By Chris Robinson
Floyd Mayweather very well may be coming off of a virtuoso performance on Sept. 14 in Las Vegas, where he dominated a very dangerous Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez over twelve rounds, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a few struggles for the sport’s pound for pound king as he moves forward in his career.
Simply put, Mayweather was so sharp against Alvarez that his performance not only beguiled his 36 years of age, it also left the boxing public wondering who exactly is left on the horizon that can actually challenge him.
Sharing his thoughts on Mayweather’s latest outing, former multi-division titlist Nonito Donaire was quick to give praise.
“He’s an amazing fighter,” Donaire stated. “As much as you may not like Floyd or anything like that, Floyd has the right to brag. He has the right to say whatever he wants. Because he’s on top.”
Donaire elaborated, highlighting a few reasons why Floyd is so special in his eyes.
“Floyd is a smart fighter,” said Donaire. “Not only that he’s smart, he’s just generally a defensive genius. Right now he’s much more offensive than what I expected him to be. He was very offensive, but at the same time he uses his defense. But the guy is a genius when it comes down to it. Fast, strong, and no matter how old that guy gets, he’s just going to be Mayweather.”
Asked what he thinks of finding someone who can actually challenge Mayweather, Donaire was at first puzzled by such a thought.
A few moments later and Donaire turned his attention to stylish southpaw and former junior middleweight champion Austin Trout, who is coming off of a unanimous decision loss to Alvarez this past April in a fight were he gave a great account of himself despite suffering his first defeat.
“You’ve got Trout, I think will give him a [fight],” Donaire claimed. “Because he’s a taller guy, southpaw. And he’s a distance type of fighter. That might be more of a difficult fighter than Canelo because styles make fights.”
Donaire also pointed towards WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, the powerful Kazakhstan native with 24 knockouts in 27 outings. Golovkin is slated for a November 2 date on HBO against Brooklyn’s Curtis Stevens and Donaire seems intrigued by what he brings to the table.
“And you’ve got the powerful [Golovkin], who’s a very, very powerful guy,” Donaire explained. “And he doesn’t care about getting hit. But as long as he gets to landing his punches, he’s always going to be a dangerous fighter.”
Before our conversation ended, I was curious to get Donaire’s reaction to the mild upset scored by Philadelphia’s Danny Garcia over rugged Argentinean Lucas Matthysse on the Mayweather-Canelo undercard.
Garcia was a clear underdog heading into the match but boxed a smart and tough fight against Matthysse, weathering some serious thunder in the early rounds before seizing the initiative and turning the tide of the contest over the second half of the bout.
Garcia would walk away with his WBA and WBC junior welterweight titles in tact after scoring a unanimous decision and in doing so he seemed to gain a believer in Donaire.
“He surprised me,” Donaire said of Garcia. “Danny surprised me a lot. I said that Danny will have the better talent compared to Matthysse; but I went for Matthysse because of his heart and because of his power punches. But I didn’t expect Danny to be that tough.
“I’ve never seen Danny be hit like that and be like ‘Alright, I’m good to go,’” Donaire added. “And much respect to Danny for that and I congratulate him for a great victory against Matthysse. He did well timing that hook. When Matthysse got the best of him, he got the rhythm on his own and changed the fight over. That’s why he won that fight and he really impressed me in that fight.”