Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (42-0-1, 30 KOs) will face the toughest test of his career when he squares off against Floyd "Money" Mayweather (44-0, 26 KOs) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Saturday night, but he will prove that the 152-pound catchweight was a smart plan.
While Mayweather holds the lopsided experience advantage over the 23-year-old challenger, Alvarez is the bigger man and will benefit most from the ability to carry more weight into the contest.
Canelo is naturally a light middleweight who carries 154 pounds into bouts, but he is considerably heavier once rehydrated from weigh-ins. Mayweather has fought in several weight classes over his legendary career but found his biggest success at welterweight.
Money struggled at times in his last light middleweight championship match against Miguel Cotto, though, and with Alvarez and his team studying that tape and understanding why the champion had a difficult time, forcing Mayweather to maintain a higher weight is the right caveat for this bout.
Both men have fought and won at a similar weight before, and the difference won’t be the deciding factor in the fight. Despite the light middleweight experience, the inclusion of the catchweight caused drama in the build to this event.
CEO of Mayweather Promotions Leonard Ellerbe told Lyle Fitzsimmons of BoxingScene.com about where the 152-pound catchweight came from and which side originally suggested the idea:
His management put out something on BoxingScene that they would be willing to fight at a catch weight. Because his management is inept, we take advantage of those kinds of things. Why would we go in a different direction? They suggested it, why would we say no and do something different? They put him at a disadvantage. His management did. It wasn’t that Floyd Mayweather asked for a catch weight, because absolutely that did not happen. I want to be clear on the record for that. Floyd would have fought him regardless, but his management put that out there. So if you have an idiot manager, that’s what it is.
Whether you believe this story is skewed or not after considering the source of the comments, there is no doubt that on paper offering to drop two pounds off the weight your fighter is comfortable making is unusual.
Canelo’s team needed to do whatever it took to get Mayweather to agree to a fight, and adding a catchweight that forced both men out of their comfort zones was an intriguing enough option to get the Money Team to bite.
Alvarez isn’t losing power dropping two extra pounds for the weigh-in, and instead, has been forced to focus more on his nutrition and training than ever before.
Not only will Canelo maintain his power, but fans will also see him at his fittest and fastest.
The catchweight helped make the fight with Mayweather happen in the first place, but the hope is that it will still give Alvarez the power advantage he needs to contend against Money while increasing his questionable 12-round stamina.