I like many in the boxing universe was pleasantly surprised to hear that on 14 September, Floyd Mayweather will face Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez at a catch weight of 152lbs at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
This is undoubtedly one of the biggest fights the sport has seen for years and Alvarez is certainly a legitimate threat to the 36-year-old pound for pound king’s undefeated record.
In the immediate aftermath of Mayweather’s dominant point’s victory over Robert Guerrero last May, Alvarez was the first name on many observers’ lips for a megabucks showdown in the near future.
However, Christmas has come early for fight fans looking for a throwback to what seems like a bygone era where the biggest and the best fought each other.
It was not long ago that the boxing world was bemoaning the fact that the clash of the titans bout between Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao would never happen after a serious of long and ultimately futile negotiations.
This could have been the biggest fight in boxing history and may even have dwarfed the astronomical revenue generated by Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya in 2007.
However, Mayweather’s six-fight, farewell tour with Showtime did not get off to the best possible start as it was reported that his bout with Guerrero was a box office bomb but this was flatly denied by Mayweather’s team, the network and Golden Boy Promotions’ CEO Richard Schaefer.
In the past, Mayweather has had a reputation for fighting “names” whose best days were behind them such as Shane Mosley and to a lesser extent the heralded Puerto Rican, Miguel Cotto.
However, despite taking up an Elvis Presley-esque residency in Las Vegas, Mayweather is not a bloated, grotesque caricature of his former charismatic and energetic self, he is right at the top of the tree and looking to fight the best.
He and the late “King of Rock and Roll” do have some things in common however. A soft spot for fast food (although not nearly in the same quantity) and an eye for garish stage attire, judging by Mayweather’s snakeskin shorts against Guerrero.
A fight with Alvarez is the most difficult Mayweather could have picked but it could not have come at a better time.
The 22-year-old is coming off the biggest win of his career, a unanimous point’s victory over the highly rated Austin Trout to unify the WBC and WBA light middleweight titles in front of 40,000 fans at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
The unbeaten youngster has the makings of a modern-day Hispanic hero but despite not being at the same level as the aforementioned De La Hoya or Julio Cesar Chavez, he has become an overnight sensation in his home country of Mexico and will draw more money than any other possible Mayweather challengers.
However, Alvarez is by no means a sacrificial lamb to the slaughter. Despite defeating Cotto at light middleweight, “Money” did not look entirely comfortable throughout the fight and the tenacious Cotto certainly roughed up Mayweather for a period of the bout.
A significant factor in this fight is the fact that there is no rehydration clause in the contract, which means that Alvarez will be able to replenish himself fully before he enters the ring.
It’s more than likely that Mayweather will not add any significant weight whereas Alvarez could balloon and seriously out-weigh his older and smaller foe.
Despite a 14 year age gap, Alvarez has only had one less fight than Mayweather. However, Mayweather has been fighting the very best at the highest possible level before Alvarez was a teenager.
Mayweather is no fool, we know that much. He knows that Alvarez is not the finished article and it would make perfect sense to take advantage of the opportunity to pounce on a fighter on the ascension instead of a fully fledged pound for pound star, a throne he currently assumes.
Floyd Mayweather did not earn the nickname “Money” by just facing anybody. He should be commended for making the fights the fans want and would spend their money to see.
There is absolutely nothing negative to say about this fight. It’s a mammoth clash between the richest athlete in the world and an up and coming cult hero, which will have the pugilistic purists salivating and the casual viewers returning to the sport.
This is potentially a career-defining fight for both men and we should all rejoice in the fact that it has come so soon