Six hours after top-ranked and undefeated Alabama outlasted No. 6-ranked Texas A&M, 49-42, in a highly-anticipated Southeastern Conference clash at Kyle Field last Saturday, Floyd Mayweather Jr. gave a boxing lesson to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in their junior-middleweight title match.
When ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. addressed the capacity crowd of 16,746, and said the fight had been ruled a majority decision because Judge C.J. Ross scored the bout a draw, many were stunned because it should have been a shutout.
Mayweather controlled the pace and tempo by jabbing and then sticking his right hand. When Alvarez (42-1-1 with 30 knockouts) tried to wade inside and attack, Mayweather employed his superior foot speed and moved aside.
The tactic stymied Alvarez, who had most of the fans behind him, but became frustrated when he realized Mayweather (45-0-0 with 26 KO’s) could not be touched.
And just like the pound-for-pound best boxer in the world, the Crimson Tide (2-0) usually find a way to prevail, and if Alabama claims the Bowl Championship Series title in January at the Rose Bowl, it will be the third straight and fourth in five years.
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel (562 total yards) is the most talked about college football player with his zany off-the-field antics and Heisman Trophy (2012), but senior Alabama signal-caller A.J. McCarron is poised and confident just like Mayweather who landed more jabs and total punches.
McCarron threw four touchdowns with no interceptions while finishing with 334 yards on 20 of 29 attempts.
Manziel (28 of 39 for 464 yards with five touchdowns) helped the Aggies (2-1) to a 14-0 first-quarter lead after throwing one-yard passes to tight end Cameron Clear and running back Ben Malena (42 yards on 11 rushes).
McCarron answered by drilling Kevin Norwood (52 yards on three catches) with a 22-yard toss that cut the lead to 14-7 with 5:24 left in the opening quarter, then hit DeAndrew White (82 yards and four receptions) with a 44-yard pass off the flea-flicker early in the second quarter.
Manziel was picked off by Cyrus Jones which led to the Tide taking a 21-14 lead after McCarron found Kenny Bell with a 51-yard pass and 8:55 left in the second quarter.
Alabama leaped ahead 28-14 just before the half when running back T.J. Yeldon (149 yards on 25 carries) scored from four yards out.
Manziel’s pass was intercepted by Vinnie Sunseri who returned the ball 73 yards for a score early in the third quarter that made it 35-14, but Manziel hit Malcome Kennedy (57 yards on six catches) with a 14-yard strike and 9:33 showing in the same quarter that trimmed the lead to 14 points.
Kenyan Drake’s three-yard burst about five minutes later gave the Tide a 42-21 lead, but Manziel, a sophomore, spotted Kennedy with a 12-yard toss early in the fourth quarter that made it 42-28.
Manziel found Mike Evans (279 yards on seven receptions) with a 95-yard bomb that got the Aggies within 42-35, McCarron drilled running back Jalston Fowler with a five-yard pass and 2:28 left that made it 49-35, before Manziel hit Kennedy with a four-yard throw and 15 seconds left to get within seven points.
Rick Assad has been a sportswriter for more than two decades. He has a political science degree from UCLA, a journalism degree from CSUN, is a staff writer for diamondboxing.com, and is a columnist for socalboxing.wordpress.com. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.