Full Preview: Mayweather-Alvarez, Garcia-Matthysse & Smith-Molina

Mayweather and Canelo
Photo credits: Esther Lin/Showtime

By Nick Bellafatto

As suspected, Floyd “Money” Mayweather (44-0, 26 KO’s) in taking on equally undefeated cash cow Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (42-0-1, 30 KO’s) would garner an all-time record purse of $41.5 million. Likely to shatter Pay-Per-View buys as well, could a rematch, likely to be exercised in the event Alvarez is able to prevail, exceed these phenomenal numbers? I think it can.

And how does “Canelo” in the biggest bout of the year as well as his career win to force a return match? In light of promoter Oscar De La Hoya [currently admitted to rehab for substance abuse] offering Alvarez a so-called blueprint on how to defeat Mayweather, I have to side with Jr. here.

“Oscar De La Hoya, how you gonna have a blueprint on how to beat me and you didn’t beat me,” said Floyd Jr. “And everybody Oscar De La Hoya gave the blueprint to I kicked their ass too.” That said, “The Golden Boy” in contesting Mayweather Jr. in 2007 made that bout particularly close so that one could argue it could have went either way.

Speaking of winning formulas, when I myself am asked how to beat a Floyd Mayweather Jr., I refer to the Sugar Ray Leonard-Floyd Senor bout. Ray mainly disengaging, would with good defense and total confidence throw caution to the wind when in range to land many a bone-jolting shot, to include several hard lefts and looping rights to bypass the shoulder roll.

Why do I bring this up? Because “Money” Mayweather in the mold of Senor postures and or fights quite similar to his father. Of course Ray Leonard was in a class by himself, but “Canelo” would have benefitted perhaps more so from watching that particular fight as opposed to dissecting some of Jr.’s latest endeavors.

Just as successful an approach is pounding away at the arms and anything else Alvarez can get a hold of in the same way a less refined Rocky Marciano defeated stellar tactician and kayo artist Archie Moore. In relentless fashion “The Rock” would let loose to even break blood vessels in Moore’s arms, opening up “The Mongoose” for hard finishing shots in the later rounds.

This strategy would bode well for the Mexican idol not only because he’s the bigger man not likely to get stopped, but because in trying to land pinpoint accurate shots on traditional targets much as numerous other of Floyd’s opponents have, “Canelo” would similarly come up short.

Other than that Alvarez in my mind has an excellent shot to dethrone the pound-for-pound king simply because all of the pieces are close to coming together. I say close because not at his most refined “Canelo” seemed to initially regret not having another high-level bout or two before tangling with Jr.

That said, those aforementioned pieces include good. head and upper body movement that will make Alvarez more of a hard target than many suspect, while he’s improved tremendously in the areas of defense and footwork. Primarily however, and what will separate “Canelo” and lead him to victory should he execute accordingly, is the consistent throwing of combinations, to then step out of range when not busy.

The Mexican simply throws beautiful tight combos of a technical variety, something that caught my eye the first time I ever saw him in action. It’s punches in bunches that will prevent openings for the pot shot counters of a defense first Floyd Mayweather. Of course Saul’s stamina is of the utmost importance so as to be consistent throughout.

And should Alvarez follow the above logic, not only will he in the judges eyes take many a round as the effective aggressor, but he will force Floyd out of the box where Jr. has to open up and fight much as he had in microcosm against Miguel Cotto, Cotto in turn having limited success.

I mean those who have failed against Mayweather Jr. get frustrated in not landing solid shots so that they tend to cease throwing in combination, a huge mistake. It’s at this juncture that Jr. picks fighter’s apart, especially in the later rounds. If only opponents would stay the course to throw 3, 4, or 5 blows at a time hit or miss. Easier said than done.

Will Alvarez maintain a consistent and prolific attack, or will the bright lights and biggest stage he’s ever been on overwhelm him? That’s the multi-million dollar question as far as I’m concerned because he has the skills to not only make inroads, but to prevail should he avoid mentally folding. In other words his confidence must not waiver, a confidence which primarily stems from the red head defeating Austin Trout simply because Trout beat Miguel Cotto.

But the truth is for what success he had against Trout, who’s indeed a slippery opponent, “Canelo” during his latest tilt looked tight in spots. He simply didn’t flow consistently, no doubt limited mentally because of the magnitude of that bout in comparison to what up until then had been mainly set-up bouts.

