Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s next challenge: finding a credible foe

LAS VEGAS — The promotion model for Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s remaining four fights has changed after his latest display of brilliance.

From now on, his co-promoter and pay-per-view executive said late Saturday, his fights will be sold as appreciations, not as threats to his unbeaten record.


"From what we saw tonight, it doesn't matter who you put in front of him, he can beat them," fight promoter Richard Schaefer said. "He's a once-in-a-generation fighter."

Mayweather is now 45-0, and despite a highly questionable 114-114 scorecard by one judge, he was masterful again in taking two world light-middleweight belts away from Mexico's previously unbeaten Saul "Canelo" Alvarez via majority decision at a sold-out MGM Grand.

The punch stats said it all about Mayweather's latest display of fast hands, quick feet and sharp thinking. Punches connected: Mayweather 232, Alvarez 117. Jabs connected: Mayweather 139, Alvarez 44.

"What Floyd's established is that he's one of the best of all time, and we have a limited window to enjoy his skills," said Stephen Espinoza, Showtime's executive vice president of sports.

In beating a world champion for the 19th time, Mayweather, 36, appears committed to fulfilling the four remaining bouts on his Showtime deal — which earned him a guaranteed $41.5 million plus pay-per-view bonuses for Saturday's fight — and then retiring.

"I've only got 24 months left," Mayweather said, looking over to Alvarez, who was seated at the news conference. "This champion will carry the torch. Tonight was just my night."

So, who could be the next opponent? Mayweather said he will fight again in May.

Maybe it'll be unbeaten junior-welterweight world champion Danny Garcia, who was impressive in defeating hard-punching Lucas Matthysse by unanimous decision in the co-main event at MGM Grand.

Instead of being knocked out as many expected, Garcia, 25, of Philadelphia, had Matthysse's right eye swollen and closed from the sixth round on, and knocked him down in the 11th.

"I beat the best fighters at 140" pounds, "what else do you want me to do?" said Garcia, who said he'd like to move up to welterweight, where Mayweather will probably return.

Another Mayweather option could emerge from the winners of welterweight fights pitting Amir Khan against Devon Alexander on Dec. 7 and Marcos Maidana against Adrien Broner on Dec. 14.

"As of right now, those guys would be the top three," Espinoza said.

When Mayweather was asked who could truly be touted anymore as someone who could beat him, he said, "Um . . ."

The ensuing silence took minds to another name.


Manny Pacquiao? He fights Nov. 23 in China against Brandon Rios and has told friends he still wants Mayweather despite all the past failed negotiations.


"At this point, Manny Pacquiao is not in my plans," Mayweather said.

Espinoza would have a powerful voice in such talks and said, "I don't consider anything un-doable. If Floyd ultimately has any interest in it, I have no problem putting all of our efforts into making that fight. We would do that as long as we're not chasing our tail."

As for Alvarez, now 42-1-1, Schaefer said he likes the idea of a possible next date against former three-division world champion Miguel Cotto, should the veteran win his October fight. New International Boxing Federation light-middleweight champion Carlos Molina also could be considered.

Alvarez, 23, was distraught in defeat, telling reporters, "I didn't want to lose. It happened. It hurts. He's very fast and accurate. I had my game plan, but he was very good. . . . I couldn't connect, couldn't find him. . . . We just didn't have an answer."

Even though Alvarez was left puffy-eyed and sullen by Mayweather, Espinoza has big plans for him.

"You saw in a very tangible form the fervor of his fan base," Espinoza said of the Alvarez supporters in a crowd of 16,746, which produced a record $20.03 million in ticket sales for the bout. "They don't think less of him after this fight.

"We saw a more experienced fighter coming out on the better end. He got beaten by the best fighter in the world. 'Canelo' hasn't taken a major step down because he's no longer undefeated. He's still one of the top two most popular fighters in the sport."

Obviously, Alvarez was popular to judge C.J. Ross, whose scorecard wasn't close to those of fellow judges Craig Metcalfe (117-111 for Mayweather) and Dave Moretti (116-112).

"That scorecard was a disgrace," Schaefer said. "How that judge was appointed . . . I would urge you to ask why. And will it happen again?"

Keith Kizer, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, who gave Ross the assignment after her disputed nod to Timothy Bradley by decision over Pacquiao in 2012, said, "It was one of those things. . . . If you look round by round, there were some close rounds."

Ross disagreed with Metcalfe and Moretti in giving Alvarez the first and eighth rounds. Kizer said he "has no issues with the first, and I'll take a look at the eighth."

"Things happen," Mayweather said, basking in the comfort of someone incredibly unthreatened by it all.

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