Floyd "Money" Mayweather is 36 years old and expected to come into the ring around 150 lbs. On the other hand Saul "Canelo" Alvarez may outweigh Mayweather by 15-20 lbs and is additionally 13 years younger. Obviously Alvarez clearly has a major physical advantage, but will he know how to use it? And even if he knows the right thing to do, will he be able to do it? My guess: probably not.
Alvarez can't match Mayweather for precision, foot work, defense, speed, and most importantly consistency / endurance. He has a heavy right hand, sure, but he doesn't set it up with the jab. Mayweather is one of the greatest defense fighters of all time. He's going to shoulder roll Canelo's straight right all night. Unless Canelo can somehow discover the stamina to consistently work on the inside (mainly with hooks as Mayweather doesn't lean in for the uppercut) or stay busy from long range (mainly utilizing lots of jabs) it's going to be an easy fight for Money May.
Personally I'm of the opinion that Alvarez does try to out box Mayweather from long range, but not with activity. I get the feeling the young man actually thinks he can fight at a modest pace and beat Mayweather with timing and subtle technique. Yes, I really do believe Canelo is that full of himself. Among previously listed attributes that Canelo lacks, he additionally doesn't have the height, reach, reflexes or experience to win the kind of fight I'm envisioning. Yet that's what I expect from him strategically. It sounds crazy, I know. But if I'm right, we'll probably expect the fight to end the same way. Mayweather UD-12.
I would argue that if Canelo is going to have any luck at all against Mayweather it's going to come as a result of body shots. And make no mistake, Canelo has solid body shots. Cotto had a bit of success landing those, and I expect to see Canelo get some in as well. Enough to stop Mayweather, or enough to win a majority of rounds? That I don't see. Speed was an issue for Canelo when he fought Austin Trout - against the much faster Mayweather, Canelo is going to be a few steps throughout much of the fight. Trout also shut down Canelo at times by controlling the action with a jab - a weapon Mayweather uses well. So does Canelo have the ability to get inside, touch Floyd up a and make it a fight? For sure. But will he do enough to win? I just can't see how. Mayweather UD-12.
What struck me as I sat down to write this, and my earlier fight preview, is that, for as much as I've tussled with the various outcomes of this contest over the past few months, there's not really been any point where I've seriously contemplated the notion of Canelo Alvarez walking away as a deserved winner come Saturday night. That's not to say I don't think he can, and certainly not to say I don't love the match-up. The talk, though, of this being the fight that Mayweather finally gets old doesn't really hold sway with me - I think fighting so soon after the Guerrero fight will benefit, and there's every chance he'll look even sharper than he did back in May. I also don't think the weight will be a major factor - Canelo may have looked slightly dry at the weigh-in, but I doubt it's a huge concern.
The Mayweather decision is the obvious choice - nobody's going to outbox Floyd, and nobody's going to knock out this version of him, unless this version is, in fact, a very different fighter from that we saw just a few months ago. How it unfolds is, for me, the question, and I think this looks much more like the Cotto fight than any other he's fought recently. It could be chippier than many expect, such are the stakes, and while Mayweather may well win the vast majority of the rounds, I'd be amazed if the judges make it as clean-cut as perhaps they should be, and pleasantly surprised if the right decision gets read out at all. When was the last time a really huge event had a whitewash on the cards? Look for a swing of no more than three rounds, perhaps less, and the very real possibility of a verdict that fails to satisfy. Mayweather SD-12.
Alvarez is a legit junior-middleweight, and when he steps into the ring on Saturday night, he'll likely have an advantage of at least 15-20 pounds on Floyd Mayweather. The problem, however, is that Alvarez isn't a physical fighter, and that edge in natural bulk might never come into play.
If he had the style of a Jose Luis Castillo, or to a lesser extent, Miguel Cotto, and liked to aggressively push forward, jab his way inside and fire hooks downstairs, he'd be a nightmare for the 36-year-old Mayweather. But that's not who he is. He's a mid-to-long range boxer that picks his spots, and in a tactical fight, where each man is carefully looking for openings, height and reach will likely be more important than poundage - and in those areas, little separates the two men.
I'll take Mayweather by 117-111 type scores. He should be able to really take command in the second half thanks to his vast edge in experience and the the youngster's iffy stamina. Mayweather UD-12.
There are way too many technical reasons why Floyd should and will win this fight. Canelo punches too wide, his power is overrated, he tired out a ton in his last fight, his flat footed approach makes him slower than a Floyd conqueror would need to be. But in the end I believe Floyd wins this fight because of his talent rather than Canelo's deficiencies. I expect this to unfold like a typical Mayweather bout, a close first few rounds, then tons of excellent timing, counter punches, superior movement, increasingly accurate pot shots, basically another Mayweather clinic in efficiency and hit and don't get hit cliche. In the end I expect it to be a route, Floyd landing so much that the ref has no choice but to step in for a mercy stoppage (basically what almost happened against Robert Guerrero, this time with no hand injury). Canelo will have brighter days, but I fully expect Floyd to deliver on either the biggest or secknd biggest stage of his career. Mayweather TKO-10.
