Canelo Alvarez Must Be Prepared to Handle Defensive-Minded Floyd Mayweather
Floyd "Money" Mayweather has never been easy to hit, but as long as his father remains in his corner, he'll be even tougher to get a bead on. Canelo Alvarez's primary challenge when he faces Money on Sept. 14 will be finding a way to connect consistently.
Money smartly brought his dad back into his corner to bring the focus back to defense. Boxing is the art of hitting and not getting hit. When Mayweather is at his best, he exemplifies that concept as much as anyone.
At 36 years old, he knows that he must preserve himself if he is going to end his career with an unblemished record. The more punishment he takes, the less likely he is to go out on top.
Because Mayweather wants to complete his Showtime/CBS deal and then call it a career, he's put himself in the best position to accomplish that goal.
This is bad news for Alvarez.
It means Floyd will not stand and trade in an attempt to win over fans as he did against Miguel Cotto. The Money that Alvarez will face will be slick, elusive and looking to make him work late into the fight. Alvarez has showed the tendency to lose steam in the latter rounds of his previous fights.
Trying to keep pace with Mayweather—and taking a good number of straight right hands in the process—could be draining for Alvarez. Mayweather's camp is well aware of this dynamic.
When David Mayo of MLive.com asked Mayweather Sr. about Alvarez's tendency to tire late, the trainer said:
"That's gonna be looked at, trust me. Down the stretch, everything will be what it is."
I'll take that as Poppa Mayweather-speak for we're going to run him ragged and try to stop him late.
How will Canelo handle Money's defensive approach?
Canelo must be poised, but aggressive early if he's going to have a chance at finding openings in Money's defense. If he lays back too much, Money will just build up a huge early lead and pick him apart down the stretch.
If Alvarez loses composure, Mayweather will remind him he can still sting with his power shots. This is going to be a monumentally difficult task for Alvarez, but he must understand Mayweather's game plan.
He's not going to be able to make Money fight his fight. Instead, he must find a way to disturb Mayweather's rhythm and timing.
That is far easier said than done, especially with Mayweather back in the mindset that defense leads to wins and championships. If he beats Money, he'll be defeating him at his best.
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