COMMENTARY | In boxing, there's good matchmaking, there's smart matchmaking, and then there's absolute genius matchmaking.
On September 14 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, Floyd Mayweather vs. Saul "Canelo" Alvarez will show off the best of the best in "no lose" matchmaking.
Really, a more perfect bout could not have been made for the benefit of all parties involved--- Mayweather, Alvarez, and even the fans (believe it or not).
For Mayweather, he gets to do his thing against an undefeated, physically huge, and supremely confident "good" guy who, most importantly, may be several developmental steps below where he needs to be to actually win. The 23-year-old Canelo is genetically hard-wired to put forth the effort, though, and that will most likely result in an entertaining tussle regardless of what the scorecards may say. Even if down by 10 points in the 11th round, Alvarez will carry the confidence of a man who believes that he can still win, that he can still score the knockout. From everything we know about the young champ from Jalisco, quiet resignation is just not part of his character.
Unlike so many of Mayweather's opponents in the past, Alvarez truly believes in himself and his ability to win. When he talks about destiny and "his time" to rule the sport, it's not just part of the pre-fight publicity. He truly believes that only Floyd Mayweather stands between him and every one of his dreams. This earnest self-belief will make for a compelling performance and keep Mayweather from sweeping the first few rounds and then going into cruise control.
Mayweather will be pushed by his young challenger, but he should have all the tools necessary to come away with the victory. The genius for Team Mayweather comes in fighting this big-ticket young star about two years before he would've become a legitimately deadly foe. So, Mayweather should get full credit for the victory and benefit from full market value for fighting Alvarez well before Alvarez can develop the tools to actually beat him.
And if Alvarez can flip the script and do better than expected ... or even win?
Well, Mayweather has a built-in rematch clause leading to a return bout that will be significantly bigger than the first. And then, after that, a possible part three. Financially, a loss to Canelo could be the best thing to happen to "Money." With no other really huge bouts on the horizon, a three-fight series with a new boxing superstar would keep Showtime happy and keep Mayweather buried in $40-50 million paydays.
For Alvarez, the Mayweather bout is truly a win-win. Alvarez is facing the very best fighter in the world and one who looks to be unbeatable at the moment. Few expect a victory from "Canelo" at this stage of his career and anything short of a one-sided romp will be seen as a moral victory.
A hard-fought loss to the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world actually elevates Alvarez's star. He can fall back on just being a kid in the game and then take a few tuneups before reclaiming junior middleweight gold when Mayweather moves back down to the more comfortable welterweight division. Just the mere exposure of being paired with Mayweather will help the red-headed battler cross over to the mainstream while maintaining his loyal Mexican following.
A win for Alvarez, of course, will turn the sport upside down and immediately transform him into boxing's next mainstream superstar.
And the fans?
The fans will get a major spectacle on September 14, a solid undercard, and a compelling main event featuring the best fighter in the world against an earnest young star who won't stop pushing forward.
This will be one of those rare nights in boxing where everyone should come up a winner.
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.
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