After outclassing Robert Guerrero in his most recent fight, many boxing fans called for Floyd Mayweather to step up to the plate and face a tougher opponent in September. Although there wasn't much incentive for "Money" to do so, he has made the decision to challenge himself.
According to Mayweather himself via Twitter, the undefeated WBC and The Ring Welterweight Champion of the world will take on Mexican phenom Saul "Canelo" Alvarez on Sept. 14 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
I chose my opponent for September 14th and it's Canelo Alvarez. I'm giving the fans what they want. It will be at the MGM Grand.— Floyd Mayweather (@FloydMayweather) May 30, 2013
Aside from perhaps a tilt with Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather vs. Alvarez is the fight that every boxing fan wants to see. It is generally accepted that the 36-year-old Mayweather is the best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing, but at 42-0-1, the 22-year-old Alvarez is unquestionably the fastest-rising young star in boxing today.
Should Mayweather be praised for accepting a fight against Alvarez?
While Mayweather figures to be favored as usual, there is inherent risk in agreeing to fight Canelo so soon. Mayweather has guaranteed money coming in no matter what due to his contract with Showtime, so there is really no incentive for him to face a tough opponent of Alvarez's ilk.
According to a Showtime press release, Mayweather's deal is good for six fights over a 30-month period and it will be the richest contract in the history of sports if he sees it through. Mayweather has already knocked one fight off the list by beating Guerrero, but it's actually quite surprising to see that he'll be facing Alvarez already.
There aren't many fighters out there who can really challenge Mayweather, but Alvarez appears to be part of the elite group that is capable of doing so. It would have been really easy for Mayweather to choose tomato cans as his opponents for the next five fights so he could retire with a brimming bank account and an undefeated record, but he is certainly putting the latter on the line on Sept. 14.
Another intriguing decision on Mayweather's part is his weight class choice for this fight. Mayweather likely had free reign to dictate what weight he wanted to fight at since he is the one who will bring in the bulk of the pay-per-view buys, but he didn't shy away from moving up, according to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports.
Floyd Mayweather v. Canelo Alvarez, at 152 pounds. Sept 14th. Can't wait.— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) May 30, 2013
The 152-lb. weight is actually a catchweight since it lands in between welterweight and light middleweight. Even so, it's a disadvantage for Mayweather, as he needs to move up five lbs. whereas Alvarez only has to drop two lbs. Going down in weight can be more taxing than moving up, but there is little doubt that Canelo can lose two lbs. and then pack plenty more weight on his frame over the course of 24 hours.
Despite these factors, Mayweather is as confident as ever. According to Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports, Mayweather was complementary of Alvarez's ability, but he certainly doesn't intend to lose to the youngster on Sept. 14 as far as Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe is concerned:
Canelo is a good young fighter, but he's bitten off more than he can chew. Floyd said, 'I'm going to whip that ass.' This is a whole other level we're talking about.
Perhaps Mayweather's prophecy will come true, but there is no doubt that he is putting a lot on the line. Not only is his undefeated record hanging in the balance, but a loss could hurt Mayweather financially moving forward as well. He would still have four Showtime fights remaining on his contract, but pay-per-view buys would likely be down with the allure of his undefeated mark no longer present.
There is definitely a legion of boxing fans out there that believes Mayweather ducked Pacquiao, but the fact that he accepted this fight against Alvarez suggests otherwise. Mayweather simply didn't have to go for the gusto at this point, but he decided to and should be commended for it.
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