COMMENTARY | For years, the talk in the boxing world had been Mayweather-Pacquiao. However, this mega-bout between star-crossed fighters separated by pride, ego, and dueling promotional companies, never came to be. The debate over who would've won will now be forever relegated to message board discussion and social media debate.
Now, the new talk in the boxing world will be Mayweather-Canelo. Media-savvy fans already got a taste of the buzz following Saul Alvarez's unanimous decision victory over Austin Trout last Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
The headlines were everywhere and written in varied tones-from the demanding "Mayweather must fight Alvarez" to the dismissing "Mayweather will never fight Canelo now." And along with the headlines, discussions began wherever boxing fans congregate to discuss the sweet science.
Alvarez, himself, was tired of the topic in the post-fight glory of his biggest win to date.
"How many times do I have to say it? Mayweather is who I want," Alvarez told the media in a terse post-fight statement.
If all had gone according to Team Canelo's plans, the Mayweather bout would already be a done deal. The 22-year-old junior middleweight top dog from Guadalajara, Mexico had wanted a written promise from Mayweather guaranteeing dibs on a September pay-per-view bout in exchange for playing chief support to Mayweather-Guerrero on "Money's" May 4 card. When Mayweather balked at the ultimatum, Alvarez took his bout with Trout to San Antonio and proved that he didn't need to piggyback on Mayweather's name in order to sell tickets or attract a TV viewing audience.
The Alamodome was packed with about 40,000 screaming fans Saturday night and, while the TV ratings have yet to be released as of this writing, they are likely to topple Showtime's previous record of 1.04 million live viewers for the Alvarez-Josesito Lopez clash last September 15, opposite the Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. bout on HBO pay-per-view.
Alvarez has definitely proven his star power and with the solid win over the well-regarded WBA titlist Austin Trout, he achieved a level of legitimacy that now makes a Mayweather bout a "real" contest on all levels.
The only question now is whether the hard-to-predict, hard-to-coerce Mayweather sees things the same way.
HBO's Larry Merchant seems to think that fans will have to wait a bit longer before they see Canelo-Mayweather.
"Mayweather is supposed to have a six-fight contract [with Showtime] and usually a fighter doesn't want to put that kind of a deal in jeopardy," Merchant told Boxingscene. " And I think that Alvarez poses a serious threat to him. He's a naturally bigger guy, he's strong, he's tough. I don't see that happening sooner rather than later."
Mayweather may have second thoughts about fighting a young, strong kid who re-hydrates up to 170 lbs. by fight night-especially when he finds himself giving away 20 lbs. of muscle mass to a fighter almost young enough to be his son.
On the other hand, the five-division world champ may want to take the fight in September while the WBC and WBA junior middleweight champ still sports some exploitable flaws in his technique. Waiting two or three fights down the line against a kid who is still developing could prove to be a bad matchmaking choice.
However, Showtime Sports president, Stephen Espinoza, who signed Mayweather to a six-fight, thirty-month deal earlier this year, believes that Mayweather may be convinced to take the Canelo fight now rather than later.
"It [Alvarez-Trout] was definitely an exciting performance, but it also showed some flaws that 'Canelo' has, and Floyd makes you pay for every single flaw you have," Espinoza told Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times. "So while I'm sure 'Canelo' will get better, I'm sure Floyd was salivating while watching that…The time is right for that fight as long as Floyd gets past Guerrero."
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
Sources: Los Angeles Times, Boxingscene
- Sports & Recreation
- Saul Alvarez
- Austin Trout