With boxing's greatest current star set to re-enter the ring on May 4 in Las Vegas, the ultimate talk of a superfight will command media wavelengths with another Floyd Mayweather Jr. win.
It won't be with Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez or any of Money May's previous or dream opponents.
Canelo Alvarez is contender No. 1 for Mayweather's throne, assuming things go swimmingly against Robert Guerrero on May 4 in a bout that will be the first in a 30-month, six-fight span for the pound-for-pound king (h/t Showtime Sports).
It might not be the superfight we all expected, but it's the one that boxing needs right now.
As Mayweather enters the home stretch of his preparation for his early May bout with "The Ghost," there's little doubt that eyes will wander past this battle of highly rated stars and start looking to the next opponent for the world's greatest boxer (right now).
That theory stems from Alvarez's 12-round, unanimous decision win over Austin Trout in San Antonio, Texas over the weekend, an event that pulled in 40,000 people to the Alamodome and cements Alvarez (42-0-1) as one of the best remaining options to challenge Mayweather's 43-0 (44-0 if he manages to beat Guerrero) undefeated mark.
Throw in chatter that Alvarez called out Mayweather after his unanimous-decision win on Saturday (h/t Los Angeles Times), and the report from Boxing Scene that links Canelo to those that will be in attendance at the fight on May 4, and things are setting up for a superfight with Money May that might be better than the one we all originally wanted.
However, not everyone is ready for this fight to commence.
The 22-year-old Alvarez did take home the unified World Boxing Commission 154-pound title on Saturday night, and he did so while pulling enough fans and pay-per-view support to justify his status as one of boxing's rising stars.
Did he do enough to prove that his skill in the ring is worthy of that status?
Andreas Hale of Yahoo! Sports certainly doesn't think so, and you can tell by the decision to fight Guerrero that Mayweather hasn't been sold on Canelo's ability to push the monetary side of a fight or even contend with his pure speed and power in the ring.
Alvarez took home the unanimous decision on Saturday, but there's little doubt that the fight was closer than the biggest judge discrepancy (118-109). Trout's ability to avoid Canelo's power was on full display, and some commented that he coasted to a win rather than being aggressive in spots where he usually takes advantage.
Still, it's a fight that the boxing world is desperate to see.
After years of futility with respect to a potential Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, the last remaining champion with both the skill and the resume to challenge Mayweather before age and experience start to doom his long-term status is Canelo.
Top Rank has reportedly scheduled (h/t Boxing Scene) a Marquez-Timothy Bradley bout for Sept. 14 in Las Vegas for HBO pay-per-view—the same weekend that Mayweather is set to get in the ring again on Showtime.
As Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated notes on Twitter, the decision to push the JMM-Bradley fight on the same weekend as a schedule Mayweather bout bodes well for a huge opponent:
Chris Mannix @ChrisMannixYS
Top Rank's decision to do Marquez-Bradley on the 14th could increase the chances we see Mayweather-Canelo. Mexicans will support Marquez...4/23/2013, 7:47:51 PM
Mayweather has to get past Guerrero first.
It's not a forgone conclusion that Mayweather will still have the "0" in his professional record intact when he leaves the ring on May 4, and that's a direct result of his long layoff and Guerrero's rise through the ranks in respect to earning this bout.
However, Mayweather is still the sport's biggest draw for a reason—he's also the best fighter on the planet.
If he gets through Guerrero, expect chatter to heat up even more with regards to Canelo taking on the legendary Mayweather in an attempt to both boost his resume to its peak and allow Mayweather to have a replacement bout for the Pacquiao fiasco without losing talent in the other corner.
Canelo already wants this fight. If Mayweather wins on May 4, he should want it too.
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