The super-fight between Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Floyd Mayweather is so close that we've begun counting down the hours. With the WBA, WBC and The Ring Super Middleweight titles set to be unified, both fighters are preparing for a monumental clash that will shake up the boxing world.
Win, lose or draw, expect Canelo to become boxing's next big star.
The fight is set to commence on Saturday, Sept. 14 at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. This will mark Mayweather's eighth consecutive fight at the venue, previously defeating Miguel Cotto, Oscar De La Hoya, Robert Guerrero, Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley and Victor Ortiz.
Each of those fights were fought in a different style, as Mayweather continued to adapt to his conditions like no one we've seen in recent memory. After a 364-day layoff between the Cotto and Guerrero fight, however, Mayweather is set to do something he hasn't done in 12 years against Alvarez.
He'll be fighting on short rest.
On Saturday, Floyd Mayweather will be coming off of a 133-day layoff, his shortest since 2001 #FloydCanelo— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 12, 2013
The opportunity is available for Canelo to shock the world.
Mayweather isn't the only rational selection for the label of the pound-for-pound king for no reason. He's faced the best, beat the best and, now, will look to remain on top with a win over one of the fastest rising stars in the sport.
A star who, regardless of the result of this fight, has a bright future ahead of him.
At the age of 23, Alvarez has already competed in 43 total fights, going 42-0-1 during that time. By definition, he's undefeated, with the only blemish on his resume coming from a draw against Jorge Juarez in 2006—when Alvarez was 16.
Since then, it's been hard to find a fighter on his level.
According to CompuBox, Alvarez has the highest connect percentage of any fighter in the world at 42 percent. For those unfamiliar, that's a measure of how many punches, both jabs and power strikes, Alvarez has been able to land.
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In second place is Mayweather at 41 percent, per CompuBox.
If that's not enough to intrigue you, Alvarez ranks No. 1 in the world in percentage of power punches landed at 52 percent, per CompuBox. According to CompuBox, Mayweather is second at a distant 48 percent, while Manny Pacquiao comes in third at 47 percent.
In case you aren't seeing this statistically-factual picture, Alvarez is the best power striker in the world today. And it doesn't end there.
CompuBox reports that Alvarez rests at plus-18 percent when it comes to percentage of total punches landed against percentage of opponent punches landed. Not only is that number high, but it's the second-best in the world.
The only fighter better than Alvarez in that regard is Mayweather at an indescribably incredible plus-24 percent, per CompuBox.
Going by the statistics, and in boxing they're quite telling, Alvarez is the second-best fighter in the world behind Mayweather. There are clearly other factors to weigh, including the level of competition that Canelo has faced to date.
As long as he doesn't fall on his face against Mayweather, however, Alvarez's status as the next big star in boxing will be safe.
Proving He Belongs
With all of this being established, it's critical for Alvarez to be competitive during his fight with Mayweather. Even if he's dominated on the cards, Alvarez is a 23-year-old rising star going up against the most methodical fighter of our generation, and logical fans will understand that.
Who will win?
The key is looking like he belongs.
If Canelo goes into his fight against Mayweather and looks like a deer in headlights, cracking under the pressure in a manner similar to Ortiz, the consequences would be dire. Should Alvarez step in and shine, fighting aggressively and without fear, there will be a different story.
After all, there's nothing that boxing fans love more than a fighter who will put it all on the line to achieve their dream.
Against Mayweather, who is known for being a defensive fighter that counters more than he attacks, Alvarez will have the opportunity to take control. Whether his punches land or not, as long as Alvarez's aggression comes with some level of precision, his status will be safe.
Win lose or draw, the 23-year-old Mexican sensation will walk out of Las Vegas as the next big thing in professional boxing.