LAS VEGAS — Two years.
Four more fights.
The end of Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s career is in sight because even the best fighter of his era can’t beat Father Time. He’ll be 38 and another $150 million or so richer when his lucrative contract with Showtime ends, and by then even the fighter raised from birth to be in the ring likely will have had his fill.
Appreciate his spectacular skills while you can. After what Mayweather did Saturday night to Canelo Alvarez, it’s hard to argue when he proclaims himself one of the greatest ever to lace on the gloves.
The only real question now is, can anyone give him a legitimate fight?
“I don’t know what the future holds now,” he said. “I’m not psychic.”
Maybe not, but Mayweather knows this: He’ll fight next May (Cinco de Mayweather he calls it) against someone, and he’ll make another huge purse to fund his ever-growing collection of exotic cars and six-figure bets on football and basketball games. After that, there will be three more fights, and then Mayweather plans to retire to his mansion on a golf course near the Las Vegas Strip.
“I’ve only got 24 months left,” he said.
Whether he sticks to that plan remains to be seen. Fighters can be their own worst enemies when it comes time to calling it quits, and Mayweather by then likely would be 49-0 and one fight away from breaking the unbeaten mark set by Rocky Marciano before he retired.
Mayweather’s problem right now is he might be too good. Alvarez was supposed to be the one fighter who could give him a tussle, but the Mexican champion spent all night punching at air as Mayweather put on a virtuoso performance that had everyone raving ... except the one ringside judge who somehow found a way to score the fight even.
The 114-114 scorecard of C.J. Ross was as bizarre as Justin Bieber and Lil’ Wayne walking into the ring with Mayweather. Two other judges had Mayweather an easy winner, and The Associated Press had him winning all but one round 119-109.
What was even more impressive was that Mayweather dominated despite hurting his left elbow while throwing a punch midway through the fight.
He said he hesitated to use his jab for a few rounds, then decided he had to work through the pain because his kids were watching and he wanted to show them their dad was a winner.
Few can argue with that after Mayweather raised his record to 45-0 in what may have been the richest fight of all time. The live gate was a record $20 million, and promoters will find out in the coming weeks if the fight generated the 2 million or so pay-per-view buys that could add several millions to the $41.5 million purse Mayweather was guaranteed.
Mayweather was the main draw as usual, but Alvarez put the fight over the top. Undefeated in 42 fights and the owner of a piece of the 154-pound title, he was supposed to be the toughest test yet for Mayweather, and his fans made up a big portion of the sellout crowd at the MGM Grand arena on Mexican Independence Day weekend. Some in Mexico estimated up to 80 percent of the country watched their biggest sports hero try to become the first to beat boxing’s reigning pound-for-pound champion.
But Mayweather dominated from the first round on, attacking Alvarez with sharp jabs and straight right hands that found their mark early and often. Alvarez tried his best to press the action and land big punches but Mayweather was too elusive and as the fight went on Alvarez grew more frustrated by the round.
“Obviously I didn’t want to lose,” the 23-year-old said. “It hurts.”
Promoters talked about several fighters who could be next for Mayweather, including Danny Garcia. But Mayweather was at a loss to say who he might fight next May.
“I just need a vacation,” he said. “I haven’t taken a vacation in four or five years.”