Floyd "Money" Mayweather and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez are set for one of the most anticipated fights of the year. The clash represents the type of high-profile bout boxing has been waiting for after what's been a pretty slow summer of action.
Both boxers will enter the ring undefeated, but only one will walk away with an unblemished record, barring an unsatisfying draw. A statement will be made. Either Mayweather will further establish himself as a seemingly unstoppable force, or Canelo will have his big breakthrough.
It all makes for an extremely intriguing fight. Boxing just needs to hope the battle lives up to the massive expectations which have been building for weeks.
Knowing that, let's take a closer look at how the hyped encounter is likely going to play out.
Canelo Grabs Early Edge
Alvarez is coming off a terrific showing against Austin Trout. The effort should give him plenty of confidence heading into the biggest fight of his career so far. As if often the case in situations like that, he's likely going to come out amped up and ready to roll.
Even though the Mexican sensation has more than 40 fights under his belt, none have carried this much weight or were against the caliber of fighter he's going to face in Mayweather. So keeping his emotions in check will be difficult but essential.
Ultimately, the adrenaline should work to Canelo's advantage early on. Paired with his power, he should be able to get the five-division world champion on the defensive.
Finding a way to save some energy for the later rounds won't be easy, though.
Mayweather Takes Control in Middle Rounds
Mayweather is an extraordinary defender in the ring. His ability to absorb shots from opponents like Alvarez, who can deliver some extremely heavy punches, is a key reason for his extended span of success.
It's also why this fight remains his to lose.
Canelo is going to do everything in his power to impress the judges early to show that he's a legitimate threat to Mayweather, who must put up a defensive wall. Money can't allow the underdog to connect with any major strikes.
If Mayweather can survive the first three or four rounds close to even by defending and countering, he should have little trouble taking control in the middle rounds.
Alvarez will start to lose that initial burst, and then the American can go on the offensive.
Mayweather Wins by Unanimous Decision
After gaining control in the middle rounds, Mayweather should settle into his usual comfort zone. From there, he'll be on cruise control, making sure he avoids any big shots from Canelo and doing just enough to rack up a bunch of winning rounds.
The only way Alvarez has a serious chance of pulling an upset, beyond a wild haymaker that connects, is if Mayweather has lost a step.
Otherwise, the favorite's combination of defense and speed will be too much to overcome.
Alvarez is a serious challenger and should be able to go the distance, but finding a way to win enough rounds to score the upset will be an uphill battle.
Look for Money to score yet another victory by unanimous decision.