Is Canelo Alvarez now the biggest fight out there for Money Mayweather?
It's natural, given all the nonsense that has permeated talks of a superfight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, that the public would begin to lose interest.
And, in large part, this is true. Most people are now in the "I'll believe it when I see it" mindset, neither concerned nor waiting for the fight to happen.
To these eyes, the fight, while having lost some luster due to the constant back-and-forth, is still the biggest one from a financial and boxing point of view. But it is certainly not the only one people care about at this stage.
If you listen to Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya, the level of public disinterest has gone even beyond what most observers would recognize. According to him, this is no longer even the fight most people want to see.
De La Hoya told Bill Emes of BoxingScene.com:
I think the hundred million dollar question now is when the Canelo-Mayweather fight is going to happen. People that I run into...I go walking down the streets in [Los Angeles]. They don't ask me about the shows we're doing. They ask 'when is Canelo fighting Mayweather?
Now, a word of caution is in order. Both Floyd Mayweather and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez fight under the Golden Boy banner. However, Mayweather has a more complicated arrangement and is able to make his own decisions in negotiations.
And if there's one thing Oscar's promotional outfit is good at, it's hyping its fighters.
It's also worth noting that Los Angeles is a heavily Hispanic area and has a high percentage of Mexican-Americans that make up a large segment of Alvarez's fanbase.
Which is a bigger fight?
It's understandable that they would want to see the fighter, who has been hyped as the next great champion from their nation, test his skills against the best fighter in the world.
But is Alvarez ready for this stage? The answer is the subject of much debate.
At just 22 years old, and despite his 42 professional fights, Canelo is still a prospect in terms of boxing ability.
While he has certainly had as impressive a young career as one can hope for in the sport, he has yet to step into the ring with any fighter that would suggest he's ready for a challenge the scope of Floyd Mayweather Jr.
To date, his biggest wins have come over past-their-prime former champions—Shane Mosley, Kermit Cintron and Carlos Baldomir—and solid but unspectacular contenders such as Alfonso Gomez, Matthew Hatton and Lovemore N'dou.
This is not a knock on Canelo. He's doing what he needs to do given his age. But a jump from his current level of opposition to Floyd Mayweather Jr. might just be too big to chew for him.
There is no doubt that Mayweather v. Canelo would be a huge money-making machine. It would draw in many of the constituencies that make PPV fights successful.
You would have the Mayweather fans, of which there are many, the Mayweather haters, of which there are an equal if not larger amount, and Canelo's huge and growing fanbase.
It's a recipe for financial success, even if it might not be the best fight.
The only place where it would likely fail is in its ability to become a mainstream sports event.
A Mayweather-Pacquaio clash would not be a boxing story, it would be a sports story and would draw in an untold number of people who don't generally dole out time or money for boxing.
It would give boxing the sort of mainstream attention it used to receive in its heyday, but has lacked in recent years.
In that sense, the hype of the past three years could actually turn into a benefit, as you could already see the promotional posters for the fight: "Finally: Mayweather vs. Pacquiao."
It would receive more media and fan attention than any fight, including Mayweather v. Alvarez or Martinez or Bradley or whoever else.
But the simple fact is, fortunately or unfortunately depending on your perspective, we are much likelier to see Alvarez—not Pacquiao—face Mayweather.
And who knows? The school of thought that says Floyd Mayweather Jr. will eventually lose has revolved around one of two theories.
One, he would face Manny Pacquiao.
Or two, he would face a young, up-and-coming fighter who, on that night, is just younger, hungrier and more determined than Floyd himself.
Add to the second part that Floyd Mayweather is now entering the stage of his career where many fighters, especially those who rely on speed and reflexes, begin to see their skills decline.
Granted, even a declining Floyd, with his skill set, is still probably enough to handle nearly every fighter out there. But he's 35 now, and he'll be 36 in all likelihood before he steps back into a boxing ring.
Sometimes, guys get old overnight. Sometimes, a guy with potential, like Alvarez, stunningly puts it together in one signature performance. And sometimes, a guy just lands that lottery shot.
You never know, and that's the beauty of boxing.