It was a big shocker Wednesday night when Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced he was going to take on newcomer Saul “Canelo” Alvarez this September.
Mayweather had stated he wanted to fight Alvarez only at 147 pounds, and Alvarez stated that 154 pounds was as low as he could go. It was posturing, of course, as now Mayweather is coming off a dismantling of Robert Guerrero and Alvarez has his own win over Austin Trout. It’s a matchup made in pay-per-view heaven, as well, with Alvarez being the fresh-faced Mexican fighter with a burgeoning fan base and Mayweather being the most bankable fighter in combat sports right now.
It’s something that Mayweather can “underperform” at the box office in that regard and still clear a million buys, from what sources have said. Alvarez makes the most sense in that regard, as well.
Showtime should be looking at 1.5 million buys (at a minimum) based on Mayweather’s established audience, and the perception of what Alvarez should bring to the table, in what should be the biggest fight of 2013. People are already discussing that this could break Mayweather’s record against Oscar De La Hoya.
Between the hyperbole and the bare minimum Mayweather brings to the table, we’re looking at a reality of a massive success. How big will be a good indicator of Alvarez’s true stardom at this point. He has yet to be the main point of a PPV but has drawn enough numbers on Showtime that we think he can add something substantial to the equation.
It was the best possible option for Mayweather, of course, as his list of opponents was either a retread he had beaten before (Juan Manuel Marquez, among others) or the usual fantasy matchup with Manny Pacquiao that fans still clamor for but won’t get. Mayweather has beaten nearly everyone else that matters, as well, and outside of Timothy Bradley there aren’t a whole lot of options for him in the way of new matchups.
Mayweather may be known for not fighting all that often, but of all the guys who would be suitable matchups for him there aren’t a whole lot of fresh faces. There doesn’t seem to be interest on either party for a Pacquiao fight, either, and Alvarez is seen as potentially the next big boxing superstar.
In every way it’s a super fight except one: competitiveness.
Mayweather is the best boxer on the planet on a pound for pound basis; that we know. It was debatable for a while, of course, up until the moment right after Pacquiao walked into Marquez’s fist and into unconsciousness. At that moment, Mayweather moved into that No. 1 spot and hasn’t relinquished it.
Robert Guerrero took a couple of rounds from him, but in the end, Mayweather masterfully fought and defeated him. It has been that way for a while for Mayweather. His dedication to his craft is still there despite all the TMZ-fueled shenanigans that keep him in the news. His abilities have declined, as he’s lost a number of steps, but he has managed to compensate for it.
Alvarez has slowly but surely been pushed forward, looking like a superstar along the way. But there was a funny thing that happened against Austin Trout: Alvarez didn’t look ready. Every fighter has that moment when he arrives, when he might not have the credentials to look like an elite fighter but the eyeball test confirms everything you think. Alvarez didn’t have that simple confirmation that showed he could take on Mayweather and have a good chance at winning.
Trout’s no slouch, of course, but Alvarez didn’t look like he was going to be capable of taking on Mayweather in the next 12 months and win. Alvarez has plenty on his side going into the fight, from a probable 20-pound advantage in the ring to a sizeable fan base to cheer him on. But the one thing he won’t have on his side is a good chance at winning.
This is a “money” matchup for Mayweather, nothing more.