Floyd Mayweather has accomplished many great things throughout his illustrious career, but there's no question that a loss to Saul "Canelo" Alvarez on Saturday, Sept. 14 in Las Vegas will greatly damage his legacy.
Canelo (42-0-1, 30 KO) has far less pressure on him in this fight with expectations being pretty low for the Mexican-born superstar. He's still just 23 years old with an entire career ahead of him, and he's still a bit raw after not having fought many high-profile opponents.
He certainly hasn't fought anyone on the level of Money.
Mayweather, on the other hand, has faced and beaten the best numerous times in his career. He's held a belt in five different weight classes and is often considered one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in the sport's history.
But Money (44-0, 26 KO) has come under fire in recent years as his detractors have charged he's ducked some of the tougher opponents on the table—namely Manny Pacquiao. The two have come close to fighting before, but it seems whenever a deal is close, both camps find a way to spoil it.
That charge against Mayweather wasn't helped when his friend and rapper 50 Cent stated that Money handpicks his opponents based on who he matches up well with and that he did indeed ducked Pacquiao, per Jeff Powell of the Daily Mail:
Did Floyd Mayweather duck Manny Pacquiao?
‘Yes,’ said the rapper who was Mayweather’s business partner during the brief period when a rock-solid proposal for boxing’s first and long-awaited $200million fight was firmly on the table.
‘He did duck the fight. That was $100m right there for him and he just left it.’
‘It’s more a question of who it is necessary for him to fight. So its more about finding the perfect opponent than finding the toughest fighter to fight. When you’re looking to go into the history books you do it a bit differently. You fight the other great fighters.'
Taking the fight with Canelo has helped silence his critics for the time being as Mayweather is finally taking on the best competition available at the moment. But it would be a devastating loss for Mayweather should Canelo come out on top.
Canelo is less experienced than Mayweather, and by all accounts he's less talented as well. The only way for Alvarez to prove otherwise would be to beat Money. If that happens, there's no choice but to look at Mayweather as being the lesser of the two fighters.
Such a scenario would be a far cry from the respect Mayweather is getting coming into this fight. Not only would the doubts remain about if Mayweather was even good enough to beat Pacman at the top of his game in the first place, but now he would be inferior to another fighter in Alvarez.
Granted, Money would still be looked at as one of the greats, and his previous 44 wins wouldn't be discounted; however, there will be that big "but" when talking about his failure with Canelo and his alleged desire to duck tougher opponents.
People will wonder if it's just one fight he's lost or if he would have lost more, thus further burying his legacy and taking it from elite to a more human level. Should he win, his legacy will be intact and Alvarez will be another great fighter to add to Money's list of victims.
With so much on the line for Mayweather, he will need his experience to rise above and stop himself from trying to do to much in order to ensure victory. His legacy is very much on the line, and a loss on Saturday will bring Mayweather down from above the clouds to the earth where the rest of us mortals reside.