Floyd Mayweather Will Earn Tactical Victory Against Canelo Alvarez

Andrew GouldFeatured ColumnistSeptember 14, 2013

LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 13:  CEO of Mayweather Promotions Leonard Ellerbe (L) and Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer (3rd L) look on as boxers Floyd Mayweather Jr. (2nd L) and Canelo Alvarez (R) pose during the official weigh-in for their bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 13, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The fighters will meet in a WBC/WBA 154-pound title fight on September 14 in Las Vegas.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Outside the ring, Floyd "Money" Mayweather is far from practical. Once the lavish star steps between the ropes, he transforms into a calculated wizard who will ride his savvy to a win over Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.

The undefeated boxer owns a house worth an estimated $9 million, but he can easily afford it by boxing smart, sensible fights rather than going for the knockout blow that often makes stars. According to Forbes' Kurt Badenhausen, Mayweather will earn a record $41.5 million for his fight against Alvarez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday night.

He'll earn that money by beating Alvarez is 12 tough, grueling rounds.

Despite his larger-than-life stature as boxing's top celebrity, Mayweather has achieved that fame through defense. According to CompuBox, Mayweather's opponents have connected on 17 percent of their punches, making his elusiveness a sight to behold.

CompuBox also calculates fighters' plus/minus rates, which subtracts that opposing connection percentage from the boxer's offensive connection percentage. Mayweather holds a plus-24 differential that blasts past Alvarez's plus-18.

And Alvarez has the second-most efficient mark in that category.

No fighter in the sport mixes Mayweather's offensive and defensive effectiveness. His speed makes him a nearly impossible target to take down while he capitalizes with accurate and swift punches.

His feline quickness has not deteriorated with age. In fact, the 36-year-old has relied more on his craftiness during his veteran years, winning seven of his last nine matches by decision. His last knockout, which came in September 2011 against Victor Ortiz, drew much controversy and was deemed by many as a "sucker punch."

Unlikely to catch Alvarez napping during the biggest fight of the 23-year-old's life, Mayweather must slowly pick apart his young adversary before fatigue hits. Despite Canelo's youth and power advantage, his aggressive style will force him to exert more energy while Mayweather saves up for the waning rounds.

Then Mayweather can put the bout out of reach, perhaps even securing a knockout of his own.

Alvarez will be hungry for a KO, which presents his best chance at tainting Mayweather's 44-0 record. Needing a big punch against a top-notch defender who doesn't get knocked down is a risky gambit that is unlikely to pay off.

When someone is paid $41.5 million, the pressure mounts to perform in exceptional fashion, giving fans an exceptional moment to talk about for days and weeks to come. Mayweather is too experienced of a fighter to succumb to that mindset, and he'll play it safe with a mindful, no-frills victory by decision that will preserve his status as champion and "The One."