Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Floyd "Money" Mayweather are set to do battle in the most highly anticipated fight in recent memory on Sept. 14, which is great for boxing fans. However, it wasn't necessarily the best decision on Alvarez's part.
Mayweather made the announcement via Twitter on Wednesday night and has received praise for agreeing to fight an up-and-coming boxer like Alvarez. Perhaps Alvarez deserves praise as well, but he seems to have more to lose than Mayweather does.
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
Both men are undefeated—Mayweather is 44-0 and Alvarez is 42-0-1—so something has to give. The undefeated mark appears to be important to Mayweather, but losing it isn't a huge deal for him. He is already 36 years old and has made his money.
Alvarez, on the other hand, has at least a decade of big fights remaining.
A loss doesn't necessarily mean that fans will suddenly lose all interest in Alvarez, but his record is definitely a selling point. The longer Alvarez is able to preserve that perfect mark, the more lucrative his future fights will be. Mayweather will almost certainly be favored against Alvarez and there is a high probability that Alvarez will lose, so he is suddenly in a difficult situation.
Financial terms for the fight haven't yet been released, but it stands to reason that Alvarez will do pretty well for himself. Is one huge payday worth risking many more in the future, though?
Alvarez and his advisers obviously believe that it is, but they may be singing a different tune a few years from now when Alvarez is no longer considered the hottest thing in boxing.
Should Alvarez have delayed a potential fight with Mayweather?
Alvarez is taking the sure money now, but he could have kicked the can down the road a bit and fought Mayweather at a later date. Perhaps Mayweather is destined to beat Alvarez regardless, but if Mayweather and Alvarez were to fight two years from now, Mayweather would be two years further past his prime, while Alvarez would be right in the middle of his prime.
Also, waiting to fight Mayweather would have allowed Alvarez to have a few other fights in the meantime that might have generated a considerable amount of buzz. There would have been some risk involved there as well because a loss could have put a Mayweather fight in jeopardy, but Alvarez's camp would have been careful in picking his opponents.
To Alvarez's credit, he did get Mayweather to accept a fight above 147 lbs, as they will do battle at 152 lbs, according to Josh Slagter of MLive.com:
Reports are Mayweather-Alvarez will be at a catch-weight of 152 pounds.— Josh Slagter (@JoshSlagter) May 30, 2013
This is a win for Alvarez because it is just two pounds below his normal fighting weight while it is five pounds above Mayweather's.
Also, according to Dan Rafael of ESPN.com, there are no weight restrictions after the weigh-in. Rafael believes Alvarez can fight at a weight as high as 170 lbs, so that would give Canelo a considerable power advantage.
Power has never really bothered Mayweather before, though, as he uses speed and defense to stifle his opponents. He should be much quicker than Alvarez if his Mexican adversary bulks up that much, so what is seemingly an advantage could become a major disadvantage for Alvarez in the end.
If nothing else, Alvarez will be part of one of the biggest boxing matches in years when he faces Mayweather on Sept. 14. His future earnings are very much hanging in the balance, however. While accepting the fight was courageous on Alvarez's part, it may end up being an ill-conceived move provided Mayweather reigns supreme.
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