COMMENTARY | Five-division world champ, Floyd Mayweather is a defensive master, capable of avoiding most everything thrown his way in the ring. But there's no shoulder roll good enough to avoid the charges of hypocrisy in the recent announcement that he'd be fighting Saul "Canelo" Alvarez on September 14 at a catchweight of 152 lbs.
"I would never want to put a fighter in a position where he's not comfortable. I want a guy when he's at his best. If he's at his best at 154 and he's strong and he's solid, then that's the fight we're fighting at. I walk around at 150, but at the end of the day - skills pay the bills.... Give me the guys where they are comfortable at their weight so there are no excuses."
--Floyd Mayweather, February of 2012.
Mayweather is now trying to intercept the negative backlash to the catchweight clause by pointing the finger at Canelo. According to him, it was Team Alvarez that wanted the catchweight clause for this fight.
"If I'm not mistaken," Mayweather told Ben Thompson of Fighthype, "They came on record and said they wanted to meet at a catchweight, so we came up with 152 and both parties said we're comfortable with that. You're going to hear people criticize me and say, 'You're doing the same thing Pacquiao is doing, fighting everybody at a catchweight.' No I'm not because Pacquiao presents that to his opponents. Once again, these people brought this to me. They said, 'Well, we'll fight Mayweather at a catchweight.' That's all you had to say. You said that. I didn't bring that to you guys; you guys brought that to me."
Alvarez trainer, "Chepo" Reynoso, has a slightly different version of the story.
"Those two pounds that we're sacrificing was a condition to get the Mayweather fight," Reynoso told Boxingscene. "He wanted 150 pounds and we requested 152, and I think in the end we did well...If we did not give up those two pounds, he wouldn't fight. Besides, Mayweather wanted to fight at 147, then 150. Fortunately, Richard Schaefer is a great negotiator. Everyone did their part to get this achieved."
Technically, Alvarez did say that he'd be willing to go down to 150 lbs. to make a Mayweather fight, but that was way back in 2011 when facing "Money" was just a pipe dream for the young fighter from Guadalajara. To hold him to those words more than two years later is a real stretch.
Since the fight announcement, the internet has been full of catchweight hypocrisy talk, with everyone from casual fans on Facebook to veteran boxing scribes weighing in on the issue.
Unlike many, though, this writer's opinion is firm and consistent-Catchweights like these are bad for the sport. Whether it's Pacquiao asking two pounds of Cotto or Mayweather asking two pounds of Alvarez, this is really little more than a contractually imposed cheat and it ruins the integrity of the actual fight.
Two pounds can, and does, make a difference to a fighter, especially in this day and age when fighters usually compete well below their natural "walking around" weight.
The most frustrating part is that Mayweather won't likely need a contractual cheat to beat Canelo Alvarez, just as Pacquiao probably didn't need one to beat Cotto. In the end, all the catchweight nonsense does is cast shadows on what might normally be an outstanding achievement.
"I look at Miguel Cotto as an undefeated fighter because he faced Pacquiao, but Pacquiao caught him at a catch weight. He wasn't the best Miguel Cotto. He was drained. He wasn't hydrated."
--Floyd Mayweather via HBO's Face Off with Max Kellerman.
So, after September 14, will Canelo Alvarez remain undefeated, even if Mayweather has his hands raised in victory?
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: Fighthype, Boxingscene, HBO
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- Floyd Mayweather
- Canelo Alvarez