Floyd Mayweather Jr. (44-0, 26 KO) will likely face one of the toughest challenges he's had in recent memory when he takes on Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (42-0-1, 30 KO) Saturday, Sept. 14, but that doesn't mean "Money" needs to reinvent the wheel to stay undefeated.
Alvarez will be the youngest fighter Mayweather has seen since Victor Ortiz back in 2011. Now two years older, Money will be up against one of the quickest fighters he's seen in a while in the 23-year-old Alvarez.
Youth is one of the major things Alvarez has working for him in this fight. Along with his power, he has the ability to be the aggressor with his speed, and he certainly has the knockout power to end a fight early if the opportunity presents itself.
Should the younger Alvarez choose to push the issue and not be the defensive fighter that many of us have seen in the past, Money need not change anything he has done to get him to this point in his career.
Mayweather is one of the single greatest defensive fighters in the history of the sport. With blazing-fast quickness and an astounding talent for counter punching, Mayweather routinely makes opponents pay for missed punches or even weak blows that barely graze him.
It's his speed that everyone is counting on being the difference in this fight. It's also his speed that helps him win fights by scoring a ton of points round to round, and while Money's wins are rarely flashy, he is still quite effective at what he does.
If Alvarez comes out swinging with knockout and/or punishment on his mind, Mayweather's speed will help make Alvarez pay for that approach dearly. It is the single best road to victory for Money.
Two things could potentially change Money's approach in this fight.
The first thing is if Alvarez decides to lie back and wait for Mayweather. This could easily create a stalemate between the two fighters as Mayweather will be respecting Alvarez's power, while Alvarez respects just about everything in Mayweather's arsenal.
So, either that will lead to the most boring fight in boxing history, or Mayweather will have to be the aggressor. Chances are this scenario won't take place, and if it does, it won't last long. Mayweather is smart enough to find a way to get back to his defensive roots, even if it takes a bit of baiting his younger counterpart.
The other scenario that could force Mayweather to change his style would be if he loses a step. Granted, we haven't seen anything in his previous fights to expect such a thing, but Mayweather is 36 years old, and the age for Father Time to take over is approaching.
Will it be this fight? Nobody can know for sure. But if it is, Mayweather must be able to make things happen in order to win. That would be a rare position for the 36-year-old to be in and would drastically change the expectations of this fight.
Mayweather has built a legendary career as an elite defensive fighter who understands the sweet science better than anyone before him. With all things being equal and Mayweather still at the top of his game, he doesn't need to adjust a bit and should let Alvarez and the victory come to him.