Well fight fans, I hope everyone enjoyed the rare spectacle that is a truly epic boxing bout last night because it might be a long long while before we see its like again. Floyd Mayweather's utterly dominant but anything but dazzling win over Saul "Canelo" Alvarez left the sport with nowhere to go but down.
Pre-fight the promoters, the fight fans and the media had all collectively convinced each other and themselves that in Alvarez, the younger, bigger, stronger man, Mayweather had at last found a threat worthy of his skills. Post-fight everyone recognizes that young Canelo wasn't quite ready to face the best and might never be.
And it's painfully clear that there's no one else out there with the profile and the skill set to create comparable expectations for Mayweather's next match. As for Alvarez, he'll be back, but he'll forever be the kid who tried to box with Mayweather and learned you can't beat the best at their own game.
Bad Left Hook tells us that Mayweather will be back on May 3 of next year. Potential opponents include Danny Garcia who beat Lucas Matthysse last night and the winner of the winner of a "potential December 7 fight between Devon Alexander and Amir Khan." But let's face it, none of those options will get the buzz Mayweather vs. Alvarez had.
For his part, Mayweather tried to talk up his vanquished challenger:
"I want to commend this young, strong champion," Mayweather said. "He will carry the torch. Tonight, experience played a key role. Tonight was just my night."
When asked if Alvarez did anything that Floyd was impressed by, Mayweather responded, "Canelo does everything well. He goes to the body well, he's got a good jab, he's a good counter-puncher. In my eyes, he's still a champion."
"I've got 24 more months (in boxing), and then Canelo is the man," Mayweather added.
But Floyd knows as well as everyone else that Alvarez never landed the blows, never scored the points, never showed the fire and the genius to beat the best. He will forever be diminished by his performance last night, not enhanced.
John Eligon of the New York Times summed it up best:
By the time the sweat was wiped from Álvarez's reddened face, the only question that remained was whether there was truly anyone in the sport who could give Mayweather a challenge worthy of the hoopla.
Boxing fans can tell themselves that had Mayweather consented to face the fearsome Manny Pacquiao before the Filipino star was diminished by politics and two straight losses in the ring, that that would have been the fight that would have seen Mayweather tested, if not broken. But that fight didn't happen when it should have and it seems very unlikely that any comparable possibility will emerge in the 24 months that Mayweather has left in his career.
If you gotta beat the man to be the man, boxing will be without "the man" for a long time after Floyd leaves the game.