Floyd Mayweather's aura of invincibility grew a little larger on Saturday with a majority decision victory over Saul "Canelo" Alvarez in Las Vegas, the man who was supposed to be Money May's toughest challenger in years.
Instead, the 36-year-old legend never looked scared of his younger, stronger opponent. Mayweather put on a clinic that taught Canelo a few things about megafights against elite opponents.
Canelo: "I couldn't catch him...I'm only 23, this was a great experience for me...I'll be better prepared for the next fight."— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) September 15, 2013
After suffering the first loss of his career, Alvarez has a lot of potential matchups for his next bout, which will go a long way in helping him build his reputation up again.
Let's look at three logical opponents for the Mexican after his defeat to Mayweather.
Carlos Molina defeated Ishe Smith in one of the undercard bouts on Saturday night, and as an up-and-coming boxer, he's ready for a bigger and tougher challenge with a fight against Canelo.
In fact, Mayweather wouldn't mind seeing these two young fighters get into the ring, per Ryan Bivins of Bad Left Hook:
Mayweather says he wants to see Canelo vs Carlos Molina so Alvarez can get his confidence back (and a new IBF title) #TheOne— Ryan Bivins (@sweetboxing) September 15, 2013
Molina is now 17-1-1 in his career with seven knockouts, and like Money May, he has impressive speed and strong defensive abilities. He's also an intelligent fighter who makes effective mid-bout adjustments.
The 27-year-old California native would be a worthy opponent for Alvarez, one that is beatable but isn't going to be seen as a layup either. It's the perfect matchup for Canelo to regain some of the confidence lost after Saturday's defeat to Mayweather.
Who should Canelo fight next?
A big name for Canelo to fight early in 2014 is veteran Miguel Cotto (37-4-1), whose next fight is scheduled against Delvin Rodriguez in October.
Cotto has suffered two consecutive defeats, one to Austin Trout and the other to Mayweather, but a victory in October would make him a worthy opponent for Alvarez. After lasting 12 rounds and putting up a strong fight against Mayweather in May of 2012, there's no question that Cotto would give Canelo a lengthy bout.
From a boxing standpoint, Cotto's strength and experience would present a tough challenge for Canelo, but also one that he can definitely overcome.
A rematch? Why not?
In an era of boxing where marquee fights are too uncommon, another Mayweather vs. Canelo matchup would make headlines and provide fans of the sport with another salivating matchup to look forward to.
Mayweather and Alvarez are two big names that sports fans who don't follow boxing regularly know, which is why it makes sense for these two fighters to step into the ring one more time.
After all, Canelo will definitely want another shot at Money May after a convincing defeat on Saturday. It was a learning experience for the young Mexican, one that will make him stronger and better prepared for his next major bout.
If Alvarez dominates and wins his next fight, a late-2014 showdown with Mayweather would be a great way to end the year.