Amir Khan could face Floyd Mayweather in Britain next year after the American won his world light middleweight title bout here with a boxing masterclass against rising Mexican star Saul Álvarez.
By Gareth A Davies, Boxing Correspondent, Las Vegas10:00PM BST 15 Sep 2013
Mayweather, who is now undefeated in 45 fights, was awarded a 12-round majority decision by the judges, although many at the venue viewed it as a shutout.
Sitting ringside was Khan, who spoke of his desire to take on Mayweather, although the British fighter must first win a welterweight contest against American Devon Alexander early in December in Brooklyn.
“Fighting Floyd Mayweather is my dream fight,” the 26-year-old Khan said. “We are the superstars of boxing and, once I have got Devon Alexander out of the way, it will be Mayweather for me, fingers crossed. He is an amazing tactician but I know my speed will count against him – that is something I believe in 100 per cent.
“All the fighters who meet Floyd rely on their power, and although he is an amazing fighter, you have to fight him at his own game. You have to treat it like a chess game. You have to use your speed. He needs to fight someone as quick as him and I know that I am quicker than him.
“I met Floyd here at the weigh-in and he said that I was a great fighter. I want to fight him because he is a great fighter and I want to fight the best there is out there. Beating him would make me the best fighter on the planet. I am not saying I will knock him out but I have the speed to overcome him.”
However, Mayweather, who won both the World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council titles, showed beyond any doubt that he remains boxing’s No 1 pound-for-pound fighter. After the weigh-in, at 152lbs, Alvarez entered the ring at 165lbs.
Mayweather, who weighed in 13lbs lighter than Álvarez, looked nothing like his 36 years against an opponent 13 years his junior. He commanded the entire bout, and there was universal derision towards judge CJ Ross, who gave a score of 114-114.
“From what I found out, this is the same judge who scored the fight for Timothy Bradley over Manny Pacquiao,” Mayweather said. “The Nevada State Athletic Commission is the best commission in the world, and if they feel it is right for the lady to judge, then that is fine by me. Things happen.”
Asked if he thought the scores of 117-111 and 116-112 were nearer the mark, Mayweather added. “He fought hard in there.” It was Alvarez’s first defeat in 44 fights.
A score of 119-110 for Mayweather would have been a truer reflection, Mayweather giving Álvarez only the eighth round, in which he came out with more zest.
Álvarez afterwards praised Mayweather’s sublime boxing skills. “He’s very fast, very accurate. His punches were not strong, but he scores points with them. It is what it is. He took me out of my game plan. And I had no answer for it.”
Time and again, Álvarez was left hitting air as Mayweather, who earned a basic purse of $41.5 million (£26.1 million), peppered his flame-haired opponent with the jab.
Mayweather started fast, imposed himself early in the fight, and showed that his reflexes, four years short of 40, were still razor sharp.
For round after round, changing levels, moving as was his wont from the ropes to the centre of the ring, Mayweather landed a faster, crisper jab, the straight right and right cross, and in the final third of the fight, a beautiful short right uppercut through the Mexican’s gloves.
All Álvarez could do was attack in bursts, but few punches landed as Mayweather countered.
A wild right hand from Álvarez in the penultimate round connected only with the ropes, much to Mayweather’s amusement. The champion paused, looked out through the ropes and gesticulated, as if to say, ‘Where was that punch going?’ It drew laughter from the crowd.
But there was nothing funny about this performance. Mayweather utilising his great experience and greater technique. It is still his time. This promotion was labelled ‘The One’. And Floyd Mayweather is clearly that.