By Mike Sloan: To say that Saturday’s showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Saul Alvarez will be the biggest fight of the year would be a gross understatement. It’s a duel that virtually every sports show at least mentions, if not debates it outright. It’s a matchup of the world’s finest fighter pound-for-pound in Mayweather - an undefeated future Hall of Famer who is the sport’s biggest name - and Alvarez, an immensely popular Mexican star.
Oh, and Canelo also happens to unbeaten and coming into his prime.
Most who don’t closely follow boxing typically loathe Mayweather and the general notion is that “Canelo” is finally the right guy to beat him. However, those in the know realize that it will likely be a daunting task for Canelo to edge the American. That is something that nobody has ever been able to do and most experts are apprehensive to pick Alvarez to score the upset.
But this is boxing and the promotional propaganda for this fight is something of legend. Everywhere you look in Las Vegas and in many cities abroad, you’ll see some sort of billboard sporting both fighters’ faces. ESPN has a constant ticker on the bottom with updated odds and quotes. Anybody who watches ESPN knows that boxing is usually treated like a leper and for the sports giant to continuously keep tabs on the fight must mean it’s a massive one.
There has been many a debate as to what will unfold in the ring on Saturday night inside the MGM Grand. Showtime will be televising the fight via their pay-per-view channel and it’s possible that it can become the highest-grossing fight in the history of the sport. Some suggest that Canelo’s style is the right one and that he’ll walk away with the win. Others are doubtful that Alvarez can bring any more to the table than what everybody has tried against Mayweather. Luckily for you, SecondsOut already knows who won the fight and we’re here to break down and explain exactly what will happen before the first bell. Read on to see who will win between Mayweather and Alvarez:
Punching power: Floyd obviously is not known as a knockout machine. Aside from his clearly legal one-punch destruction of Victor Ortiz, the Vegas resident last stopped an opponent in 2007, and that was against then-unbeaten Ricky Hatton. That was when many, many people predicted the English chap to beat Mayweather, before he went off the deep end and into a sea of vice. Canelo, for some reason, is regarded as a knockout artist (oh, those silly promoters!) yet he’s anything but. Yes, he has 32 knockouts on his ledger, but he’s not exactly a shorter, Mexican version of Archie Moore. Floyd usually shocks his foes with blinding speed and he knocks tons of people down; he unfortunately rarely goes for the jugular when it happens. Canelo tends to wear his nemeses down and his pressure is what gets to them. Since neither is a killing machine with his fists, this is one category that might be the closest of them all. Canelo is probably the stronger of the two, but Floyd’s speed nullifies that. Advantage: Push.
Speed: Canelo has got some fast hands attached to his arms. Too bad for him that he is taking on a man with hands that travel at the speed of light. Aside from his nearly impregnable defense, Mayweather has two of the quickest hands in the sport. To coincide with that, he is as accurate as a Texas Instruments calculator. This category is a complete whitewash because there is no point in even comparing the two. Advantage: Mayweather.
Size: Alvarez is a whopping one inch taller and walks around at a heavier weight. Whatever size differentials there are going into this fight will have absolutely no bearing on what will happen inside the ring. Don’t fall for the nonsense about Canelo being a natural junior middleweight. Advantage: push
Age factor: If there is anything that fans of Alvarez (or haters of Mayweather) can latch onto it’s this category. Canelo is only 23, hasn’t even reached his physical prime and look what he’s already accomplished. Mayweather is 36 and though he is still as elusive and quick as ever, he will have to slow down eventually. However, Floyd knows every single trick in the book and is next to impossible to hit clean, even if you pin him in a corner. Considering that Mayweather is still as sharp as ever and is always in the best possible shape, this is another category that shouldn’t add too much weight to the contest. Yes, Canelo is younger and hasn’t been fighting for as long as Mayweather, but he also has quite a bit of battles under his belt already. Mayweather has forgotten more about boxing than Canelo has learned and his vast experience will trump any would-be age advantage that Canelo doesn’t really have. Advantage: Mayweather
Chin: Mayweather was almost knocked out by Shane Mosley and he was rocked by both DeMarcus Corley and Zab Judah. Two things when discussing this: All three of those guys have vaunted punching power and not one was able to put him away. Canelo hasn’t really been in any serious peril like Mayweather was against Mosley, but eventually that will change. Still, Mayweather’s defense is so sharp that his chin is rarely tested. What it boils down to is which of the two would be able to take the other’s best shot if landed cleanly. Considering that Mayweather has already done the James Brown a few times in his career and Canelo really hasn’t, the Mexican gets the slight, slight nod. Advantage: Canelo
Experience: Even though Alvarez has taken on plenty of good fighters, this category is laughable. Yes, Matthew Hatton, Josesito Lopez, a horrendously faded Shane Mosley, Carlos Baldomir, Lovemore Ndou, Kermit Cintron and especially Austin Trout are all quality names to have on one’s resume. But aside from Trout, all of Canelo’s biggest wins have been against former champs way past their primes. While Mayweather has been criticized for never getting in the ring with a prime Manny Pacquiao, his ledger is a virtual who’s-who of boxing. Though he tore apart a not-as-faded-as-when-he-fought-Canelo Mosely, a past-his-best Oscar de la Hoya, and solid-but-not-elite guys like Robert Guerrero, Ortiz, Arturo Gatti and Baldomir, he has been in there with several elite level guys at their absolute best like Diego Corrales, Jose Luis Castillo (twice), Hatton and Judah, though that’s debatable. Also, Mayweather has been on the biggest stage for over a decade, something Canelo can’t boast. When it comes to overall experience, Mayweather is the orca to Canelo’s seal.
Intangibles: It’s likely that Canelo is the one with the bulk of the pressure on him. He’s never been in a fight of this magnitude where this is essentially just another day at the office for Mayweather. Also, Floyd hasn’t had to rely on being the money-tossin’, trash-talkin’ heel just to sell PPVs like he has so many times in the past. The idea that Floyd Sr. being in his corner and not Roger or that there is any disruption in training with his father and uncle both being around is also absurd. That was proven to be ludicrous back in May when Mayweather beat up Guerrero, so there’s really no point in the “experts” even trying to debate that issue again. Mayweather actually seems much more relaxed for this fight than he ever has in the past, which could prove to be even more disastrous for Alvarez. Also, Alvarez is loved by an entire country and millions more the world over. He fights for them and he wants nothing more than to beat Mayweather for all the people in Mexico. Mayweather fights for himself and never has to worry about that issue because, well, most people hate the guy anyway. Advantage: Mayweather
The bottom line: This will be a fun fight because it’s such a huge fight. Even when the biggest boxing events are dull, the sheer magnitude and energy within the arena always make them fantastic. The action will be solid early with Canelo pressing the issue and being effective, but after two, maybe three rounds, Mayweather will have already figured Canelo out. By the midway point of the fourth round, Mayweather will be in total command of the action and will slowly pick his opponent apart limb from limb. Floyd will rock Canelo with a perfect counter right hand in the ninth round, but he won’t be in position to take Canelo out. Instead, Floyd will be mesmerizing with his defense and precision counter punching, which will allow him to win a landslide unanimous decision. The official scores will be an appropriate 118-110, an understandable 117-111 but an absurd 115-113. Floyd Mayweather wins by unanimous decision. Bank on it.
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September 14, 2013