Boxing’s biggest spectacle takes place on Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas when Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather faces his toughest test yet in the shape of Mexican, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
September 14th is undeniably the most anticipated date in the Boxing calendar for at least the last decade but it’s just another day at the office for Floyd Mayweather Jr. The pound for pound king will be walking into the MGM Grand for his 22nd world title fight on Saturday night and is as confident as ever that he will walk out with his perfect record (currently 44-0) intact. However, Canelo has his own undefeated record (42-0-1) to protect and will be looking to stun the world in his eighth world title fight.
The stakes couldn’t be higher. Not only are their records on the line, but their titles too. Alvarez brings the light middleweight WBC title and WBA ‘regular’ title to the equation while Mayweather holds the WBA ‘super’ title. The Mexican, 13 years Floyd’s junior, will be looking to clinch the number one spot in the world’s pound for pound list with victory over the American.
Floyd, however, will be looking to top a different kind of list altogether.
It is no secret that Floyd has an immense urge to cement himself as one of the best fighters of all time but a victory over Alvarez on Saturday night puts him at the very top of that list in my book. An incredibly bold statement, I know, but I have my reasons.
Floyd has been involved in 21 world title fights over five different weight classes, losing absolutely none of them. His scalps include the likes of Arturo Gatti, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton and of course, Oscar De La Hoya.
We hear the same thing from Mayweather’s opponents during pre-fight interviews, all claiming they have something he won’t be able to deal with. Robert Guerrero was going to be too fast, Miguel Cotto was going to be too strong, Ricky Hatton was going to dominate the inside, etcetera, etcetera.
But Floyd does something I have seen no other fighter do on so many occasions; he simply takes his opponents’ strengths away from them. His defensive skills seem to nullify any potential threat.
Floyd has been widely criticised for ‘ducking’ fighters or allowing them to pass their peak before fighting them, sometimes unfairly, but this time those complaints cannot be made. He is taking on a much younger and much stronger fighter who many perceive to be boxing’s next megastar. This fight is as, if not more, dangerous than his 2007 fight with De La Hoya, which Mayweather won by split decision.
Saul Alvarez is undoubtedly a world-class fighter, which he proved when he knocked Austin Trout down, for the first time in his career, with a thunderous straight right hand in his impressive unanimous points victory over the previously undefeated American. The Mexican has tremendous hand speed that could cause problems for any fighter, not to mention the strength that accompanies his huge, muscular frame.
There has been one thing that distances Alvarez from the rest of ‘Money’ Mayweather’s opponents. Floyd can’t seem to get into this man’s head. Throughout the media tour, Canelo has been a very cool customer, rarely, if ever, losing his temper and if he can do the same on fight night, he gives himself a real fighting chance.
Canelo has only had one less professional fight than Mayweather Jr but the level of opposition pales in comparison. Although he has fought in eight world title fights, Austin Trout is arguably the only top class opponent Alvarez has faced.
Of course, this fight is highly anticipated and may even break the Pay-Per-View record of 2.48 million buys set by Mayweather’s win over Oscar De La Hoya, according to Golden Boy promotions’ CEO Richard Schaefer. That is not the only record that could be broken. Mayweather will be earning a all time high of $41.5 million with Alvarez likely to earn around $12 million.
That being said, it is not going to be the fight of the year entertainment-wise. This is a Floyd Mayweather fight we’re talking about.
Don’t get me wrong, Floyd Mayweather is one of the most exciting personalities in the sport, but it’s usually his antics outside the ring that gets people talking.
You can expect to see world-class skills on show from both fighters but it won’t be a brawl and it won’t be a war. It will be tactical boxing at its finest.
Canelo will likely be the busier fighter in the first few rounds with Mayweather using his counter punches and slipping in and out of range as he does so well but the 23-year-old must ensure he does not go too hard, too early or he will be in for a very long night. That being said, I cannot see it going any other way.
Alvarez may not tire himself out early on but the only way I see a victory for him is if he hits Floyd clean on the chin and takes him out the fight, which is no easy feat. Mayweather has the best defence in boxing, past or present and will be as sharp as ever having only boxed four months ago in his defeat of Robert Guerrero.
The 152lb catch-weight has been a major talking point throughout the media and could be the downfall of either fighter.
On one hand, Mayweather’s fight four months ago was at welterweight. Putting on the extra weight at the age of 36 may affect his speed and stamina, two of his most important assets.
On the other hand, Canelo is already a very big light-middleweight and losing those two more pounds could have a serious effect on his punching power, which is essential to him maintaining his unbeaten record.
If I was a betting man, or a man with money for that matter, I feel my money would be safe with a unanimous points victory for Mayweather Jr. He may be 13 years his opponent’s senior but this fight is about levels and ‘Money’ is still head and shoulders above the rest.