By Alex Caveda: With just two weeks to go before the biggest fight of the year, the Mayweather and Alvarez training camps are moving up through the gears. The September 14th showdown between Floyd “Money” Mayweather, and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez for the WBC light middleweight. Title in Las Vegas might just break all records as the highest grossing fight outside of the heavyweight division.
This would not be surprising, considering that it pits the biggest draw in American boxing, Mayweather, against Alvarez, the biggest draw in Mexican boxing. For Alvarez this is his first Pay-Per-View mega-event. At just 23 years old the unbeaten Mexican superstar has tasted plenty of success thus far, and is coming off his biggest win this past April,out-pointing Austin Trout. There is of course also the sub-plot of Alvarez being promoted by Oscar De La Hoya’s “Golden Boy Promotions”, and with De La Hoya a former Mayweather victim, Alvarez could avenge his promoter’s honor.
Being that Alvarez has not fought at this level before, it is impossible to know exactly what he is thinking, although to his credit he seems composed, and eager for action come September 14th. On the other hand, Mayweather has been involved in major events for over a decade now. Since his 1998 win over Genaro “Chicanito” Hernandez for the WBC 130lb. title, Mayweather has seen nothing but big fights, and a long streak success in the ring. While it is remarkable that Mayweather has remained at the top level for 15 years, it is even more remarkable when you consider that save for two bouts (2002 with Jose Luis Castillo, and 2007 with De La Hoya, both decision wins for Mayweather), none of “Money’s” bouts in that long stretch have even been all that competitive. It has been a rare event that Mayweather even loses a round during a fight, which adds to the aura of his unbeaten record.
Earlier this year Mayweather made a young, world-class boxer, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, look very ordinary . With his speed, and timing Mayweather makes boxing at the elite level look easy. Clearly, to maintain this level of success, Mayweather has to have a great degree of focus when entering the ring. This writer had the pleasure of watching Mayweather train at the Mayweather Boxing Club earlier this week.
As usual, the media circus surrounding a major boxing event, is already palpable for the Mayweather-Alvarez fight. In training Mayweather seemed almost nonchalant, as if he was oblivious to the many eyes, and cameras surrounding his workout this past Wednesday. As has become the pattern of late, Mayweather began his workout later in the day than expected, but when he did finally emerge, he was the picture of concentration. After working out on the pads, “Money” began to work out on the heavy bag. There was no public sparring during Wednesday’s training camp. During his workout Mayweather appeared very relaxed, and even appeared to be chewing something (perhaps gum) during the workout.
Throughout “Money” was watched closely by his father and trainer Floyd Mayweather Snr. What struck me was the strong bond between Mayweather, and his father. It was an unspoken bond between two men that know the sport of boxing, and know that once again it is time to do the business. Both father, and son had facial expressions that showed focus, but absolutely no visible signs of worry ahead of the big event. The Mayweather heavy bag workout consisted of a marathon 10-minute “round” (rounds are normally 3 minutes), where Mayweather appeared to be working on his stamina, and body punching. While a heavy bag is not an opponent, there were three things that were impressive about Floyd’s display. Firstly, his calm composure, and secondly, the fact that he was busy throughout the 10 minutes. However, the third, and most impressive thing to me was Mayweather’s focus on digging body punches. As Alvarez is a noted body puncher, Mayweather appears to be refining his own body attack in these final weeks of preparation, and he mixed in the body shots well during this workout. While it is impossible to tell what will happen when the bell rings, I would not be surprised if the early rounds of Mayweather-Alvarez became a battle of body punches. After all, the man with the better body attack will have a major advantage should the bout go into the latter rounds.
The general idea I get is that Mayweather will be ready when September 14th arrives. At age 36, Mayweather has remained unbeaten to this point, and he has shown no signs of slowing down during his training camp. We are now just two weeks away from the biggest boxing event of 2013. The media circus rolls on, but both men know that they must be ready for battle. Fight fans will tune in to see if this is the dawn of a new era in boxing, or if Mayweather will add to his already remarkable ledger. When that first bell rings the questions boxing fans have about the man they call “Money”, and the man they call “Canelo” will be answered.
September 1, 2013