By Tom Donelson
Member Boxing Writer Association and
International Boxing Research Organization
Floyd Mayweather and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez maybe one of those fights that will have boxing fans talking about it for generations. Mayweather will be favored but there is something about Alvarez that gives one pause on whether he is the one to defeat Mayweather.
In looking at Mayweather history, the following fighters gave the great defensive wizard trouble: Miguel Cotto, Oscar De La Hoya and Jose Luis Castillo. Oscar De La Hoya used his jab effectively in the first half of their fight and managed to keep Mayweather off balance before Mayweather adjusted and won the decision. Both Cotto and Castillo pressured Mayweather throughout their bout and often forced Mayweather to the rope.
The biggest criticism against Alvarez is that he can be economically with his punches and many wonder, would Alvarez pressure Mayweather for an entire fight just as Cotto and Castillo did. In their first fight, Castillo managed to connect on punches that Mayweather avoided and Cotto repeated this. In his fight against Robert Guerrero, Mayweather changed tactics to be more defensive and he simply defeated Gurerrero easily but Guerrero is not a natural pressure fighter and had only two fights at Welterweight before Mayweather.
Alvarez showed improvement against Austin Trout. Trout, a superior boxer, often failed to connect with solid shots against Alvarez and Alvarez showed ability to score against Trout. While Trout is not as quick as Mayweather, Alvarez showed that he could penetrate against the defense of an excellent boxer. Alvarez power was evident in the fight as he knocked Trout down in the seventh round and changed the tenor of the fight. In the previous round, Trout started to take command of the fight with a boxing exhibition but after being knockdown in the seventh, Trout proved to be more cautious. This cost him the bout.
Mayweather is a master defensive fighter and excellent counter puncher with a right hand that can strike quickly before putting a fighter to sleep. Alvarez has never fought a great boxer as Mayweather and it is hard to prepare for Mayweather. Alvarez however showed against Trout that he has a quick pair of hands and he is a natural junior Middleweight, so he will come into the fight as the stronger puncher. One punch can change the fight and if Alvarez lands the right punch , this can change the fight.
For me, this has the feel of a transformational fight in which we may be seeing the end of the era of one fighter and the beginning of a era of a new superstar. Mayweather made this fight for one reason, money. This was the fight that could bring in the big bucks as Alvarez will bring his own audience to Vegas. And the PPV numbers will be huge! The PPV number might hit numbers projected for Mayweather –Pacquiao. Mayweather had another reason for taking this fight. At 36 years, he is not getting younger and Alvarez is at the age where he is only getting better! Mayweather had to take this fight now or face a better Alvarez down the road one year older.
Showtime signed Mayweather to a six fight contract but this is the fight that threatens the contract as Mayweather could actually lose this one. Showtime may be willing to take the risk for the simple reason, this fight will be a money maker and there are no other fighters out there who would provide Showtime an assurance that they would actually make money.