It was not even close at the MGM in Las Vegas when Floyd Mayweather expertly tamed Saul Alvarez over 12 repetitive rounds to claim a couple of pure gold light-middleweight world title belts.
Mayweather collected a record guarantee of $41.5m when he improved his record to 45 fights without defeat. He also raised a few questions after his punches took Alvarez to the very tipping point of quitting, and the main two are: how good is he and who is next?
"I could have pressed it and got the late stoppage but experience played a major key," Mayweather said.
In the hours after the fight Alvarez looked like a man who would gladly have traded the cash for what Mayweather had robbed him of during the 36-minute boxing lesson. The Mexican, who lost his unbeaten record, is only 23 but he looked desolate as he slumped through the obligatory post-fight search for an answer to the Mayweather enigma.
"I didn't know how to get to him," admitted Alvarez. "It's as simple as that and the frustration was getting to me in there." It is the latest typical dejected assessment from one of Mayweather's broken opponents; the American took his heart and that is a pact that no fighter agrees to.
Mayweather never wasted a punch, clearly held back several times, and it is this seeming reluctance to finish fights that creates the one potentially damning blot on his brilliant resumé. The great boxers finish fights and the very best, such as Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard, do it with an instant savagery that just seems to appear from a secret place once an opponent has been broken.
Alvarez was broken and yet Mayweather let him survive. In private, some of the best welterweights and light-middleweights from the last 30 years can barely contain their resentment at Mayweather and dismiss any claims that he belongs in their company.
Also, critics point out that Mayweather has chosen to avoid certain fighters. Perhaps it is also the case that there are just so few moments of raw excitement in a Mayweather fight that his brilliance is neglected.
However, there was drama on Saturday when it was revealed that one judge – paid $8,000 for her night's work – somehow returned a scorecard of 114-114.
Mayweather, who is 36, must now plan a potentially tricky future and an end to his glittering career. The boxer has four fights left on a six-fight contract.
The plan now seems to be that he will meet Bolton's Amir Khan in May next year, but Khan has first to beat world champion Devon Alexander in December. Mayweather plans to have another payday in November.
Mayweather truly is a victim of his time and his ability, and pointing that out should not be considered a slight. He is a great fighter; he just needs a great fight and perhaps it is too late. (© Independent News Service)