COMMENTARY | Floyd Mayweather may be boxing's undisputed pound-for-pound best fighter as well as the sport's biggest cash cow, but it's Saul Alvarez's fans who feel strongly enough about their fighter to actually show up and give their support when the Mayweather-Alvarez show comes to town.
In each of the promotional stops so far on the 11-city tour to hype their September 14 pay-per-view clash, Canelo fans have outnumbered Mayweather fans by a significant amount--- even in Mayweather's home town of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
On Sunday, the tour stopped in Mexico City and, as expected, the Mexican fans welcomed their conquering hero, Canelo Alvarez, with open arms.
Police estimated that approximately 32,000 fans turned out at the historic Monumento de los Niños Heroes to support Alvarez and to take a glimpse at the curiosity of Floyd "Money" Mayweather. The fans were respectful to the five-division world champ, but it was clear that they had come to see and support their red-headed battler from Guadalajara.
"There are a lot of people who think I won't win, but come September 14, everybody is going to realize [I can]," the square-jawed Alvarez told the partisan crowd. "One of those that doesn't believe I will win is [WBC President] Jose Sulaiman...But that day, I'm going to show him that in boxing, we all have our time…and this is mine."
Next up was Mayweather and, despite some mix-ups with the interpreter, the superstar pugilist kept to his script for this promotional tour.
"Mayweather loves Mexico," he told the mass of humanity gathered in the dry sun. "I've faced a lot of great champions in my career and the toughest fighters was the Mexicans."
During the question and answer portion of the event, the press targeted Mayweather with several re-wordings of the same question: 'What's it going to feel like when Alvarez beats you?'
"I'm not afraid of nothing," Mayweather calmly replied. "Floyd Mayweather will win September 14. I'm not worried about nothing, I'm not nervous...I'm the champ, pound for pound I'm the best...Y'all keep asking me the same question over and over again...Once again, I commend Canelo. He's a young, strong champion...but when you're facing Floyd Mayweather, you're facing the best...Mexicans know boxing, but there's one thing-- right now I just can't be beat. It's just another day for me, September 14. I never have no worries."
On the flip side, a supportive Mexican press tossed softball questions at the 22-year-old WBC and WBA junior middleweight titlist, mostly concerning his preparations for the fight and his eventual place in Mexican boxing history.
"I was 19 when they first offered me this fight," Alvarez revealed after one such question. "As a fighter, I wanted it, but my team knew I wasn't ready. But now is the moment. We're confident that we're going to win. Obviously the fight won't be easy, but it's a question of good preparation and good strategy in order to win.
The press conference, as these things tend to do, eventually morphed into more of a love fest, meet and greet than informational tool for a hungry media. But the real story of the afternoon was told by the mass of humanity willing to wait patiently in the sun for a relatively brief gander at Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and his highly-confident, highly-skilled opponent.
In Mexican history, los Niños Heroes were a brave band of teenage cadets who gave their lives defending their capital from invading U.S. forces in 1847 during the last days of the Mexican-American War. One cadet, in particular, wrapped himself in the Mexican flag and jumped to his death from the Castillo de Chapultepec rather than see the flag captured by the foreign invaders.
The symbolism of staging the Mayweather-Alvarez presser in front of the monument honoring the young heroes may have been lost on most of those in attendance, but there was a definite us vs. them vibe in the air Sunday afternoon. War may not break out on September 14, but its closest relative in polite society will take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas that evening.
The young Saul Alvarez will be fighting for his country, fighting for his place in history, and fighting for all of those who turned out to support him during this press tour. Mayweather will be fighting for personal pride and to fulfill his multi-fight contract with Showtime. Could this difference in levels of motivation be enough to affect the outcome of the bout?
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: Ustream recording of Mayweather-Alvarez press conference, Showtime
- Sports & Recreation
- Floyd Mayweather
- Saul Alvarez