This could be the toughest test for Mayweather in a long time with Alvarez

Mayweather and Canelo
Photo credit: Esther Lin/Showtime

By Rich Mancuso

Floyd Mayweather Jr. is two and a half to one favorite, as expected to defeat Canelo Alvarez in the ring at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas tonight. And perhaps the Mayweather name, because he is the face of boxing, makes him the predominant favorite to remain undefeated and continue his legacy.

However, do not underestimate Alvarez. The popular and young Mexican superstar has a great chance to put a stop to the Mayweather undefeated streak. This catch weight fight, more of a concern for Alvarez could also be the beginning of a trilogy that would mean more revenue for Mayweather and his record contract with Showtime/CBS. Showtime the subsidiary of CBS, and Golden Boy Promotions are rightfully so on top of the boxing world. Why? They have Floyd Mayweather Jr. as their commodity, and boxing by every claim is associated with the Mayweather name.

Interesting how in a year there is no longer talk about a Mayweather fight with eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao, and the name of Canelo Alvarez at the age of 23, became the mega fight for Mayweather. As we approach the most anticipated fight in a long time, Showtime/CBS and Golden Boy know what they have in Mayweather. Even if it cost them in excess of $32 million or more per fight, in this six-fight deal that began on May 4th, with a dominant win over Robert Guerrero, Mayweather brings money to the table.

The boxing world is asked, who wins Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas? The prevailing choice is Mayweather, and of course it would be. Alvarez tabbed as the number one Mexican fighter in the world, undefeated in 43 pro bouts, is not in the class of eight-time and five-division, Mayweather. The approach is simple for Alvarez. He has to attack Mayweather early. Alvarez has that ability of speed, power, and the counter punch to make Mayweather know, this is not going to be easy. And this could be the toughest task for Mayweather in a long time.

Mayweather will not go down easy, and as much as Showtime and Golden Boy don’t want to see their commodity lose, a win by Alvarez won’t mean we have seen the last of these two in the ring. There is a rematch clause in the contract, and it must be reiterated, there is a rematch clause in the Mayweather contract. Alvarez does not have that stipulation, but be assured, if the fight ends with a controversial decision against the Mexican, he will also get a return fight. And there maybe will be another one after that, because this is also destined to be the next trilogy in the sport.

But, quickly Alvarez has become an interest in the boxing world. Had it been differently, Mayweather would have chosen an opponent of less value. With so few having the pay-per-view marketability, Alvarez, was the opponent with his rise in popularity and appeal to the Mexican population and Latino boxing fan. And he does create a following among the 32 percent of Hispanic level in sports, the percentage number who follow boxing. That statistic as reported by Scarborough Sports Marketing in a market study that was released last year. The study was used by Showtime/CBS and Golden Boy to further state how huge a fight this is.

Regardless of the outcome, this extravaganza, as it has become, is a bonanza at the box office. Golden Boy on Thursday announced that the bout has earned $20,003,150 in live tickets at the MGM Grand. It is a record and the highest gate receipt for a boxing event. And the pay-per-view revenue is expected to make this the highest grossing boxing event despite the hefty price to order.

Mayweather will add to his excess of $153 million in fight revenue since May of 2010. Alvarez will never get to that point, but he knocks off Mayweather and the spectrum suddenly will change, Canelo Alvarez has a lot to prove getting to Mayweather status, and he should not be compared, right now to Mexican legend and Hall of Famer, Julio Caesar Chavez. It has always been a strategy to analyze a mega fight by comparing mutual opponents. The question is asked, who has tested Alvarez? Is, he deserving to be in there with Mayweather? Austin Trout is no Mayweather and, Alvarez is not in there with Trout.

All of that is answered Saturday night with a win by Alvarez. Again, boxing could benefit if these two have another bout soon after, or a trilogy which is not ruled out of the question. Boxing is in the spotlight, a bit, with this fight. A controversial decision lets the skeptics knock the sport and the casual fan who views this fight does not come back. It is Las Vegas and anything is possible, plus the Mayweather haters want to see him hit the canvas.

Alvarez is capable of dropping Mayweather. The defensive fighter, Mayweather, rest assured, will do everything he can to not let that happen. In the meantime, let the receipts get counted. Mayweather, like him or not, is the one who can continue giving boxing exposure, after all he is the face of the sport. This writer has covered significant fights in 28 or more years at ringside that include Hagler/Hearns, Duran/Leonard, Chavez/Whitaker, Pryor/Arguello and many more that deserve mention. And Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Canelo Alvarez, if it lives up to expectations will also be remembered.

And many times, who you pick, how you analyze, does not always turn out that way when the final scorecards are read. Or if there is the knockout that puts an end to the festivities, and on that note expect, as has been said here before: Canelo Alvarez will make his mark and win a close decision, or Maywather gets careless, (that hardly happens), and Alvarez gets a TKO in the late rounds. Hopefully it will live up to all the hype and expectations. Boxing needs a good fight or the Mayweather pay-per-view bonanza and money train is in jeopardy.

UNDERCARD PREDICTION: Lucas Matthysse will dethrone Danny Garcia by TKO in round 6 and take the WBA/WBC super lightweight title.

Comment Rich Mancuso: Mancuso

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