In a sport that can end at any second with a knockout, it is important to avoid mistakes that could lead to a loss. This is an even bigger statement in the highly anticipated match between Floyd Mayweather and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.
These are two experienced fighters who have never seen defeat in their careers. Mayweather comes in with a 44-0 record, while Alvarez is already 42-0-1 despite being only 23 years old.
However, this will likely be the toughest match that either one has seen, at least in a long time. While in the past, they were able to get by with pure skill, each competitor will also have to be smart in this one.
A bad mistake by either man can dramatically change the match, which means that both boxers will have to do their best to avoid these errors.
Letting Mayweather Dictate Match
One thing that helps Mayweather be so successful is his ability to control what happens in a match. His defense allows him to avoid mistakes while making sure his opponent does exactly what he wants him to do.
In his last match, Robert Guerrero ended up trying to chase him around the ring, which led to a lot of clean hits for Mayweather.
Conversely, Alvarez allowed Austin Trout to do what he wanted in his previous match. Trout attempted almost twice as many punches in the match, a total of 769-431, according to BoxRec.com.
This situation cannot happen against Mayweather. Canelo cannot run into a counterpunch, but he has to dictate the match himself. Letting his opponent come to him will force Mayweather into a situation he does not want to be in.
Any way that Alvarez can make the other fighter uncomfortable in the ring would be a plus.
Alvarez is capable of getting a knockout, and he has won in this fashion in 30 of his 42 wins. However, two of his last three matches have gone to a decision.
In all likelihood, a decision will not be enough for Canelo to pull out a win.
Judges love Mayweather's style and usually score him highly based on efficient production. There is little chance Alvarez will be able to match the favorite on the scorecard.
Instead, he will likely need to go for a knockout to ensure a win. Once again, he does not want to get overaggressive, but he might not have a choice in the later rounds.
Alvarez should not be afraid to risk his body in order to get a knockout in what would be the biggest win of his career.
Going Toe to Toe
Every fighter wants to say he will be aggressive. He wants to show that he is tough enough to go after his competition, because anything less would be looked down upon.
However, Mayweather would be making a mistake by staying toe to toe with Alvarez. Instead, he should do what he does best: dance around the ring while making his opponent do the work.
This strategy worked perfectly against Guerrero, who is known as a great counterpuncher. Guerrero could not stick with the champion, and he ended up landing only 19 percent of his total punches, according to BoxRec.com.
In comparison, Mayweather landed 41 percent in the fight, including 60 percent of his power punches. This was by staying conservative and waiting until the best moment to strike.
Patience will pay off in this match—he simply needs to wait for his chances.
After winning his first 44 bouts, there is plenty of reason for Mayweather to believe he is untouchable. He also completely dominated his previous fight after being out of the ring for a year.
Still, it is important to respect your opponent in every sport, especially in boxing.
Throughout the years, we have seen plenty of great fighters from Muhammad Ali to Mike Tyson get upset by massive underdogs. Of course, this match is not even that big of a spread, as Money sits at -280 to win, according to Bovada.
Alvarez might be young, but he has loads of experience against solid fighters and has as much ability as any Mayweather opponent in a long time. Canelo is also arguably the strongest fighter he has faced, which makes a knockout a possibility.
Although Mayweather takes his craft seriously, he has to make sure not to assume victory and get caught unprepared in the match.
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