It would be an earthquake if Floyd Mayweather loses
Is this the biggest fight that can be made in boxing?
Dan Rafael: Absolutely, Mayweather-Alvarez is the biggest fight that can be made in boxing today. Floyd is the top draw and the pound-for-pound king. Alvarez has proven to be a big draw, at least at the gate, since he drew a crowd of 40,000 to his previous fight. More important, by beating Trout he proved to a lot of people he is the top guy at 154 other than maye Mayweather. So if you combine the drawing power of both guys and consider that Alvarez’s popularity is just beginning to boom – and he is already super popular among Latino fans – this fight is a monster.
Larry Merchant: If not them, who? From the buzz in California, where I live and Canelo is adored, this fight is bigger than the biggest.
Tris Dixon: I think so. Any fight that involves Mayweather is huge and to match him against the most popular young Hispanic fighter active in the marketplace means this bout would do more on pay-per-view in the US than any other in world boxing.
How much advantage does the 152lbs catchweight take away from Alvarez?
DR: I don’t think much at all. I’m not a huge fan of catch weights, but they are a part of boxing and have been around forever. They’re not going anywhere. That said, at the elite level I don’t think two pounds makes a damn bit of difference for Alvarez, who was a welterweight not all that long ago.
LM: It shows primarily that Mayweather could throw around his weight in the dominance ritual of negotiations. It's unlikely to affect an ambitious young challenger. Canelo, incidentally, is likely to outweigh Mayweather by upwards of ten pounds on the night.
TD: We will have to see on the night. It could mean everything, or it could mean very little. Alvarez is only 22 but he is a growing man and has toiled at the scales for previous fights. We know that it won't affect Floyd, who will probably come in under the limit by a couple of pounds. The clause means it adds another couple of per cent to Floyd's already high chances of victory.
Should Alvarez have had more seasoning?
DR: No. When you can make a fight where you can earn $10 million-plus and you’ve already had more than 40 fights and you are a legitimate world champion you take the biggest fight in the entire sport. It’s a no-brainer. This opportunity is here now for him and it would have been foolish to turn it down. When you make an eight-figure payday, you’re not a loser no matter what happens.
LM: The kid reeled in the top man in his division, Trout, and is about to make a fortune and a half. Sounds seasoned to me. Precocious talent makes its own calendar.
TD: Ideally yes. He was given a good fight by Austin Trout, although some reckon he did very well against champion. Alvarez, for someone without lots of amateur experience, has come up the right way and had a long novice apprenticeship. He's fought veterans like Carlos Baldomir and Shane Mosley, learning as he's gone along. The thing is, if he had more seasoning, say another 12 months worth, Floyd would be 38 and I'm not sure this fight would happen. Maybe, just maybe, Floyd thinks Alvarez is too young and too inexperienced.
Is Mayweather past his best?
DR: I think he’s closer to the end than the beginning, obviously, and I think he has a lost maybe a step but he’s still the best. He may be past his best, but he is still the best in the sport.
LM: Probably, but he's smart enough to conceal it and to pick opponents who can't expose it.
TD: Yes, and he probably was some time ago. That he is still head and shoulders above his competition speaks volumes about how good he was and still is. A few years ago, there seemed to be any number of fighters we wanted him to box. Now, he has either outlasted them and they are not relevant or he has beaten them. If Alvarez can't beat him, it's hard to see who, other than Father Time, can.
Why has Floyd opted to fight his best challenger?
DR: Good question. For one thing, Floyd is an extremely smart evaluator of potential opponents. He has carefully selected opponents since he moved up to light-welterweight. That said I am not entirely convinced that Alvarez is his best opponent.
LM: First, because the show with Guerrero underperformed expectations on pay-per-view, damaging the "money" brand. This one could outperform higher expectations. Second, because Mayweather blew the Pacquaio extravaganza and doesn't want to blow another one.
