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Robert Cartagena is a boxing correspondent for SFBay.ca. He graduated from SF State in 2011 with a B.A. in journalism and spent more than a year contributing monthly articles to The Hudsucker, an online magazine with a blog twist. He has a passion for sports journalism -- particularly boxing -- as well as film reviews. He also enjoys blogging and aspires to be a professional actor one day.

Mayweather vs. Canelo: ‘Money’ simply unstoppable

Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez seemed to possess the tools necessary to dethrone pound-for-pound kingpin Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. when they faced off in Las Vegas on Sept. 14 in boxing’s most anticipated event of the year.

At 23 years old, “Canelo” was a fresh face whose fast rise to the top of the 154 lb. division – which saw him win the WBC and WBA world titles – ultimately capped off his transition into a superstar. What stood out the most about this red-headed babyface from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico was his natural physique and relentless punching power – which some believed could ultimately crack Mayweather’s seemingly impenetrable armor.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. celebrates with his unified WBC and WBA super welterweight titles after defeating Saul "Canelo" Alvarez on Sept. 14 (Tom Casino/SHOWTIME).

Floyd Mayweather Jr. celebrates with his unified WBC and WBA super welterweight titles after defeating Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (Tom Casino/SHOWTIME).

Álvarez said he was born ready to tackle such a significant challenge. But at the end of their 12-round showdown, he became just another victim as Mayweather (45-0, 26 KOs) used his speed and boxing wizardry to dominate and frustrate his Mexican adversary en route to winning a surprising majority decision.

Judges Dave Moretti and Craig Metcalfe scored the bout 116-112 and 117-111, respectively, in Mayweather’s favor (I personally had Mayweather winning 118-110). But judge C.J. Ross delivered the biggest (and most shocking) surprise of the night – a scorecard of 114-114.

The fact that Ross saw the bout as a draw is just appalling because everybody who watched the fight (including me) saw that Mayweather clearly dominated the fight from the opening bell. Keep in mind, she is also one of two judges who had Timothy Bradley beating Manny Pacquiao in their controversial bout last June. Ross has since stepped down indefinitely, but the damage is irreversible. Her scorecard – along with the controversial scoring of Saturday night’s Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Brian Vera slugfest – adds yet another black eye to the sport of boxing.

Judging controversies aside, the fight played out exactly as I predicted. Mayweather controlled the bout by constantly tagging “Canelo” with his left jab and trademark straight right hand. To his credit, Álvarez (42-1-1, 30 KOs) was game for the first half of the fight. He had a very good second round, landing some rights to Mayweather’s body and catching him upstairs with a solid left hook.

For the next four rounds, Álvarez had some success backing Mayweather against the ropes and landing some shots, though the punches never phased “Money” Mayweather. There were certain moments, however, when Álvarez had Mayweather backed up and failed to either let his hands go or follow up his previous attack.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. cracks Saul “Canelo” Alvarez with a right uppercut during their WBC and WBA super welterweight title fight in Las Vegas (Tom Casino/SHOWTIME).

Throughout the second half of the fight, it was clear that “Canelo” was becoming frustrated and by the ninth round, he appeared fatigued. Mayweather, on the other hand, was still in supreme fighting condition and continued tagging his naturally bigger foe for the remainder of the bout until the final bell.

Mayweather landed 232 out of 505 punches thrown (46 percent) according to CompuBox punch stats, compared to 117 out of 526 for Álvarez. Mayweather also dominated the jabbing contest, landing 42 percent (139 out of 330) compared to only 15 percent (44 out of 294) for “Canelo.”

So after dominating the naturally bigger and stronger Álvarez, which fighter will step up and try their luck at dethroning “Money” Mayweather?

The caliber of talent between the 140 and 154 lb. divisions is stacked, but at this point in his surefire Hall-of-Fame career, it doesn’t matter who Mayweather fights next – because he is simply unstoppable.

In fact, Mayweather is such a superior ring general that the only way he may ever lose is when he decides to retire from the sport. But until that happens, unless somebody puts him to sleep with a lucky shot, I don’t see Mayweather losing anytime soon.

Unified super lightweight champion Danny Garcia is a strong puncher whose unbreakable grit ultimately led him to an impressive unanimous decision win over Argentine puncher Lucas Matthysse on the Mayweather-Canelo undercard. But Mayweather would chop him up since Garcia lacks the speed and pressure required to slow Mayweather down.

The same can be said about former 140 lb. titleholder Amir Khan, who has expressed interest in fighting Mayweather in recent years. While Khan is an exciting fighter with blistering speed, his suspect chin would ultimately play into the counterpunching Mayweather’s hand.

Reigning WBC and Ring Magazine middleweight champion Sergio Martínez was considered Mayweather’s prominent foil three years ago, but a recent string of injuries and decline in skills may ultimately put a damper in Martínez’ plans, especially as he nears age 39 this coming February.

The only real threat I may see to Mayweather’s mythical title is WBA and IBO middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin. The only issue that may prevent such a fight from coming to fruition is weight. Mayweather has never fought above 154 lbs.; so if he made the 160 lb. limit, what would remain to be seen is how he would be affected by carrying such weight. Mayweather is also a smart fighter, and one would have to consider whether or not he would be willing to take such a risk in fighting a monster like Golovkin.

While I mean no disrespect towards any of the accomplished fighters mentioned above, I am only calling it like I see it. Despite being brash and flashy (not to mention, ridiculously wealthy), Mayweather is just a one-of-a-kind fighter who continues to turn in one dominant performance after the other.

Though he was 13 years Álvarez’ elder, Mayweather didn’t look all of his 36 years as he tamed the Mexican powerhouse with ease. With four more fights remaining in his six-fight deal with Showtime/CBS, Mayweather appears to show no signs of slowing down, which means trouble for his future opponents.

Whether you love him or hate him, the fact remains: Floyd Mayweather Jr. is still the best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing. No questions asked.

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