Ringside with Johnny Ortiz
Canelo Alvarez and Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather will engage one another on Saturday, September 14. It’s the fight that is being billed as “the one” due to the fact that it is without a doubt the one that fight fans have been anxiously awaiting.
This championship fight has all of the ingredients of a fight classic, youth vs. age, power vs. ring generalship, Floyd or Canelo’s “O” must go and the winner will leave the ring regarded as the best pound for pound fighter in boxing.
When the fight was originally signed, I leaned toward Mayweather as the winner but I have since changed my total outlook on the fight. In the beginning I felt that the elusiveness and the overall knowledge of the ring were greatly in Floyd’s favor.
Since that time and relying on my knowledge of boxing, a knowledge that dates back to the first time my older brother Phil (who twice fought the greatest bantamweight champion of them all, Manuel Ortiz) took me to the original Main St. Gym when I was a mere nine years old, the same gym of my youth that I would one day co-own until its demise after 51 years in operation. I have been a fighter, trainer and a manager. I went on to host my own radio boxing show on ESPN for twelve years. This brief summary is to let you know something of my background in boxing.
The more I thought about the fight, the more I began to differ from my original choice in the fight. The first thing had to do with age, Floyd being 36 years of age differed greatly from Canelo’s being a mere 23 years old. Thirty six is not considered old if you are a heavyweight but for a blown up welterweight it is an age Floyd cannot dismiss. Granted, Floyd is a rarity in boxing, he is always in phenomenal shape and he still fights like someone in their twenties. In reality he cannot change the fact that he is indeed 36 years of age. Age has a way of one day catching up with you. Canelo, on the flip side of the coin is a mere 23 years of age. Therein is a discrepancy of thirteen years. Where one is nearing the end of an unreal, brilliant career, the other one is just beginning.
Another thing to consider is the fact that Floyd has had 44 fights without a defeat, Canalo, being 13 years younger, has had 43 fights without a defeat, one fight less than Floyd. What it boils down to in my mind is it’s a fight between youth against age and power against experience. I remember as a kid at the old Main St. Gym, always hearing the old timers saying that youth must be served, that a good young fighter will most always beat a good old fighter. Floyd Mayweather may well be the exception to the rule. He is always in marvelous condition as is Canelo. As I mentioned, Floyd is undefeated as is Canelo.
A fight I still remember is Floyd’s first fight with Jose Luis Castillo. The fight was won by Floyd. I know how to score a fight and I had Jose Luis winning the fight. He did it by putting constant pressure on Floyd from the opening bell. Floyd beat Jose Luis handily in their rematch. What still sticks in my mind are what Jose Luis was able to do by applying constant pressure to Floyd in their first fight. Reminiscing about their first fight I was reminded that the one thing that Canelo does best is to apply constant pressure. He has no reverse gear. If he can apply it for twelve rounds then Floyd will have a tough time getting his vaunted offense going. Canelo has had plenty of time getting ready to apply pressure for a full twelve rounds.
Floyd is not known for heavy punching power and will have to pile up points on the run. At 36, he will have his work cut out for him avoiding the incoming, heavy artillery from the 23 year old Canelo. The way I see it, the only way Floyd can emerge victorious is by hoping the young Canelo will wear himself out over the first six rounds by throwing blows with bad intentions. Canelo has to be prepared to go twelve strong rounds and not get over anxious while making sure he has plenty left in the gas tank over the last six rounds. Running out of gas is the only chance I give Floyd of winning the fight; that and being able to withstand the early onslaught by a young, determined Canelo Alvarez.
Besides their disparity in age, there is the one thing that will be very evident in this fight and that is Canelo’s awesome punching power. He throws textbook punches and he has awesome punching power in both hands. He was taught at an early age the correct way of delivering punches. It has been a long time since I have seen such a young fighter with his aggressive way of throwing punches. I vividly remember seeing Canelo for the first time. I was reminded how very long it had been since I was excited by a new, up and coming young fighter. Canelo Alvarez awakened a lot of old dreams because here was a fighter for which I had been waiting. He was young, good-looking and throwing text book punches while possessing awesome punching power. To say that I am a huge fan would be an understatement. He is everything rolled up into one.
Please do not think I am completely conceding this fight to Canelo. He is going to be in with one of the greatest champions pound for pound that ever laced on a glove. He is not undefeated for nothing. He has won five world titles and he has earned them all. He is the epitome of a great fighter. His time in the ring will be recorded alongside the great ones and until his day is done in the ring, Floyd Mayweather Jr. can never be counted out. He is also the recipient of the largest purse in history. He is guaranteed 41.5 million dollars for the fight; throw in the astronomical PPV buys, other different venues, Moneyman will make more money on this one fight than any fighter in history. Adding it up, it has been estimated around 60 million dollars.
The other thing that turned me in favor of Canelo is the difference in size. The weight agreed on by both parties is 152 pounds and neither one will have trouble making weight, Floyd, coming up from the welterweight limit of 147 pounds, will have no trouble making the required weight of 152 pounds. It will surely be the weight in which he will enter the ring. Canelo on the other hand will easily make the required weight. Lest we forget, Floyd has never been in with a younger, stronger and awesome puncher such as Canelo Alvarez.
Here is the problem that lies ahead for Floyd. Putting on an additional five pounds will be no problem for The Moneyman. The problem will be that after Canelo makes the weight of 152 pounds, he will in all probability enter the ring around 160-162 pounds. In essence, the fight will be Floyd, a blown up welterweight, against Canelo, a solid 160-162 pound middleweight. I have always said that Canelo Alvarez, a light middleweight champion at 154 pounds is a world champion who walks around in a middleweight’s body. Another old saying I used to hear from the old timer’s at the Original Main St. Gym, “A good big man will always beat a good little man.”
That my friends is how I see the fight. I would suggest you don’t miss it. It will be a fight that will long be remembered. I have been picking fights for a long, long time so I will leave you with two I picked, two fights that were supposedly not meant to be won.
It was the week before Felix “Tito” Trinidad was to fight Bernard Hopkins. We were having a Boxing Hall of Fame Board of Directors meeting and were in the process of picking our “Fighter of the Year” for our annual Banquet of Champions. Everyone in the room, with the exception of David Martinez and I, were all in favor of voting in Trinidad as our Fighter of the Year. I stood up and asked how they could vote in Trinidad when the fight was a week away. I then threw in, “what if Hopkins wins?” The room erupted with laughter. I then said, “Not only is Hopkins going to win, he is going to win by a knockout.” I was greeted with an even louder round of laughter. Well, we all know who had the last laugh.
Another time during my radio show I spoke of how Evander Holyfield was not only going to beat the 25-1 favorite Mike Tyson, but was going to knock him out. They lit up my radio switch board all week to tell me that I didn’t know what I was talking about and that Tyson was going to eat Evander alive. Well guess what? I again got the last laugh.
I am picking Canelo Alvarez to win Saturday night, but may the best man win and I pray that no one gets hurt.
Until the Next Round, Peace and God bless.