COMMENTARY | A few years ago, it was virtually impossible to browse a boxing forum without running into a debate over the possibility of a Floyd "Money" Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao bout.
All that changed when Juan Manuel Marquez put Pacquiao to sleep with a vicious right cross last December.
With the dwindled demand for a Mayweather vs. Pacquiao super-fight, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez emerged as the would-be villain slayer that might have what it takes to give Money the humbling defeat many of his critics think he deserves.
Like the highly fantasized-about Mayweather vs. Pacquiao bout, the first round of negotiations between Floyd and Canelo didn't lead to the desired result, when both men failed to reach an agreement on the weight limit.
Mayweather (44-0-0, 26 KOs) went on to fight Robert Guerrero, while Alvarez (42-0-1, 30 KOs) tested his skills against then-undefeated WBA middleweight champion Austin Trout. Both men emerged victorious in their endeavors, setting the stage for their Sept. 14 fight.
When it was finally revealed that Mayweather and Alvarez had come to an agreement, the news came as a bit of a surprise to many fans, but Money's reasoning for accepting the fight was rather simple.
"To be the best you have to fight the best and Canelo is one of the best fighters out there at this particular time," Mayweather said during their June 24 press conference. "That's why this fight is called 'the one.'"
Some say Mayweather vs. Alvarez will be the biggest fight in recent boxing history, and given the enormous amount of fans both have, that will probably be case.
But it might not be a very competitive bout.
While Alvarez will be the bigger, stronger man when the two square up, he's still nowhere near Mayweather in terms of technical boxing skills. If Mayweather decides to revert to the defensive style he used against Guerrero, it will probably be a very long night for Canelo.
That doesn't mean fans won't be entertained leading up to and during the bout.
Canelo seems to be mentally ready to test his skills against boxing's pound-for-pound king, and he certainly won't go down without a fight.
"This was the next step to get Mayweather," Alvarez explained. "I'm the type of fighter that if you give me someone who is better than me, it's motivating. It gets the real Canelo. Trout was OK. He was a good fighter, but he didn't impose his will on me. He didn't bring out the best Canelo. Mayweather is the guy."
Leading up to the Guerrero fight, Mayweather was a lot more reserved than usual. Sure, he threw a few wisecracks at Robert every now and then, but it wasn't the same Mayweather that we've all grown accustomed to. Given the lackluster pay-per-view sales of Mayweather's bout against Guerrero, it's highly unlikely he'll approach his next fight with the same mentality.
Money didn't make it rain, he wasn't out in clubs burning hundred dollar bills, and he forgot to remind his critics that he earns more money in a single fight than most professionals make throughout their career. It's a marketing strategy that has proven to be the most effective in all of sports, yet Mayweather strayed away from it for some reason.
It could be the maturity that comes with age, or the growth he experienced during his stint at the Clarke County Detention Center last year, but the Mayweather that showed up leading up to his fight against Guerrero wasn't as entertaining.
Don't expect Money to make the same mistake twice.
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