Canelo vs. Mayweather: Why Alvarez Is Toughest Opponent Money Has Faced
Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. has fought 17 fighters who were at the time, would be or have been world champions. However, his toughest task will be Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on September 14, 2013.
The collective record of his opponents who have failed to beat him is a staggering 967-69-22, per Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole.
But Canelo’s threat to Mayweather’s undefeated reign over the boxing world isn’t the greatest he’s seen because his opponents weren’t qualified—although there is an argument for the timeliness of some of his bouts. It is, however, a testament to the all-around talent the 23-year-old Mexican sensation brings to the ring.
Mayweather has fought the hard punchers. He’s beaten the quick jabbers who supposedly had the speed to penetrate his stifling defense. But who he hasn’t fought is a fighter who can bring it all together in one harmonic package.
He hasn’t fought a fighter who will carry a significant weight and power advantage into the ring, a fighter still approaching or just realizing his full potential.
That man is Canelo Alvarez.
On Saturday night, Alvrarez will boast a significant weight advantage after re-hydrating and recovering from his drop to the agreed to—that’s debatable—152-pound fight catchweight. He’s predicted to fight at anywhere from the high 160s to mid-170s.
That will give him some extra power behind his punches, and he’s adept at landing them—at least up until this point in his career. According to CompuBox, the junior middleweight champ is the top power-puncher in the game, landing 52 percent of his power punches—defined by the site as all non-jab punches.
But that doesn’t define him as a fighter. Power is good. It’s something he can utilize in the right situations to stun and push his agenda, but it’s not Alvarez’s only end game against Mayweather.
In his recent victory against Austin Trout, Canelo took a page out of Money’s playbook by displaying excellent lateral quickness and defense. The idea that he’s “flat-footed” as a bigger fighter is largely exaggerated; just watch that fight. He also counter punched better than anyone would have ever given him credit for in the past.
That breakthrough performance in April wasn’t as flashy or dominant as Canelo has shown against lesser competition. He didn’t record the knockout, but it was a better overall victory.
There are other factors outside of Alvarez's control that make him dangerous. Mayweather has looked beatable at the junior middleweight level. It’s a weight class in which he’s struggled to truly dominate.
The name Oscar De La Hoya comes to mind.
Is Alvarez Mayweather's toughest challenge?
De La Hoya was already on the downswing of his career before even stepping in the ring and earning a split decision against the pound-for-pound king. Alvarez is on the opposite end of the career pendulum.
You certainly can make the case that some of Mayweather's past opponents were more accomplished. But it’s impossible to deny the series of challenges Canelo presents that makes him the toughest challenger Mayweather has met in a boxing ring.
Come Saturday night, win or lose, you’ll see a fighter who will truly threaten Mayweather more than anyone else has previously.
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