TD: Cynics will say money. There was speculation his last fight with Robert Guerrero did not do as well as anticipated – although that was firmly denied by Showtime. Floyd says it's for his legacy and maybe it is, because a win over a young buck like 'Canelo' won't do him any harm, particularly if Alvarez goes on to achieve great things.
How well will it do on PPV in the USA?
DR: Guaranteed over a million and well over a million. I think it has a real chance to be in the high one millions and become, at worst, the second-biggest selling pay-per-view for a non-heavyweight fight. That means more than 1.5 million. I think it has an outside shot to do 2 million or more, which would make it second all-time for any weight class. I still think the Mayweather-De La Hoya record of 2.5 million is probably out of reach but the fight is still an absolute monster. Has already broken the all-time gate record and the Golden Boy folks says it is already breaking closed circuit and sponsorship records.
LM: I've bought into the hype because of the nearly 40,000 that Canelo drew when he fought Trout.
TD: Really well. They've promoted it incredibly in the US with a tour that ended up taking in nine-stops, and they've bolstered the show with the cracking co-feature between Danny Garcia and Lucas Matthysse, which has it's own three-city media tour. They want it to break the 2.4-2.5million homes Oscar De La Hoya-Mayweather did in 2007 but I reckon it will do around 2m. I'm not sure the wider public knows enough about 'Canelo' whereas De La Hoya was world famous and Mayweather said all the right things.
How much of a surprise would it be if Alvarez won?
DR: Alvarez is the underdog for a reason. I think even though the fight is going to be absolutely massive, an Alvarez victory would shock a lot of people.
LM: Mayweather has done such a magnificent job of convincing the unwashed that being unbeaten makes him unbeatable that it would be an earthquake to many if he loses.
TD: I'd say it would be a significant upset. Some point to his youth, freshness and low-mileage but Mayweather is a very different kettle of fish to everyone he has faced so far. An Alvarez victory would not be of the James 'Buster' Douglas-Mike Tyson variety but there are reasons the Mexican is the outsider.
How will it enhance Mayweather’s legacy if he wins?
DR: I don’t think it really does enhance his legacy all that much. He’s already a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He is already the best fighter of his time. He has already set records for purses and pay-per-views and won a bunch of titles.
LM: Winning in typical methodical technical style would change nothing.
TD: He will be the first guy in more than 40 fights to beat Alvarez. It will be another opponent he has beaten before he starts on the downward slide and it's a massive fight. It adds another name to his already long list of accomplishments. I'm not sure it will give his legacy any real boost, but his legacy would have been affected if he fought lesser fighters than Alvarez. Also, if 'Canelo' goes onto achieve great things after a defeat to Floyd, that certainly won't do Floyd any harm
If he loses, how will that affect how he is remembered?
DR: If he loses, he’ll still be remembered as an all-time fighter but certainly he loses some luster if he loses to a 23-year-old kid who is pretty one-dimensional who has exactly one top win – Trout – on his record and that win isn’t even THAT big.
LM: Fighters are rarely redefined after their primes. But if he loses and then wins a rematch in dramatic fashion that would add to his resume. (See Robinson - Turpin.)
TD: Mayweather has spent so long preserving his '0' it's now part of his identity. If he loses that then it could change. There would be no disgrace in losing to a man around 14 years his junior and who's tipped for super-stardom. But Mayweather, with future fights already in the pipeline with the likes of Lucas Matthysse and Amir Khan, is not thinking along those lines.
Will the co-feature between Lucas Matthysse and Danny Garcia steal the show?
DR: On paper, it should. Awesome matchup. To me, the card as the No. 1 match in the sport – the main event – and the No. 2 match in the sport in the co-feature.
LM: No. One hopes. It would have to be Hagler-Hearnsish to put a dent in the main event.
TD: In a way. It is almost certain to be a shootout between two top punchers and it could figure there or thereabouts in the Fight of the Year stakes at the end of 2013. But all eyes will be on Mayweather-Alvarez, which by the time it comes round will be the fight on everybody's lips, bar a few hardcore fight people who will be licking their lips by the promise of a light-welterweight slugfest.
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