Saul "Canelo" Alvarez enters his fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Saturday night as the bigger, stronger man with a higher knockout percentage and at least a handful of respected observers who believe he’s capable of an upset.
Make no mistake, though: Floyd Mayweather Sr. is in no way part of that group.
In fact, the veteran trainer will lead his son and namesake to the ring Saturday night at the MGM Grand with what appears to be zero concern that the 23-year-old is a threat to young Floyd’s status as the sport’s top pound-for-pound commodity.
“Alvarez has got a name and the same amount of fights as my son, but that's it,” the elder Mayweather said in a one-on-one interview. “The guys he fought were bums. He was fighting Mexicans in Mexico. While my son was fighting all top-caliber fighters, Alvarez was in kindergarten and first grade.
“And now my son's gonna whoop his ass.”
Mayweather Sr. was the lead trainer early in his son’s career and resumed the duties for the May fight with Robert Guerrero, which Mayweather Jr. won by an impressively wide unanimous decision less than three months after turning 36 years old.
The fight with Alvarez just four months and 10 days later marks the first time he’s fought twice in the same calendar year since 2007. It is the shortest turnaround between fights since defeating Diego Corrales (TKO 10) and Carlos Hernandez (UD 12) on Jan. 20 and May 26, 2001.
But rather than taxing an older fighter accustomed to longer stretches of inactivity, Mayweather Sr. insists that the condensed timeframe will make his son better when fight night arrives.
“He’ll definitely be sharper because of it,” he said. “If you get up and walk down the block one day, then you’ll go back the next day and walk a little father. Eventually, you’ll start jogging, and then all of a sudden you’re running a long distance. It’s no different with my son. Being in the ring more often will guarantee he stays sharp.”
Another pertinent factor in Mayweather Jr.’s success at an advanced age—for a boxer, according to his dad—is the fact that he’s smarter both in the ring and out than a lot of fighters of his vintage.
Credit for that goes partially to bloodlines. Mayweather Sr. was 28-6-1 as a pro, uncle Roger Mayweather was a world title claimant in three divisions and uncle Jeff Mayweather won 32 of 47 fights between 1988 and 1997
Part of the credit also goes to adapting his training output to accommodate the years.
“I don’t care who you are, when you get older you’re going to slow down. You, me, Floyd or anyone else,” Mayweather Sr. said. “But he shows how smart he is by not using a bunch of energy in every single situation. You don’t always fight so much with the body. In a lot of situations, you can fight with your mind. Plain and simple, he knows how to fight.
“His daddy fought. His uncles fought. We all know how to fight, and we do it good. It’s in his blood. This is what we do.”
As for how much longer it’ll continue, the trainer has what sounded like a firm blueprint.
“He’s 36 now, and he won’t be fighting until he’s 40, so let’s just stop that talk right now,” he said. “More likely, he’ll be 38 years old when he’s done. You fight a couple times at 36, a couple times at 37 and then you’re 38, and he won’t have to fight anymore. He’s made enough money. He can start enjoying his life.
“And when he retires, I’ll quit too. I want to enjoy the money I’ve made. I don’t need to be training anyone anymore.”