COMMENTARY | Saul "Canelo" Alvarez is in line for his biggest payday in his young career when he faces Floyd Mayweather on September 14. Although many see the Mexican as Mayweather's biggest threat to date, most boxing pundits are still selecting Mayweather to get past the young redhead. So, let's just say that the fight goes as most expect and Mayweather earns a decision victory. What will it do to the young fighter's career? If history tells us anything, it says that Mayweather opponents are never the same after being taken to school by the man known as the best pound for pound fighter in the world today.
It's really interesting when you take a look at the careers of those that have ended up on the wrong side of victory against Mayweather. It's not like the pay per view king punishes his opponents with thudding combinations for 12 rounds to the point where their body and mind are wrecked forever (a la Meldrick Taylor). Something happens to Mayweather foes when they are stripped of their confidence over the course of a fight.
Aside from Juan Manuel Marquez, they are never the same.
We haven't seen nor heard from Robert Guerrero since he was nearly shut out by Mayweather so it is far too soon to know whether he is now damaged goods. Miguel Cotto had been punished severely by Manny Pacquiao before the Mayweather fight and fought valiantly when the two met last May. But after that loss, Cotto went on to lose to Austin Trout and is hoping to get his career back on track against Delvin Rodriguez. But Cotto certainly not the fighter he once was. Victor Ortiz had a scintillating victory over Andre Berto but when he was knocked out by what has been widely deemed as a sucker punch by Mayweather, Ortiz' boxing career began spiraling downward. A loss to the much smaller Josesito Lopez has left Ortiz' career in doubt as he hasn't fought since June of 2012.
Shane Mosley appeared to get his career back on track with a stunning knockout victory over Antonio Margarito but was undressed by Mayweather in their 2010 fight. Afterwards, Mosley went winless as he had a disappointing draw with Sergio Mora and was beaten up by both Pacquiao and Canelo. Now he seems to be a shell of his former self that many think is simply fighting for a paycheck and ruining his legacy. If you look at the careers of Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Carlos Baldomir, Zab Judah, Arturo Gatti and Sharmba Mitchell, you'll notice a disturbing trend of fighters sliding downward after a Mayweather loss.
Upon closer inspection, there may be some merit to the latter. Cotto had been beaten down by Pacquiao; Ortiz had already become known as a quitter against Marcos Maidana; Shane Mosley was thought to be on the downside of his career and was expected to lose to Margarito; De La Hoya had been knocked out by Hopkins and was far from the fighter he was in the 90s; Judah was upset by Baldomir; Gatti had been in way too many wars before Mayweather beat him blind.
It's tricky to figure out if there is a Mayweather effect because you simply cannot take away from what Mayweather has accomplished in his career. He's been just as precise with his punching as his defense has proven to be impenetrable. But an argument can be made that his opponents are on the wrong side of their prime when they step into the ring with "Money." Could it simply be that he is taking advantage of the situation?
Which brings us back to Canelo. He's only 23 and has a lot of fight left in him. He'll be the first of the recent string of Mayweather opponents who has yet to hit his prime. It's like when LeBron James made his first NBA Finals appearance against the San Antonio Spurs and was promptly swept out of the building. The greatness was there, but King James simply wasn't ready and was in over his head against a group of savvy veterans. But that loss taught him a great deal and helped him become the four-time NBA MVP and two-time NBA champion he is today. It will be interesting to see if Canelo could become an even better fighter in defeat.
When Mayweather was asked whether a boxing lesson would help Canelo become a great fighter, the million-dollar man gave praise to his young opponent.
"I think Canelo will still have a lot left because he's still young. When his career is over he'll have over 100 fights," he said.
Again, this is all assuming that Alvarez loses to Mayweather on September 14. If a Mayweather victory comes to fruition, we shall see if there really is such a thing as "The Mayweather Effect."
Andreas Hale is a former editor at websites including BET.com and HipHopDX.com. Today, he resides in Las Vegas and has covered boxing and MMA for mainstream media outlets such as MTV.com and Jay-Z's LifeandTimes.com, as well as die-hard outlets, including FightNews.com, Fight! Magazine, Ultimate MMA, CagePotato.com and others.
You can follow him on Twitter (@AndreasHale).
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