Floyd Mayweather's world-renowned defense will ultimately determine which boxer emerges victorious.
This Saturday night, Mayweather and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez will meet for a highly anticipated bout dubbed "The One." Each man puts his undefeated record on the line with millions of purchasers watching on pay-per-view.
In the end, the marquee clash boils down to Mayweather's ability to fend off Alvarez with his top-notch defense.
At age 36, Mayweather is 13 years older than his opponent, who will try to ride his youth to gain an upper hand. Canelo will try to claim a knockout while Mayweather will look to simply not get knocked out.
Considering opponents land 17 percent of their punches when facing Mayweather (via CompuBox), the strategy is a wise one that has worked before for the veteran. His quick hands are matched only by his agile feet, so he'll look to agitate Alvarez for 12 rounds before the judges rule him the victor.
Alvarez is the sport's best power puncher, with CompuBox calculating his connection percentage at 48 (which jumps to 52 on power strikes). This bout pits one fighter's major strength with the other man's forte, which should lead to a riveting battle.
How that battle of strengths plays out will make all the difference.
Alvarez has not faced a foe like Mayweather, but the champion arguably has not competed against someone with Canelo's power. Alvarez scaled in at 152 pounds during Friday night's weigh-in, but he could gain back some of that mass before the fight.
Since he gives up quickness, Alvarez will be tasked to trap Mayweather on the ropes and inflict some damage. If Mayweather gets the opportunity to dance around, Alvarez will throw several punches at the air while Mayweather gradually chips away.
This approach, if employed properly, will wear down Alvarez and leave him defenseless to some timely counters. Even if Mayweather cannot knock out his stronger target, he'll control the match and eventually gain a huge upper hand over a fatigued Alvarez during the waning rounds.
The mantra "Defense wins championships" is usually reserved for the NFL, but it applies to Saturday night's title bout as well. For Mayweather, the best offense against Alvarez is a shut-down defense.
Unless his opponent can penetrate that lock, Mayweather will enhance his record to 45-0 and hold his spot as the world's premier boxer.