Mayweather vs. Canelo: Breaking Down How Alvarez Can Pull Off Upset for the Ages

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Mayweather vs. Canelo: Breaking Down How Alvarez Can Pull Off Upset for the Ages
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On Sept. 14, 2013, Floyd Mayweather will take on Saul Alvarez at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. The two will battle for Mayweather's WBA super light middleweight title and Alvarez's WBC and The Ring light middleweight belts.

The question is, how can Canelo pull off an upset for the ages?

Love him or hate him, there's no logical way around the fact that Mayweather is the best pound-for-pound fighter of our generation. For every fan who opposes the caliber of his opponents, it's just as easy to find comments building the fighters up before the fight transpires.

Mayweather just so happens to be a scientific fighter, picking apart his foe at every turn and walking away with dominant victories.

On Sept. 14, however, Mayweather will be a 36-year-old fighter hoping to win a match against a 23-year-old slugger with a record of 42-0-1. Mayweather has compiled a perfect record of 44-0-0, but that doesn't make him untouchable.

No matter how many times he's looked it.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

If Alvarez is to do the unthinkable and defeat the unbeatable, it will take one of the greatest performances in professional boxing history. For all that's said about him, no one has ever questioned Mayweather's commitment to his craft and how prepared he is in the ring.

Fortunately, past fights have taught us what it takes to hang with Mayweather—it's all about capitalizing on scarce opportunities.

If Alvarez, or any fighter for that matter, believes that he can land a flurry of punches clean, he's out of his mind. Not only is Mayweather too quick to be tagged a significant amount of times in one combination, but his defense ranks amongst the greatest of all time.

With that being said, when it comes to attacking Mayweather, aggression is the key.

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Even if Alvarez only lands one shot, he must not be afraid to unleash groups of punches at a time when he attacks. Simple jabs and snap crosses won't catch Mayweather by surprise, as his footwork and head-protection is simply too good.

Attacking Mayweather with multiple striking attempts, however, will inevitably land one clean shot, and that's all it takes for Alvarez.

Thirty of Alvarez's 42 victories have come by knockout, including four of his past six. What's concerning, however, is that as Alvarez's caliber of opponent has increased, the results have shifted, as he's managed four knockouts and four decisions in his past eight fights.

A win is a win, but if this one goes the distance, it goes without saying who will walk away victorious.

Admittedly, there is significant risk in this approach, as fighting aggressively will lead to an inevitable case of fatigue. Once a fighter's arms and legs get heavy, Mayweather strikes and there's no looking back for whomever his opponent may be.

If you want to beat the best, however, you need to go all-in.

Mayweather's chin is strong and, as Miguel Cotto showed us in May of 2012, it is possible to do some damage. Once Mayweather seemingly intentionally takes a clean shot between the second and fourth round, however, it's always been game over.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

It's on Canelo to put enough power behind that punch to offset Mayweather's strategy, disabling him from learning of his opponent's most powerful strike and truly rocking him with a knockout-caliber blow.

Even if Alvarez is able to rock Mayweather early and send a message that he needs to keep his distance, we know Money to be methodical in the ring. He'll make midfight adjustments and still manage to outbox his opponent both in the ring and on the stat sheet.

With that being said, Canelo establishing the status as the aggressor will get the crowd behind him and, perhaps in turn, the judges.

If Alvarez is able to pull ahead, he could force Mayweather to leave his defensive stance and lead the active legend to open himself up to strikes. If that's the case, the world-class power that Alvarez possesses will be placed on display.

Unfortunately for Alvarez, there's one slight problem—we've heard this all before, and Mayweather is still undefeated.

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