson
When Alvarez attempted to push the action, the master simply played matador and repeatedly popped Alvarez with jabs. Most of the fight had a similar pattern with Mayweather moving and maneuvering himself in position to counter whereas Alvarez never truly getting off. The only dramatic movement was in the tenth round when Alvarez cracked a solid right but nothing happened as Mayweather simply moved away and continued to pepper Alvarez. This fight won’t be put in the time capsule but then Mayweather usually aren’t put in time capsules since they are often one sided affairs. Mayweather is a defensive wizard as he simply rolled his shoulders and slips punches as Alvarez never truly could punish him.
Mayweather defensive ability has allowed him to avoid the punishment that often shorten careers and ages a fighter quicker. Another less talked about aspect of Mayweather is that he keeps himself in fighting shape year around. Many fighters often bounce up in weight in between fights. Riddick Bowe was notorious for putting on excessive weight in between bouts and Chris Arreola has had his problem with weight in between bouts but Mayweather is conditioned athlete who rarely has to lose massive weight in between fights and as Showtime noted in the bout, this is the first year since 2007 that he actually fought more than one bout. Normally, this would work against a fighter but Mayweather conditioning throughout the year has made it easier to prepare for fights and this has spared his body pounding, allowing him to delay significant erosion of talent.
As for the fight, it will go down as a majority decision as one judge had it a draw but in reality, it would have been hard to reward Alvarez two rounds and AP had the scorecard the same as I did, 119-109. Judges do have bad day but the idea this fight was a draw stretches one imagination. As compubox numbers showed, Mayweather connected on twice as many punches and in most rounds, Mayweather advantages were pronounced. One judge had it 9 to 3 in Mayweather which is reasonable but even the other judge having 8 to 4 is stretching it since it would have been hard to find four rounds that Alvarez won and Alvarez knew he lost after the fight.
I am now convince, Danny Garcia is an elite fighter. Lucas Matthysse was the heavy favorite to win but Garcia used his tactical skills to punish Matthysse. Garcia took Matthysse best shots and this was shown in the fourth and fifth round when Matthysse started to pound Garcia but starting in the sixth through the tenth round, it was all Garcia. Garcia unleashed sharp combinations and then smothered Matthysse but occasionally grabbing. Starting in the sixth, Matthysse eye started to swell and by the crucial eleventh round, Matthysse right eye was swollen nearly shut but it didn’t stop him from nailing Garcia with a right hand that sent Garcia’s mouthpiece flying. Garcia retreated due to Matthysse attack but halfway through the round, Garcia hooked Mattysse and forced Matthysse the rope. Garcia peppered Matthysse with a one-two combination which sent Matthysse down and while some doubted if this was a true knockdown, Matthysse did not protest. The knock down changed a round in which Matthysse was winning but after the knockdown; it was all Garcia.
In the final round Matthysse continued to pursue and for his trouble, he got nailed with a low blow. The referee deducted a point from Garcia and this led to a final twenty second all out brawl with both fighters going toe to toe.
Three things came from this fight. Alvarez needs to learn to cut off the ring and use his jab to make better use of his power. The second thing is that Garcia is for real and one of Boxing’s stars. Look for Garcia to be part of the Mayweather list of opponents. The third and final thing is that Mayweather is still the master and his skills have not truly eroded or eroded enough to be noticeable in the ring.
One final item and that is what boxing could be. My local Buffalo Wild Wings in the past have featured selected MMA UFC events but this past weekend, they had the Mayweather-Alvarez fight, the first time they actually featured a boxing PPV. (I will add it was free so an extra bonus.) The place was packed and good libation available but what was really striking the fan reactions. They cheered and booed as if they were at the event itself but it brought a raw emotion that boxing can bring out at its best. For the past year, boxing has had great fights but there are big fights left including Pacquiao-Rios schedule slugfest. There was a time that boxing was one of the big sports where fans spent their weekends keeping tabs on big fights locally as well as nationally. It takes big events like Mayweather-Alvarez to remind us what boxing should be. In the case of Mayweather, we are witnessing one of the greats who is presently not fully appreciated by many pundits and fans alike.