By Steve Kim
LAS VEGAS -- Don't let Saturday night's scorecards fool you. While officially, the bout between Floyd Mayweather, Jr., and Canelo Alvarez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas was a majority decision -- one judge, the now notorious C.J. Ross, somehow scored this fight dead even at 114-114 -- this was a dominating performance by Mayweather. Most ringside media had to be awfully generous to Alvarez even to give him a round or two.
Mayweather didn't just beat Alvarez, he gave him a lesson in boxing. While the young Mexican star was playing checkers, Mayweather was playing chess. Alvarez is a solid young prizefighter who still has an incredibly bright future, but in Mayweather, he was facing a superlative boxer, one of the best who has ever laced on gloves.
But the question has to be asked: Was he simply too dominant?
For many in the industry, the best result for Saturday night would have been, if not necessarily an upset victory for Alvarez, then at least a competitive fight. This line of thinking was that if Floyd looked the least bit vulnerable, and if Alvarez fought beyond expectations, then they would both preserve their market values, heightening the anticipation of Mayweather-Alvarez II.
With the dominant nature of Mayweather's outing, there's simply no interest in a return bout.
Given Mayweather's much-discussed, six-fight deal with CBS/Showtime, guaranteeing him over $30 million a fight, there is a premium on getting Mayweather in the ring with dance partners who can be sold to the public. While Mayweather-Canelo wasn't much of a fight, it was one hell of a promotion. It's expected to crack the two-million-buy threshold on pay-per-view, and the live gate of over $19 million set a Nevada record.
But Mayweather can't dance by himself, as shown in his May bout against Robert Guerrero. To pull in the type of numbers expected by CBS higher-ups, Showtime needs marketable B-sides. So who's out there now for Mayweather, Showtime and Golden Boy to foist upon to the public as a real challenge to a fighter, who at age 36, shows no real signs of slippage?
Maybe it's Danny Garcia, who defeated the highly regarded Lucas Matthysse on the night's semi-main attraction. "Swift," as he is called, is a pretty good, undefeated, young boxer, and he's been exposed to the public for the past few years on HBO and now Showtime. But for all of Garcia's talent and accomplishments, he's not an attraction -- certainly not on the level of Alvarez, who brought a whole country with him. Other challengers like Sergio Martinez, the middleweight champion, or Gennady Golovkin, are on the other side of the street at HBO, making those discussions non-starters.
For much of the night, Mayweather seemed to be waltzing alone out there, as he riddled Alvarez with his transcendent skills. But moving forward, does he have any other viable dance partners?
Pay-per-view success is really about star power, not the actual quality of the match-up. The general public reacts to recognizable figures, not necessarily to the quality of a particular fight. Right now, the quandary facing Showtime is that there may not be another boxer for Mayweather to fight who brings the profile of the man they just shut out and dismissed -- or the same type of profits.
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Steve Kim began covering boxing in 1996 and has been writing for Maxboxing.com since 2001. He is also a regular contributor for Boxing News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and he tweets (a lot).