Update 8:05 a.m. Floyd Mayweather all but walked through Saul "Canelo" Alvarez Saturday night on the way to a majority decision. Don't let the result fool you, the majority decision shocked the people watching in person at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and those watching at home. ESPN's Dan Rafael breaks down the controversial ending:
Judges Dave Moretti (116-112) and Craig Metcalfe (117-111) had it for Mayweather, while judge C.J. Ross scored it an unconscionable 114-114. She also is one of the two judges who gave Timothy Bradley Jr. a decision win against Manny Pacquiao in one of boxing's most controversial decisions in years. ESPN.com had it a 120-108 shutout for Mayweather.
Original: The question is raised every time Floyd Mayweather Jr., 36, an aging pound for pound boxing king often heralded as the sport's last real prize fighter, enters the ring.
Saturday night, Mayweather fights the 23-year-old Mexican sensation Saul "Canelo" Alvarez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, and the hype says Mayweather could fall for the first time in his career. The fight has produced the largest gate of any fight in history.
Mayweather is a polarizing figure. He is both cripplingly boring and endlessly compelling at the same time, both in real life and in the ring. Fight fans either love him or hate him -- there is no middle ground. Mayweather has $123 million in his bank account. He has never been beaten by another man inside a boxing ring in 44 professional fights. He is a technical genius who makes not getting hit look beautiful, and embarrassing his opponents look easy. Floyd Mayweather is very good at what he does -- arguably the best ever -- and he has no problem telling you that fact.
But Alvarez is a young, talented, hard-hitting red-haired Mexican with no definite creation myth who is also unbeaten inside the squared circle. He has the youth, size, power and hunger, according to the fight's official narrative, that could spell the end for Mayweather.
Then why is virtually no one credible picking Alvarez to actually win the fight.
Newsday asked a slew of former fighters -- including former champions Lennox Lewis, Bernard Hopkins, Mike Tyson and Zab Judah -- and analysts who they think will win the fight. Every single one predicted Mayweather will weather the storm on Saturday night, except for Newsday's own Bobby Cassidy. He predicts an Alvarez upset.
It should be noted that Judah is something of an expert on Mayweather. The first five rounds of their 2006 bout are often looked at as the closest thing to a roadmap to beating Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a boxing ring that exists in this world. Mayweather eventually broke Judah down, frustrated him and won a unanimous decision. The greats always do. "I don't see Canelo being able to do anything to Floyd," says Judah.
ESPN got every person on staff who has ever written, watched, or thought about boxing to predict the outcome of Saturday's bout. Every single one predicted Mayweather will prevail. Except for former fighter Teddy Atlas, who thinks Alvarez will take a unanimous judges' decision.
"We know [Alvarez] throws precise, devastating punches," said Grantland's Jay Caspian Kang earlier this week. "And we know he has no real shot against Floyd Mayweather, but we also know that nobody in the world, save maybe a Klitschko, has any chance against Floyd Mayweather." For those who may not know, Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko are the reigning heavyweight champions of the world. Mayweather is usually a welterweight.
The Vegas sportbooks are oddly undecided. A suspicious amount of money says the two men will fight to a draw. The eventual rematch between Alvarez, who is hugely popular in his home country, and Mayweather would produce unprecedented amounts of money.
Tonight is not the night Mayweather goes down. He is too fast, too technical, too defensive for this young lion to over come. Don't let his age or recent incarceration fool you. As we learned in his last bout, against the hard hitting body puncher Robert Guerrero, Mayweather is unhittable.