Floyd Mayweather has created the opportunity to etch his name into boxing history as one of the greatest ever with a win over Canelo Alvarez.
Mayweather has one of the most impressive resumes in boxing history.
Few fighters have managed to remain undefeated as long he has, He's a five-division champion, including three linear titles. He has awards from just about every media entity that hands out awards in the sport.
There is only one thing that holding Mayweather back from being considered one of the greatest of all-time.
For years, Mayweather's detractors have badgered the champion about the opponents that he has faced. An argument could be made that the "0" in his win column had just as much to do with his ability to avoid opponents in the matchmaking process as his evasiveness in the ring.
Do you respect Mayweather more for fighting Canelo Alvarez?
With his decision to fight Canelo Alvarez, that's an argument that can be put to rest.
The fact of the matter is that Alvarez is the toughest opponent that Mayweather could have chosen.
Alvarez will be much larger than Mayweather's last opponent, having fought at 154 pounds since 2010. Robert Guerrero only fought at 147 pounds twice before his fight with "Money" and fought much of his career at 130 pounds.
Detractors have also criticized Mayweather for picking opponents that are past their prime—another accusation that won't work here. Alvarez is just 22 years old. He's fought enough times (42-0-1) to be considered a veteran but is far from being over the hill.
Aside from just age and weight, Alvarez has the in-ring skills to be considered a serious contender too. He's undefeated—the first unbeaten opponent that Mayweather has faced since 2007, according to ESPN Stats & Info:
Floyd Mayweather will fight Canelo Alvarez on Sept. 14. It will be Mayweather's 1st fight vs undefeated opponent since Ricky Hatton (2007).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 30, 2013
He has also has serious knockout power.
Thirty of his 42 wins have come by knockout. Considering the issues that Mayweather had with Miguel Cotto, another big fighter with 30 knockouts to his name, there's plenty of danger for Money against the much younger Alvarez.
Considering the relative danger in a matchup like this (especially the difference in size), Mayweather didn't owe it to anyone to ask for this fight. It would have been understandable for him to stay within his weight class, or even taken on a smaller fighter. Amir Khan was chomping at the bit to get a shot at Money despite his 2-2 record in his last four fights.
However, Mayweather decided to answer those that say he's hand-picked his opponents throughout his career. By picking Canelo, he chose the fight that everyone wanted to see. If he comes out on top once again and winds up retiring undefeated that will be one less negative thing that fans say about his legacy.