COMMENTARY | From the looks of things, all of the hype leading up to the September 14 Floyd Mayweather-Saul Alvarez bout has gotten under Mayweather's skin.
The five-division world champ and undisputed No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world is no stranger to pre-fight promotion and all of the empty promises rendered in the heat of the hype.
Every opponent has the secret to beating Mayweather and every trainer claims to possess the blueprint to victory. All of these plans and philosophies fall to pieces, though, when the fight actually starts and the opponent comes face to face with boxing's riddle wrapped in an elite-class enigma.
When face to face with Mayweather, old pros seem like flailing rookies and hardcore battlers become confused, handcuffed journeymen. It's not that Mayweather's opposition has been that bad; it's just that Mayweather is that good.
In his last bout, Mayweather made Robert Guerrero -- a fighter ranked in the top 5 by every reputable rankings source -- look like a five-fight novice. Guerrero, a multi-division world champ, did everything by the book, his technique was sharp, and his game plan was solid -- Mayweather was just fighting on a different level, in a world that few fighters ever reach.
Now, another fighter is claiming to have the secret to beating Mayweather and another opposing team is tossing around the idea of a blueprint. This should be old hat for Mayweather, just another fight against another foe -- but it isn't. Or, at least, Mayweather may be giving the impression that this challenge may be different than the rest.
"And it's so crazy that Canelo is such a big star but he's never been on pay-per-view unless he was on my undercard," Mayweather said during the Los Angeles stop of the multi-city Mayweather-Alvarez press tour. "But he's such a big star. He's such a big star, Oscar."
Fans have seen the arrogant Mayweather, the condescending Mayweather, and even the fake-modest Mayweather. But the world had yet to see a Mayweather so aggressively antagonistic toward his opponent and the opposing team.
Although occasionally trying to reel it in for the sake of looking like the noble elder statesman he'd like to be, there's something about this upcoming challenge that brings out the nastiness.
"I'm fighting Dennis the Menace, I mean, Carrot Top, I mean, Blake Griffin, I mean, Chucky," Mayweather joked during a training session filmed by Showtime's camera crews.
Perhaps Mayweather feels that this is a real challenge coming his way, one where the challenger has at least a decent chance of rising to the occasion.
More likely, though, Mayweather may resent the fact that he has to share the main stage with a 23-year-old fighter who, under normal circumstances, would be fighting on the undercard, playing chief support to Mayweather for at least a couple more years.
Throughout the press tour for the fight, Mayweather had to bite his tongue and watch as Canelo's star was built at his expense. The Mexican's rabid following showed up to the public events in droves, giving the appearance that he and Mayweather were on equal footing in the area of drawing power.
Canelo was pushed as the next big thing, the next big star. The red carpet was laid out for the red-headed battler; despite the fact that many still feel he is being rushed to the big leagues due to a lack of viable big ticket opposition for Mayweather. Up until now, all Canelo has proved is that he's a fiercely determined young man with a solid resume for a 23-year-old fighter and an inroad to tapping the vast Mexican and Mexican American market.
For Mayweather, someone who never got the media darling treatment -- and still doesn't -- the flowers thrown at Alvarez's feet have to touch a nerve.
The question is whether any pent-up hostility will affect Mayweather's in-ring performance. And, if it does, will we see a sharper, more aggressive Floyd hit the ring with fire in his eyes or will we bear witness to an angry, raging Mayweather just careless enough to be vulnerable?
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.
YouTube Video of Los Angeles Press Conference
All Access Floyd Mayweather vs Canelo Alvarez - Episode 2
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