LAS VEGAS – Canelo Alvarez proved to be easy money for Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather turned one of the richest fights of all time into a seemingly routine $41.5 million payday Saturday night, dominating Alvarez from the opening bell and winning a majority decision in a masterful performance.
Fighting off his shortest layoff in years, Las Vegas resident Mayweather (45-0) was sharp, efficient and sometimes brutal in dismantling an unbeaten fighter who was bigger and was supposed to punch harder. Mayweather frustrated Alvarez (42-1-1) early and pounded him with big right hands in the middle rounds at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Mayweather was favored 117-111 and 116-112 on two ringside scorecards while a third judge had the fight 114-114.
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“I just listened to my corner, listened to my dad,” Mayweather said. “My dad had a brilliant game plan, and I went out there and got the job done.”
Mayweather, 36, added another piece of the junior-middleweight title to his collection in a bout fought at a 152-pound limit. Alvarez, a 23-year-old from Mexico, weighed in at that weight, but was an unofficial 165 pounds when he got into the ring while Mayweather, who weighed in at 150½ pounds, was an unofficial 150.
Mayweather’s speed was a major factor. “Money” was able to land straight rights and left jabs, then get out of the way before Alvarez was able to respond.
Alvarez was supposed to be Mayweather’s greatest challenge and he tried to force the action. Like others, though, he couldn’t solve the puzzle that is Mayweather and spent much of his night punching at an opponent who had moved away.
“I didn’t know how to get him; it’s extremely simple,” said Alvarez, who is guaranteed of making at least $5 million. “He’s a great fighter, very intelligent. The frustration was getting in there, but he’s a great fighter. We tried to catch him.”
The fight had a live gate of $20 million and is likely to generate at least another $100 million in pay-per-view revenue. It was on free TV in Mexico, and some estimates were that 70 million people would watch.