LAS VEGAS - Floyd Mayweather turned one of the richest fights ever into just another $US41.5 million ($F77.7 million) payday on Saturday by dominating Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez from the opening bell to enhance his reputation as the best boxer in the world.
Fighting off his shortest layoff in years, Mayweather was sharp, efficient and sometimes brutal in dismantling an unbeaten fighter who was bigger and was supposed to punch harder.
He frustrated the Mexican early, pounded him with big right hands in the middle rounds, and made him look just like he said he would — like any other opponent.
Mayweather was favoured 117-111 and 116-112 on two ringside scorecards while a third surprisingly had the fight 114-114.
"I just listened to my corner, listened to my dad," Mayweather said.
"My dad had a brilliant game plan, and I went out there and got the job done."
Mayweather remained unbeaten in 45 fights and added another piece of the junior middleweight title to his collection in a fight that was fought at a catchweight 68.9 kilogram limit.
Alvarez weighed in at that weight, but was an unofficial 74.8 kilograms when he got into the ring while Mayweather was an even 68kg.
Mayweather's speed was the difference all night as he was able to land straight rights and left jabs, then get out of the way before Alvarez was able to respond.
But while Mayweather used great defence, he wasn't afraid to attack often and at different angles, finding Alvarez with punches he couldn't anticipate.
"He's very talented, very elusive," Alvarez said.
Alvarez was supposed to be Mayweather's greatest challenge and he did his best to force the action. Like others, though, he spent much of his night punching at an opponent who had already moved away from him.
"I didn't know how to get him, it's extremely simple," Alvarez said.
"He's a great fighter, very intelligent. The frustration was getting in there, but he's a great fighter.
"We tried to catch him."
The sellout crowd at the MGM Grand tried its best to urge Alvarez on, but the cheers of "Canelo! Canelo!" were faint by the late rounds.
The fight was one of the richest ever — if not the richest ever — with a live gate of $US20 million ($F37.46 million) and at least another $US100 million ($F187.3 million) from pay-per-view.