We have a super-fight! On September 14th, in Las Vegas, the world’s welterweight, and reigning pound-for-pound champion, Floyd Mayweather, (44-0, 26 KOs), will be climbing up in weight to face the world’s junior middleweight champion, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, (42-0-1, 30 KOs). The highly sought after commodity that is Mayweather-Alvarez, is now coming to fruition, and by the reaction generated across the net by casual fans alone, two-ton paychecks will be waiting in the wings for each man just for signing the dotted line. Las Vegas will be raking in boat loads, literally boat loads, of cash throughout fight-week. Celebrities will be out in abundance, and since the Los Angeles Lakers’ season will have yet to have commenced by fight night, there may even be a Jack Nicholson sighting. The famous strip on Las Vegas Boulevard will become little Mexico and Floyd Mayweather will be in the brightest spotlight he has been in since facing Oscar De La Hoya in 2007, which is bound to bring the best pre-fight material we have seen from Mayweather since. Oh, and boxing history will be on the line with tens of millions watching.
With Mayweather, inking the deal to face a fellow undefeated, younger champion, he may finally (well, hopefully) get the credit he deserves for fighting the world’s best. Mayweather knew this fight was the bout all eyes wanted to see very shortly after signing his 250,000,000$ deal with Showtime/CBS Sports, and at age 36, Mayweather is not getting any younger. Couple that with Alvarez, 22, only being at the sport’s highest tier once, last April against Austin Trout, and Mayweather has put himself in the best position possible to come away with a career defining victory. Father time is undefeated, but it has yet to have knocked on Mayweather’s door. However, as seen many times, Father time can come crashing through that door without warning in an instant. Mayweather knows this, just like he knew everybody wanted him to mix it up with Alvarez. So rather than wait, and give the grandfather clock more time to keep ticking, and Alvarez more time to keep improving, Mayweather took up the challenge now.
Some within in the sport believe Alvarez is ready for Mayweather. Alvarez may be big, thick, strong, and plods forward a bit, but none of that equates to Alvarez being without hand speed, and his punching power (along with the red hair) is what has always caught the eye. On the other side of the fence, however, are the boxing pundits who believe Alvarez simply is not ready for Mayweather, and that at age 22, despite already being a champion, he lacks the experience in big-time fights to truly succeed against the sport’s best. Which ever train of thought people may land on, they will be hard pressed to pick a stiffer, more worthy challenger to Floyd Mayweather. Remember, it was Alvarez who mere minutes after the biggest triumph in his professional career muttered the words “I want Mayweather.” That is what is most important, Alvarez feels he is ready.
The boxing gods seem to be apologizing for what was the last true super-fight that could have been made, Pacquiao-Mayweather, never being made. It seems as though they knew the sport could not really afford to squander two enormous fights in a row, and they have not. After only 6 months of Juan Manuel Marquez knocking out any chances of Mayweather-Pacquiao being what it could have been in previous years, “Canelo” has sprung up to save the day and give Mayweather the dance partner he needed.
Questions are right now, and will continue to be, abound. Will Mayweather’s contractual demand of Alvarez having to come in at a 152 pounds, rather than the limit of 154, hamper Alvarez’s performance? Mayweather has had two fights at the division, against De La Hoya and Cotto, both times receiving two of the tougher fights of his career. Will we indeed, see if Mayweather is not the same fighter at junior middleweight than he is at welterweight? Does Alvarez have the poise, and polish in his repertoire to sustain his cool if he is to be down on the cards early? Or befuddled by Mayweather’s defense? Will Alvarez have the ring IQ to make adjustments against Mayweather who makes better adjustments than anyone else in boxing? Will father time finally take Mayweather’s scalp? Or will it not matter if Mayweather is at his best, can Alvarez overcome a vintage Mayweather? Will we have a decisive victor? If it is a close fight that goes to the cards, will the judges be more inclined to give the decision to Mayweather, because he has been the face of the sport for nearly a decade? Or will Alvarez get the nod being 14 years younger, with what should be a pro-Alvarez MGM Grand Garden Arena? Mayweather has been an inactive fighter for the past 5 years, typically fighting once a year, and now he is fighting twice in a four month span. Will that affect Mayweather? Will we see the same Saul Alvarez we saw against Austin Trout? Or at 22, will Alvarez have improved? Will Alvarez succumb to the mental gymnastics Floyd implements heading into a fight? Until we reach about 8:30 PM, Pacific Time, on September 14th, none of these questions will truly begin to be answered. As for speculation and debate? Ding Ding! May they begin.