One of the most highly anticipated boxing matches of the past decade is set to take place Sept. 14, and it will make a huge difference in the careers of two elite fighters.
Floyd Mayweather has won all 44 fights in his career, but he has arguably the toughest battle so far ahead of him in Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. The Mexican fighter has a 42-0-1 record despite being only 23 years old.
By the end of the match, both careers are certain to be dramatically different. Each fighter will see his legacy affected, one way or another. Here is a look at what will happen going forward depending on the result.
If Floyd Mayweather Wins
This is the expected outcome, as Mayweather sits at -280 to win, according to Bovada. However, it will still be a huge victory for the veteran as he starts to close out his career.
It would prove that he is not only willing to fight the best out there, but he is capable of beating anyone in the sport. This has been his biggest criticism throughout his career as it seemed as though he was cherry picking opponents.
Most notably, fans have been upset about the fact that he never fought Manny Pacquiao when the two were at their peak. Even boxing great Mike Tyson shared this sentiment last year, via FightNights.com:
“It seems Mayweather has been the one coming up with reasons to avoid Pacquiao. He doesnt want to fight the guy. It’s obvious." - Mike Tyson— FightNights.com™ (@boxing) December 3, 2012
While there is some debate as to which side has prevented this fight from happening, it is even less likely now since Pacquiao has lost two fights in a row. The Filipino fighter lost his title against Timothy Bradley and then was knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez.
With his decline, it makes Alvarez the best competition available. A win by Mayweather will show that he is the best of his generation, and critics will be speechless.
Money has hinted at retirement when his 30-month contract with Showtime runs out, according to Dan Rafael of ESPN. This would leave four more matches after his bout against Canelo.
With boxing light on top talent at the middle weight classes, it is unlikely he will face many other legitimate challengers before he hangs up his gloves, and he should be able to retire as a respected undefeated champion.
Meanwhile, Alvarez has also been questioned for a relatively weak slate of opponents. He has wins over Austin Trout and an aging Shane Mosley, but neither were dominant efforts.
A knockout loss or even a blowout decision would hurt the young boxer's image and it would be difficult for him to regain credibility.
While a narrow defeat would show that he is truly one of the top competitors in the sport, it would still take more time for him to return to the public eye.
If Saul Alvarez Wins
Canelo is the one with a huge opportunity in front of him. A win would instantly make him the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world as he would have defeated a legend.
Although he might not make the money that Mayweather earns right away, the sport would rally behind him as the new face of boxing. A young, talented fighter with a marquee win like this are hard to come by.
Who will win the match?
He would likely need to set up a rematch, but even a loss in a second contest would not stop him from becoming a household name for even casual fans.
Those in boxing circles are well aware of Alvarez's talent, but it has not been on full display despite his impressive record. This would justify his ability as he looks to take over for the next decade or more.
On the other hand, a loss would be devastating to the legacy of Mayweather, who is very proud of his perfect record. Obviously, there are plenty of great boxers in the past who have suffered losses, but this was Money's defining characteristic.
A defeat at the hands of Canelo would also give critics artillery in arguing that he was unable to defeat the best competitors in the generation and he avoided the toughest battles.
Mayweather has to win to retain his aura of one of the best of all time.
If There is a Draw
A draw would be legitimately surprising, as Mayweather's technical ability usually sits well with the judges. Anything close would likely go to the Light Middleweight champion.
However, an extremely close fight could always lead to a draw, which would make Showtime the true winner.
This would virtually guarantee a rematch between the two talented fighters, and the buzz could make it the biggest fight in a long time. Supporters on each side would argue that their boxer should have won, and no fans will want to miss out on the discussion.
A second installment could break PPV records and bring plenty of money to everyone involved.
While it would hurt Mayweather's flawless mark, a win in the rematch would help people forget it as he remains undefeated. Conversely, Alvarez would prove that he is truly among the best in the world.
Although neither competitor would want a draw to occur, it actually would be a no-lose situation for these two great boxers.
Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.