The boxing world was hoping it would be a competitive fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Robert Guerrero on Saturday night at the MGM Grand, but it turned into a blowout.
Mayweather ended up winning via unanimous decision in convincing fashion, connecting on 41 percent of his punches (including 60 percent of his power shots), while Guerrero landed just 19 percent of his punches, according to CompuBox. All three judges scored it 117-111 in favor of Money May.
Leading up to the bout, there was hope that the power of Guerrero would get through Mayweather's sterling defense, potentially making it a fight worth watching. Guerrero had previously brutalized Andre Berto in November to keep the interim WBC welterweight title.
But there was reason to doubt that Guerrero would be a great challenge for Mayweather headed into the fight. Berto actually landed a greater percentage of punches against Guerrero in November, connecting on 44 percent of his punches. In Guerrero's first test against top competition, he failed to display the defense needed to defeat Mayweather.
In short, Guerrero was outclassed by Mayweather. In fact, he wasn't even in the same stratosphere, in terms of talent, execution or experience. It made for a rather easy fight for Money May, despite him coming off a long layoff and aging. It was also disheartening, because you wondered at that moment if Mayweather would ever fight anyone worthwhile in the final five fights of his contract with Showtime.
You can point to Amir Khan, or Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, or a myriad of other potential challenges for Mayweather, but it's not that easy.
As Kieran Mulvaney of ESPN.com noted on Sunday, the politics of boxing could make Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley Jr., Mike Alvarado, Brandon Rios, Sergio Martinez and Gennady Golovkin long shots (plus, Martinez and Golovkin are middleweights who fight on HBO).
In the welterweight division, Paulie Malignaggi, Devon Alexander and Kell Brook are possibilities, but are they really going to test Mayweather? Unlikely. Dan Rafael of ESPN ranked all three fighters below Guerrero before Guerrero's fight with Money May.
What about the junior welterweight division, you say? Well, it's hard to see Khan, or Danny Garcia, or Lucas Matthysse, or Lamont Peterson doing a great deal of damage against Mayweather. As a frame of reference, neither boxer is even ranked in the top 10 in the pound-for-pound rankings for ESPN or Yahoo! Sports.
Alvarez would be my pick, but he's way up there at junior middleweight. Mayweather isn't likely to move up to 154 pounds, and it would be rather difficult for Alvarez to move down to 147 pounds.
While I believe a fight between Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao wouldn't be as competitive as some suggest (given Pacquiao's apparent decline), perhaps that is a fight that becomes more likely because of the dearth of options listed above. In that case, Mayweather would still be fighting a boxer arguably past his prime when all we wanted all along was the two boxers to touch gloves when they both were on top of the world. It could actually end up being a disappointment given the inevitable expectations the fight would carry.
We're left hoping that a contender rises astronomically down the stretch of Mayweather's contract or Alvarez magically shrinks to welterweight.
It's an absolute joy to watch Mayweather box, and it's not exactly boring viewing a legend, no matter who he fights.
But if you're looking for any of his next five fights to be a threat to his perfect 44-0 record, you'll likely be disappointed by the time he hangs up his gloves.