Boxing fans can hope and pray all they want for Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao to finally put on the "Fight of the Century," but any attempt to do so will likely have to wait.
And not just because Money May is scheduled to start a 90-day jail sentence on June 1.
If Saturday night's undercard plays out as most expect it will, then Mayweather figures to find himself face-to-face this fall with Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, not Pacquiao. The 21-year-old phenom from Guadalajara, Mexico is set to tough gloves with "Sugar" Shane Mosley as a preface to Mayweather's matchup with Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The 40-year-old Mosley has lost two of his last three and is widely expected to add another defeat to his falling resume this weekend.
Alvarez, on the other hand, is undefeated through 40 career fights, including 29 knockouts and one draw against Jorge Juarez back in June of 2006. He's won on the undercard to a Mayweather fight before, when he ousted Alfonso Gomez by TKO at the Staples Center in Los Angeles last September just prior to Money May's somewhat controversial victory against Victor Ortiz.
A bout between Canelo, the young gun, and Mayweather, the elder statesman, would certainly be a big draw. Assuming both win on Cinco de Mayo, such a contest would pit two undefeated pugilists against one another, the most popular fighter in Mexico (other than Juan Manuel Marquez, at least) against one of the greatest boxers of his generation.
If not of all time.
Granted, Canelo vs. Money May would still lag behind the fight that everyone wants to see in just about every respect. As big of a rising star as Alvarez may be, he's still nowhere near the global icon that Pacquiao is already and, as such, has plenty of ground yet to make up in earning power and mass appeal.
A win over an over-the-hill Sugar Shane, whom Mayweather and Pacquiao have both dominated in recent years, wouldn't exactly change that.
It would, however, put Canelo at the front of the line of challengers hoping to rake in a big payday against Money May and push Pacquiao out of the picture once again.
However much to the chagrin of the boxing public.