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 US$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 will likely have had his fill.
Appreciate his spectacular skills while you can. After what Mayweather did Saturday night (Sunday, Manila time) to Canelo Alvarez, it's hard to argue when he proclaims himself as 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," Mayweather 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 his six-figure bets on football and basketball games. After that, there will be three more fights, and then Mayweather plans to retire to his Big Boy 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, of course. Fighters can be their own worst enemies when it comes time to calling it quits, and Mayweather by then would likely 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 walking into the ring with Mayweather, with rapper Lil' Wayne on the other side. Two other judges had Mayweather an easy winner, while The Associated Press had him winning all but one round, 119-109.
What was even more impressive was 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 impeccable record to 45-0 in what may have been the richest fight of all time. The live gate itself was a record US$20 million, and promoters will find out in the coming weeks if the fight generated the two million or so pay-per-view buys that could add several more millions to the US$41.5 million purse Mayweather was guaranteed.
Mayweather was the main draw as usual, but it was Alvarez who 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's population watched the country's 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.
Mayweather's dominance was reflected in ringside punch stats that showed him landing twice the number of punches as Alvarez, but even that didn't reflect how lopsided the fight was. Mayweather took a young and highly regarded champion and gave him a boxing lesson the likes of which he'll never experience again.
"Obviously I didn't want to lose," the 23-year-old said. "It hurts."
Mayweather was effusive in his praise for Alvarez afterward, saying he will be a great champion for years to come. What Alvarez did best, though, was make Money May even more money than he's ever gotten in a fight before.
Promoters talked about several fighters who could be next for Mayweather, including Danny Garcia, who remained unbeaten with an upset win over Lucas Matthysse in a 140-pound title fight on the undercard. But Mayweather himself was at a loss to say who he might fight next May, perhaps because it's hard to imagine anyone challenging his dominance.
"I just need a vacation," Mayweather said. "I haven't taken a vacation in four or five years."