After Saturdays Light Middleweight Unification bout between Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Adrian ‘No Doubt’ Sprout – in which WBA champ Canelo won by unanimous decision to claim Trout’s WBC strap, and the vacant Ring Magazine belt – one thing became abundantly clear: Floyd Mayweather Jnr is only valid opponent for the 22-year-old Mexican sensation.
The boxing world has been inexplicably deprived, for over 4 years, of the opportunity to witness Mayweather vs Pacquaio, in a genuine era-defining fight. A similar failure to make Mayweather vs Alvarez come to fruition would be unacceptable.
Boxing needs this fight. There is no other way.
The negotiations between Pacquaio and Mayweather’s camps, unfortunately, always seemed doomed to failure. But a clash of two undefeated champions, with all four 154lb titles at stake, between ‘Canelo’ and ‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd, is not fraught with such complexity as both fighters now ply their trade exclusively on the Showtime network. Moreover, Golden Boy Promotions supremo, Oscar De La Hoya, will move heaven and earth to make it happen because, he knows, he must deliver a super fight fit to rival the epic wars of Rios/Alvarado 2, and Timothy Bradley/Ruslan Provodnikov, both of which were promoted by bitter rival Bob Arum’s Top Rank and shown on HBO, also sworn enemies of Showtime and GBP.
More important, however, is the chance to unify, completely, the light middleweight division. Picking up his biggest ever fight purse should prove irresistible to Mayweather, who is seduced by success and money in equal measure.
Whereas the man from Mexico? He just loves to fight.
This is another major reason why Mayweather must be so keen to make it happen- he will have courage in the conviction that he can use Alvarez’s relentless aggression against him, and capitalise on the plentiful opportunities to counter punch when Canelo over-commits while on the offensive.
In 2009, after Pacquaio destroyed the unbeaten Miguel Cotto with a flawless performance to claim the Welterweight title – his eighth in as many weight classes – I personally feel Mayweather viewed the Pilipino superstar as a force of nature who, at that time, could not be reckoned with. In contrast, I feel Mayweather will have seen nothing to convince him that Saul Alvarez will be anything other than another high profile victim of his imperious brilliance. Someone, who will further cement his legacy and highlight the gaping chasm between him and the rest of the chasing pack.
Pretty Boy Floyd – who at 36 is now approaching bus pass age in boxing terms – still possesses a seemingly impenetrable defence, lightening fast hand speed, even quicker reflexes and supreme ring general ship. Crucially, the power and ruthless precision of his punches, with either hand, also remain intact. Apart from his first fight with Jose Luis Castillo, he has never been truly tested by any of his opponents and has proved as impossible to hit as it has been to find the Loch Ness Monster.
But surely he cannot continue to defy the hands of time forever, can he?
Maybe, just maybe, Saul Alvarez could be the man who hands Floyd Mayweather Jnr his first defeat to end his reign as the undisputed king of the ring.
To stand any chance of doing this however, Canelo would have to achieve a feat that everyone else has found impossible: force Mayweather to fight back in order to defend himself.
However, if Mayweather managed to repel all Alvarez’s attacks by rolling the punches and hiding behind his defensive stance, whilst being just aggressive enough to score points, the outcome would be an all too familiar one: Mayweather wins by unanimous decision.
The odds would certainly be stacked against Canelo causing an upset against the great Floyd Mayweather Jnr, but he must get the chance to try and confound the odds and create his own, unique, piece of boxing history.