Eight years ago, Floyd Mayweather doesn’t struggle much against Canelo Alvarez. But it’s not eight years ago, and Alvarez is a dangerous opponent who is all wrong for the aging superstar — tremendous power in both hands, a good chin, and a born fighter. I consider this a pick’em, but at a heavier weight, against a far younger opponent, this might finally be the fight that Mayweather slows down in. If he does, look for fireworks. If he doesn’t, take notes on the boxing clinic.
I like Canelo. No, really. I was once very hard on him for not facing a stiffer quality of opponent but he took the Austin Trout fight when Golden Boy seemed fixated on feeding him Miguel Cotto and, for that, I must commend him. The problem here is that like Victor Ortiz and Robert Guerrero before him, he is following his career-best win with a fight against the top boxer in the world, Floyd Mayweather. It's not a dumb move, it's guaranteed to be the biggest purse of one's career. I'd do it too. But Canelo has not faced nearly enough high-quality boxers to be as ready for Floyd as he needs to be. Alas, when the king yells "Jump!", one merely replies "How high?", and Canelo knows he has a huge opportunity before him.
I thought Guerrero would give Mayweather a more difficult task than what he ultimately did because I felt "Money" had slipped a little. He looked human against Cotto, and I figured it may simply be that he is slowing down. Mayweather proved that idea wrong, and I have no reason to believe he is going to be significantly worse than he was four months ago. That's bad news for Canelo, who has good hand speed but stiff footwork and spotty defense. The biggest issue for Canelo, however, is his own lack of consistent workrate. He simply takes too many minutes off during the middle of his fights, a potential death blow against a guy as focused and in-shape as Mayweather.
The first three or four rounds will be fairly back and forth as each man tries to outjab and outfox the other. But this is what Mayweather is best at. He'll study Canelo early then gradually pick him apart as the fight moves forward. When Canelo tries to take a break, he will land jabs and straight right hands while pulling away on the cards. He won't stop Canelo, but he will clearly defeat his younger, stronger opponent. Mayweather UD-12.
Matt "Ban-Man" Miller
The fight will start the way most expect. Canelo will be aggressive, trying to get his combination-punching groove on and finding some success, as a measured Mayweather sizes him up, giving up a couple early rounds. Then Mayweather will adjust, as he always does, and begin to turn it around in the third or fourth. He'll find a home for that right hand and win some middle rounds. It will seem a letdown to those hoping for a Canelo win--an all too familiar script. But then something startling: Canelo will adjust too. He will have a plan B, and surprising many, he will have energy to execute it and win some middle-late rounds with an up and down body/head strategy, making it pretty interesting. He's going to learn that Mayweather's punches aren't the deterrent on his younger sturdier frame that they have been against Floyd's smaller opponents. Mayweather will seem in danger of losing, and there will be a moment when he seems out of sorts. He's going to visibly wince at some of Canelo's rib shots. But Floyd will look inside himself and adjust again. He will turn up the gas in the final rounds. He still won't hurt Canelo, but he will score more cleanly. This aggression will be rewarded with the clearest rounds of the fight, and Canelo will look tired in the last two. Scott will have it scored closely for Mayweather. Press row will mostly agree, though quite a few will have it wider for Mayweather. The official scores will be a razor close split decision for Floyd, justifying another fight down the line. We might even see a draw. Mayweather SD-12.
It looks like Mayweather holds most the cards with Alvarez only having strength and youthfulness on his side. Whilst Alvarez is a very talented fighter, Mayweather is an exceptional talent, a once in a generation superstar. Alvarez has done everything that's been asked of him so far in his career but Mayweather is an altogether different beast to anything Alvarez will have come up against before.
The best chance of beating Mayweather is by using educated pressure in a similar fashion to how Castillo did. It's easier said than done but I feel you've got to throw four and five punch combinations - to head and body, work for every second of every round and keep your punches tight and controlled. You can't afford to jump in rashly or throw wide hooks against Mayweather, he'll simply pick you off with counters all night long.
Whilst I feel Alvarez will be controlled and will keep his punches tight, I'm not sure whether he'll be able to constantly throw punches in bunches and work non-stop for twelve rounds. I also believe he isn't quick enough on his feet to be able to pin Mayweather down long enough to get his combinations away.
Alvarez will raise his game, of that I've no doubt, I just feel Mayweather's skills, ring intelligence and experience will be the determining factors. It should be interesting in the first four rounds, after that, I believe Mayweather will have made the necessary adjustments needed to outbox and outfox the younger man. Mayweather UD-12 (around 117-111).