Floyd Mayweather (44-0, 26 KO) may be the overwhelming favorite heading into his bout with Saul "Canelo" Alvarez on Saturday night, but there are still things Money must do in order to make the inevitable happen.
Canelo will present Mayweather with the kind of speed and power he hasn't seen in an opponent in quite some time. That may force Money to make some adjustments, and doing so may make all the difference.
And, with somewhat similar styles, one of these fighters will have to budge as the aggressor at some point, so it'll be interesting to see how they handle that aspect.
Let's break down what it will take for Money to top Canelo in what will be the biggest fight of the year.
Make Canelo be the Aggressor
When Mayweather is at his best, he is a defensive fighter and a counterpuncher. That approach could potentially run into trouble in this fight.
Alvarez is no stranger to defensive fighting as well. If Canelo goes with that strategy and tries to lay back, Mayweather may have to switch things up. In that instance, Money could try to bait his opponent by being the aggressor at first only to slow things down when Canelo becomes more confident and moves forward.
But with his power and speed, Alvarez may look to be aggressive in this fight and keep Mayweather on his heels. If he makes that blunder, not only will Mayweather be able to take advantage by fighting to his strengths, but he will also be able to outlast Alvarez should the fight go the distance and fatigue become a factor.
No matter how you slice it, Mayweather is always better off fighting from a defensive position because that is what will help him score points and ultimately win a decision.
Establish the Jab
Both fighters have an impressive jab to throw at the other, but it's Mayweather's that will give him a distinct advantage in this fight.
There's no question Alvarez will look to use his superior power to his benefit at some point during this fight. The only way that can happen is if Alvarez can get to an inside position to make Mayweather pay.
Money can avoid such a scenario simply by establishing his jab. Should he be successful in doing that, Alvarez will think twice about making a move to the inside once Mayweather makes snapping his head back a routine occurrence from round to round.
Make no mistake about it: Alvarez wants to get inside and use his devastating uppercut to stun and possibly knock Mayweather out. However, Money has a great jab to keep Canelo at bay and take yet another way Alvarez can beat him out of the equation.
Keep Alvarez to Two-Punch Combos
If there is one thing Alvarez is great at, it's throwing deadly combinations that can sometimes lead to knockouts. Alvarez will be looking to do what no fighter normally can: land more than two punches at a time against Mayweather.
Because of his speed, by the time an opponent lands two blows against Mayweather, he is usually well out of the way when a third or more punches come his way. This is where Alvarez must break the mold.
It's going to take more than just one or two punches at a time to hurt Mayweather. Alvarez does have the ability to throw big blows, but Mayweather can easily thwart those blows and either make them graze off of him or miss altogether.
If Canelo wants to make the most of his punches, he must string together a bunch of them in one combination in order to improve his chances at actually hitting Mayweather straight on and hurting him.
That will be extremely difficult for Alvarez to do against one of the best counterpunchers of all time. Even if Alvarez gets two blows off, it's likely Mayweather will have already returned a counter, which will break up whatever Alvarez is putting together.
This will help Money take far less damage in the fight and will discourage Alvarez into believing he simply can't string anything together against Mayweather.
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