LAS VEGAS -- Floyd Mayweather Jr. produced another extraordinary boxing clinic at the MGM Grand on Saturday night, dominating Canelo Alvarez to remain undefeated. And in the co-main event, Danny Garcia rallied from a shaky start to overcome Lucas Matthysse. Here are five things we learned from Saturday's action:
1. It's all about the fundamentals.
At 20 years of age, Floyd Mayweather was a blur of activity, a succession of fast combinations that overwhelmed the likes of Genaro Hernandez and Angel Manfredy. At 36, Mayweather doesn't throw the same flurries, and doesn't move across the ring with quite the same rapidity, but he remains as elusive as ever, as hard to hit as ever, as dominant as ever, and as seemingly without peer as ever. That he is able to do so at an age when many other formerly great champions, such as Roy Jones Jr. and Oscar De La Hoya, had faded or retired can be credited to, as much as anything, fundamentals. In addition to his immense physical talents, he has a mastery of his craft that few can even come close to matching, a winning combination that is magnified by his exceptionally high work level and dedication to training. Added together, they create a puzzle that not one of his peers seems able to crack.
2. Fights aren't fought on paper.
The blueprint for how to beat Mayweather generally involves some combination of jabbing him, working him to the body and trapping him against the ropes. At various times, Alvarez did all of those things, and yet not only did he fail to make an impression, but each one of his supposedly successful tactics only opened him up to pain. When he jabbed, Mayweather jabbed him back, faster and more effectively. When he moved to the body, Mayweather flashed counter rights over the top. When Canelo backed him into the ropes, Mayweather twisted and turned, contorting his body until he was gone and, as if appearing from nowhere, in Canelo's grill and turning defense into offense, suddenly becoming the one who was backing his opponent to the ropes. It's one thing to have the right fight plan. It's another thing entirely to execute it against a master like Mayweather.
3. So now we're back to asking who's next.
Mayweather's previous outing against Robert Guerrero was not, by Mayweather's recent standards, an immense success. Part of that was because Mayweather showed no interest in promoting it; part of it also was, perhaps, that not enough people took Guerrero sufficiently seriously as a challenger. By contrast, the fight with Alvarez was exceptionally well-promoted and created a tremendous buzz. There's a real chance it will beat all manner of pay-per-view records, not least due to the fact that Alvarez brought with him an enormous fan base and the belief among many that he posed the toughest remaining test for Mayweather. That Floyd, in fact, toyed with Canelo so comprehensively and effortlessly is an immense testament to his abilities as a fighter, but it will also likely pose real challenges to him as a promoter. He insists he has four fights remaining before he retires. Absent any appreciable decline in his skills and abilities, and given the realities of the HBO/Top Rank-Showtime/Golden Boy feud, what contender remains that can reasonably claim to have a shot to beat Mayweather and persuade people to part with their hard-earned money?
4. Doubt Danny no more.
Angel Garcia was a roiling tempest of barely suppressed fury all week. And if that seems to define his public persona at the best of times, his anger was exacerbated by his sense that his son, Danny, was being underrated and disrespected. He hated the fact that Lucas Matthysse, and not Danny, graced the cover of Ring Magazine. He hated the fact that so many professional prognosticators (including this one) picked his son not just to lose, but to lose by emphatic knockout. He asked repeatedly what it would take for Danny to receive his just due and respect. What it took was a gutty, come-from-behind victory over Matthysse, in a bout filled with changes of momentum, in which Garcia demonstrated once again the grit for which he is known, as well as an impressive level of skill. His reward is likely to be a May bout against Mayweather -- for which he will again be the heavy, heavy underdog.
5. It must be said: Boxing isn't dead.
Notwithstanding the ongoing efforts of boxing to shoot itself in the foot -- such as the scorecards for the main event, which were too close and, in the case of the one submitted by C.J. Ross, positively putrid and surely ensuring that she should never again judge a fight -- it retains a pull on the public when the right fights involving the right fighters get made at the right time. This weekend's card was a perfect indicator of that. The buzz in Las Vegas was as electric as any bout in Sin City in the past 15 years, and the atmosphere in the arena was intense. There remains nothing quite like the atmosphere at a big fight, and despite the ongoing forecasts of the sport's demise, it will remain so forever.