Why Floyd 'Money' Mayweather Must Fight Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IMay 5, 2013

LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 04:  Floyd Mayweather Jr. celebrates his unanimous decision victory against Robert Guerrero in their WBC welterweight title bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 4, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Floyd Mayweather Jr. is going to do what Floyd Mayweather Jr. wants to do.

But if he really wants to put a stamp on his legacy before he retires, he'll have to fight Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, one of boxing's greatest rising stars.

Alvarez, who is coming off a victory via unanimous decision over Austin Trout, is already developing a reputation as one of boxing's greatest offensive powerhouses. His power can absolutely decimate opponents, and the 22-year-old is beginning to come into his own, learning the intricacies of the sport.

Few boxers have pressured Mayweather into a more aggressive approach inside the ring. Mayweather, who possesses one of the greatest defensive games in the history of the sport, has generally relied on defense and counter-punching en route to a perfect 44-0 record.

He did just that against Robert Guerrero on Saturday night at the MGM Grand, winning via unanimous decision, as Guerrero connected on just 19 percent of his punches (via CompuBox).

But Alvarez has the offensive repertoire to be a perfect challenger against Mayweather, and I don't think boxing fans know that.

That's why if Mayweather doesn't fight Alvarez, he will be accused of ducking, just as he was when there were talks about a possible fight against Manny Pacquiao.

Alvarez landed just 29 percent of his punches against Trout in April, but he connected on 43 percent of his power punches. And, believe me, it only takes a few of Alvarez's power punches to knock an opponent out. It was actually surprising that Trout lasted the full 12 rounds because he took some vicious shots.

Beyond Alvarez's offense, though, he produced arguably his best all-around match in his career against Trout. He's always been known as a more offensive-minded fighter (which gave some pause to instantly label him the next great star in the sport), but his defense improved considerably between his fight with Josesito Lopez and Trout.

Case in point: Trout landed on just 20 percent of his punches against Alvarez, including 27 percent of his power punches.

Now, I'm not saying Mayweather wouldn't get through Alvarez's defense, but the fact that Alvarez has improved so much on that end is certainly a bonus for the young fighter. He wouldn't win with his defense, but he could certainly lose with it against the precision-punching of Mayweather.

Money May could conceivably fight opponents like the outclassed Guerrero for the next five fights on his contract and ride off into the sunset with an undefeated record. 

But it's not just about being undefeated that makes you a legend. It's about who you fight and when you fight them. 

Alvarez has the potential to make history against Mayweather. The question is, will Money May take on the challenge?

After all, if Mayweather is the greatest boxer today, he'll have no qualms about fighting Alvarez...right?


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