The hard part is over now. Both Floyd Mayweather and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez have defeated their most recent opposition to set up perhaps the most lucrative fight that could be made in the sport of boxing this year.
Saturday night in Las Vegas, Mayweather defeated Robert Guerrero by dominating a unanimous decision to solidify his claim as the top pound-for-pound fighter in the sport. Meanwhile, Alvarez unified the WBC and WBA junior middleweight title belts against Austin Trout on April 20 to become recognized as the No. 1 junior middleweight in the world.
Fight fans, take heart. Unlike previous superfight shenanigans, this one has a legitimate shot at getting made.
Both Mayweather and Alvarez do business with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions and television partner Showtime. In fact, the fighters are the chief assets of the newly formed, exclusive partnership’s hostile takeover of boxing distributorship.
Despite the probability of a competing Sept. 14 Top Rank show pitting Juan Manuel Marquez and Timothy Bradley against each other, Alvarez is determined to fight that very same weekend, a longstanding traditional showcase weekend for Mexico’s top boxing superstars.
Many fight-game pundits, including Bad Left Hook’s Kory Kitchen, believe Alvarez has every right to the Mexican Independence Day PPV date, as Mexico’s chief boxing superstar today.
I don't think there is any doubt that Canelo and Golden Boy will win this battle. If Top Rank were to put on a show it would likely be Juan Manuel Marquez - Tim Bradley at this stage. Despite coming off the huge win over Manny Pacquiao, Marquez is not going to go head-to-head with Canelo on pay-per-view. It would be suicide.
That would go double for a showdown between Canelo Alvarez and the top moneymaker in the sport, Floyd Mayweather. The fight would be an absolute smash at the box office, would draw flocks of fight fans to either of the likely destinations (Las Vegas or Texas), and because of Canelo’s size, it would be the first fight in many years to feature Mayweather against a legitimate threat.
In short, no other fight in the sport would generate as much revenue for its participants and their business partners than Mayweather vs. Canelo, and that’s precisely why the fight will be made.
Lem: Schaefer "A potential fight between Mayweather and Canelo is without any question the biggest fight you can make today."#boxing— Michael, Doug or Lem (@ringmagazine) May 1, 2013
The bout has been rumored for long enough to assume negotiations have already been underway. In fact, the May 4 Mayweather-Guerrero PPV was originally supposed to include last month’s Alvarez-Trout bout on its undercard before Alvarez pulled out to move the fight to San Antonio because Mayweather reportedly refused to sign an agreement to meet Alvarez next.
So should fight fans be worried? Not quite. Mayweather plays hardball. He likes to call the shots. But he also likes money, and he’s running short of options.
It’s clear from the tea leaves that the powers that be want the fight. Alvarez's drawing power couldn’t be better than it is at this very moment. The popular star drew over 40,000 fight fans in San Antonio to see his win over Trout.
More importantly, Golden Boy Promotions’ top man Oscar De La Hoya knows his 22-year-old cash cow wants the fight.
Canelo wants all the titles. He wants to unify the titles. Ishe Smith just won a championship and he is in a hot division. There is no reason why he can't be in the mix for these fights but Canelo's focus right now is to make the biggest fights out there and that is Floyd Mayweather.
So the fight is there to be made. Canelo Alvarez wants it. Golden Boy Promotions wants it. Heck, even Showtime Sports president Stephen Espinoza couldn't help but chime in about the potential superfight last month after witnessing Alvarez’s star power on full display.
The time is right for that fight as long as Floyd gets past Guerrero.
So now that Mayweather has indeed gotten past Guerrero, it would seem the blueprint for making the fight is quite easy. If Floyd Mayweather, the man who considers himself the greatest fighter of all time, wants the fight to be made, all he has to do is say the word.
The only question is whether he will.