There has been a lot of talk in recent months about a potential megafight between pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Mexican rising star Saul Canelo Alvarez.
Many have even prognosticated that Canelo could be the man to finally take the zero off Floyd's golden resume.
As usual when it comes to boxing, many—and in this case, it includes several knowledgeable pundits—are wrong. Alvarez is nowhere near ready for a fight or a fighter of this caliber.
Allow me to preface this by saying that Alvarez is one hell of a young fighter. He has power, can box and punch and has a tremendously bright future ahead of him if he remains committed to boxing.
Having said that, Alvarez, despite his 42 professional fights, is just 22 years old. People tend to forget that because he has been hyped from the day he set foot on American soil.
In boxing terms, that makes him, despite his WBC junior middleweight championship, somewhat of a prospect. And in a sport like boxing, where the mental game is as important as the physical, that still counts for something.
To think that at this stage of his career, and at his age, he is ready for someone of Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s caliber is simply ridiculous. And that's in no way a knock on Canelo.
It's a knock on the immediate-gratification culture that has pervaded boxing in recent years. Fighters aren't allowed to come along gradually anymore. The minute a boxer has a belt, he's expected to make the jump, ready or not.
Is Canelo Alvarez ready for Floyd Mayweather Jr.?
This is how once-promising careers are ruined. It's largely due to the fact that virtually every fighter owns some version of a championship belt.
Just as importantly, it's because we are constantly searching for the next great (insert ethnicity and weight class here). American heavyweight, Mexican lightweight, etc.
There is absolutely nothing on Alvarez's resume that indicates he is ready to take the physical and mental jump and get in there with a man considered to be one of the best pure boxers in the history of the sport.
Just look for yourself and determine whether Alvarez is ready for this challenge. He has defeated some big-name fighters, for sure, but most if not all were past their primes. Carlos Baldomir, Lovemore N'dou, Kermit Cintron and Shane Mosley were once very good fighters.
But when they fought Canelo, you can't argue that all weren't past their best. And most were well past it.
In other words, Alvarez would be taking a massive leap in class and skill to make this fight. Not all that dissimilar to what fellow Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. did in getting nearly shut out by Sergio Martinez last month.
Now, you can certainly argue that Alvarez is a superior fighter to Chavez Jr., but that's not the point. The comparison is in the class jump both would make for a superfight of this caliber.
Alvarez is going to be a boxing superstar. He might even be the next great Mexican fighter, which is a major accomplishment in and of itself.
Physically, Alvarez is bigger and probably stronger than Mayweather. So was Diego Corrales. But boxing isn't always a physical sport, as many fights are won and lost upstairs. And there, Floyd has a massive advantage.
There is nobody in the sport better than Mayweather. He is superb in every facet of the game and has a level of experience that Alvarez can only dream of at this stage in his career.
That's not a criticism; it's a fact.
Mayweather is not just a superb boxer, he's also the smartest in-ring fighter in the history of the sport. He knows exactly what weaknesses to exploit and has the ability to change plans on a dime if something isn't working.
He will find the holes in Alvarez's game and exploit them. He should and would win this fight, make no mistake about it.
It's not a fight he should take. It will do nothing to enhance his legacy. You don't get credit for winning fights you should win. You get credit for taking challenges and overcoming them.
Mayweather has done that plenty of times in his career, and he deserves his due. However, this would not be one of those challenges. And it's a fight that Canelo's people should be roundly criticized for discussing.
Is it a huge money fight for him? Absolutely. Mayweather is one of boxing's lottery tickets. A boxer would make more fighting him than anyone else.
But it's not a fight Alvarez is ready to win.
The problem is that by the time Alvarez is ready for this fight, Mayweather will likely be long gone.
So, again, in boxing, money talks.