All told, against Floyd Jr. who for the first time in a long while is fighting twice in a year and will be at his sharpest, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez cannot allow himself to be affected mentally in what is destined to be a contest of epic proportions.

And despite whether or not “Money” Mayweather has lost a step, he’s still the leader of the pack, who in comparison to the red head is banking on his wealth of high level experience to be the determining factor. That makes it imperative the younger thicker Alvarez push the pace against 36 year old Floyd, who prone to laying back simply dissects frustrated less than busy opponents.

Again, skill wise I like “Canelo’s” chances, but until an opponent of Mayweather Jr. is able to overcome mental and therefore physical stagnation, it’s hard to say the man who consistently makes the most difficult of tasks look easy will go down in defeat in what will surely be a spectacle to behold.


005_Floyd_Mayweather
Garcia-Matthysse

With Mayweather-Canelo likely a chess match of sorts, hard core fight fans are no doubt more intrigued by a co-main event likely to steal the show when undefeated 140-pound Ring Magazine and WBA/WBC champion Danny “Swift” Garcia (26-0, 16 KO’s) risks it all against a man many favor in Argentinian knockout sensation Lucas Martin Matthysse (34-2-0, 32 KO’s).

With Garcia proving many wrong to become the number 1 junior welterweight in the world, it could be argued he did so against flawed opponents to include a glass jawed Amir Khan, as well as post prime fighters Erik Morales and Zab Judah.

That said, Matthysse is no flawed opponent, a legitimate threat if not the favorite so that props should be given to Garcia for taking on a fighter whom many prefer to avoid. I mean if confidence is to determine the winner then perhaps Garcia is to triumph.

Other than that, while I don’t underestimate Danny so much, I’ve come to appreciate the subtle skills recently acquired by Matthysse so that he is to me more than just an awesomely powerful puncher. He’s simply learned how to position himself against upper echelon fighters to inflict the type of fight finishing blows he’s come to be recognized for.

All in all this is a contest that may very well come down to what Larry Merchant might say; the fighter who can take it as well as the fighter who lands the first big shot will prevail in what is a high stakes affair between the number 1 and 2 junior welterweights in the world.

Unable to dismiss that theory, I believe Lucas Matthysse will win based on something many don’t suspect, pure and simple timing. With Danny punching wide, to as an at times less than focused fighter land with his eyes closed, I see the Argentine making hay with a well-timed straight right hand in between what is the go-to left hook of Garcia.

I mean Lucas has got to be looking for that punch as opposed to trying to hook with a hooker. Whether it plays out in that fashion or not is pure speculation. However, what is fact is that when the man known as “The Machine” does land it reverberates throughout those who bear witness first hand so that an excellent catch and counter guy like Garcia can’t afford to miss a beat.

In other words, like fellow Philly fighter Bernard Hopkins alluded to, Garcia will likely have to pitch a shutout to avoid becoming Matthysse’s 33rd knockout victim.

As for Danny himself, not concerned at all with what Matthysse might do, he states it’s all about making adjustments. However, adjustments will be hard to come by when under duress or off balance as a result of getting pummeled with hard shots to the body and most everywhere else.

So to avoid this the defending champion has either got to earn some respect by perhaps disguising his left hook, or he will otherwise have to uncharacteristically box from the outside where Lucas is and has proven vulnerable. A tall order in that Garcia must be consistent over the course of twelve rounds.

Otherwise I see Matthysse handling what power “Swift” is able to wield, to force the fight upon the champion and eventually knock him out if not registering a hard fought points victory. This in a bout Lucas has been waiting for.

Smith-Molina

In another title affair, veteran Ishe “Sugar Shay” Smith (25-5, 11 KO’s) of Las Vegas, Nevada after an emotional outpouring over his recent IBF junior middleweight title acquisition at the expense of Cornelius “K9” Bundrgage, has seen fit to give a more than deserving Carlos Molina (21-5-2, 6 KO’s) of Chicago, Illinois a shot at his title.

Succinctly put, seeing that Smith didn’t separate himself all that much when in against a flat lethargic Bundrage, I have to go with the tricky Carlos Molina to pull this one out.

He’s been more successful against high level opponents as of late in comparison to Smith who when contesting upper echelon fighters in the past has usually come up short. Molina who tough and adaptable as the hungry challenger he is will find a way to win in a bout that should go the distance.

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