COMMENTARY | To those picking sides and arguing bullet points for the September 14 bout between Floyd Mayweather and Saul Alvarez -- the joke is on you. Alvarez has already won.
Before the the craziness of fight week begins. Before the doors of the MGM Grand are opened. Before the fighters make their entrances. Before the opening bell. "Canelo" Alvarez is already ahead of the game and his promotional team at Golden Boy has to already be toasting one another in celebration of a job well done.
Nearly four months ago, Golden Boy used the relatively weak sales figures of the Mayweather-Robert Guerrero pay-per-view and leveraged them against Mayweather's need to pick things up for the second bout of his mega-bucks six-fight deal with Showtime to force Mayweather into a scrap with their young fighter. The game played out to perfection as Mayweather had no choice but to face the red-headed Mexican battler.
It's rare that Mayweather is backed into a corner outside the ring, but that's precisely what happened. Whether the five-division world champ had the bout in mind or not, Golden Boy and Team Canelo had managed to force Mayweather's hand and create a situation where not only was this the best fight to make, but, really, it was the only bankable fight possible.
Best of all for Golden Boy, though, is the fact that this is the ultimate no-lose situation.
Few boxing people expect Alvarez to legitimately beat Mayweather in the ring. And barring some odd occurrence, it looks like a fairly safe bet to predict a solid victory for "Money."
For Alvarez, with expectations so low, anything other than a Victor Ortiz-style breakdown or slapstick-funny inability to compete will be taken with a grain of salt, written off as a brave kid taking his shot at a legend -- burdened, to boot, by an arbitrary catchweight clause. No harm, no foul and Alvarez moves on with his career a lot richer and with valuable exposure to the casual fight fan.
But if Alvarez can make the bout competitive and create moments of true tension, his stock will rise exponentially.
And if he does the impossible and actually defeats Mayweather?
Expect instant super-stardom for the kid from Guadalajara as leader of a 100+ million strong Mexican and Mexican-American fan base in the U.S. just waiting to explode. Oscar De la Hoya touched on the power of the Latino market in the 90's, but, if anything, that demographic group has grown larger and stronger since then, showing itself to be, perhaps, one true cultural icon away from turning the sport and the market upside down.
Canelo vanquishing the vilified "Money" Mayweather would be the most prodigious passing of the torch in the history of the sport. And while the possibility of this happening surely exists, Golden Boy should be just as content with the more likely possibility of a hard-fought Canelo loss. Win, lose, or draw Canelo and Golden Boy are winners. It's the perfect business arrangement in boxing -- one where the outcome of a fight doesn't even matter.
However, don't try to explain any of this to the 23-year-old Mexican star, currently working long, painful hours in the gym to prepare for the showdown. Alvarez truly believes that he has a shot at scoring the official victory in the ring. For him, this is not a marketing chess game played by guys in suits and ties. Canelo is honest and earnest in his belief that he can and will beat Floyd Mayweather on September 14.
"This is one of my biggest dreams," Alvarez told the online Spanish-language journal, Sipse.com back in late May, when the bout was first signed. "Without a doubt it's the most important fight [of my career]. It'll serve as the beginning of a new era in my career, a new era for all of those who have supported me…I've visualized this moment thousands of times. I see myself winning the fight. It's hard to explain, but I see myself with my hands held high, belts draped all over me."
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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- Floyd Mayweather
- Saul Alvarez