The sporting world, in its very nature, harbors an inherent athletic Darwinism. The strong continually trump the weaker opponents, until only two competitors remain. However, this inborn trait of competition becomes complicated, and is often compromised in the sport of boxing. It is a sport in which weight classes and multiple league promotions become barriers that rob fans of dream matchups. Given this complicated boxing climate, it often becomes difficult for polarizing figures of the sport to cement their legacy as all time greats unless they take enormous risks by fighting out of their normal weight class. And amongst current pugilists, there are none more polarizing than the eccentric Floyd “Money” Mayweather.
Born in Grand Rapids, Mich., the 36-year-old Mayweather touts an undefeated record of 44-0 with 22 career knockouts. The phenom is almost unanimously considered to be the best active boxer in the world, and by some to be among the greatest of all time. However, what currently separates Mayweather from boxing legends such as Henry Robinson and Sugar Ray Robinson is that Money has often been criticized for avoiding dangerous opponents with size advantages. Seemingly taking the criticism to heart, the glory seeking Mayweather announced via twitter that he would be fighting a younger, larger opponent in Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
Alvarez is a young prospect who is widely acknowledged as a top 10 pound-for-pound fighter. Despite being only 22 years old, Canelo has participated in 43 professional bouts and has won each and every one, 30 by knockout. Alvarez may just be the most dangerous fighter that Mayweather has faced in his 17 years as a professional boxer. If there is anything that Rocky Balboa’s fictitious beating at the hands of Clubber Lang has taught us, it is that there is nothing more dangerous to a wealthy, aging boxing legend than a younger, bigger, stronger, and hungrier heavy hitter who is not afraid to throw fist bombs in order to stake his claim as the greatest.
The bout will take place on September 14th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and is predicted to rival Mayweather vs. Oscar de la Hoya’s 2007 record breaking numbers of 2.5 million Pay-per-view buys. Boxing fans are well aware that this is a matchup for the ages. Canelo Alvarez has a size advantage and enough power to put just about any man on the planet to sleep. Mayweather, though smaller, has never (technically) been knocked down, will be quicker than his adversary, and will not have to endure a strenuous weight cut in order to reach the 152-pound catchweight. The Michigan native will attempt to extinguish the Mexican born Alvarez’s powerful onslaught by utilizing his evasive shoulder roll defense, and by goading the youngster into a timely counter punch in the later rounds.
None of these numbers or predictions matter to the youthful underdog, however. Like Mr. T’s Clubber Lang, Alvarez is hungry. He pummels his sparring partners and punishes heavy bags hours upon hours each day, fashioning dreams of things to come, and visions of what lies in store for his opponent. A crushing left to the floating rib for glory, a devastating hook to the liver for the fruition of dreams, and a right hand to the jaw, directly on the button, to turn out Floyd Mayweather’s lights- a pugilist’s kiss goodnight. Aspirations of greatness thrown into every blow. Nothing personal, he just wants what you’ve got. Will Canelo’s dreams come true? Nobody can know for sure, but I for one, pity the fool who fails to take him seriously.