On Sept. 14, 2013, Canelo Alvarez stepped inside the ring against Floyd Mayweather Jr. The boxer many people believed would become the future of the sport was about to take on perhaps the greatest fighter of his generation.
Anticipation was at a fever pitch. People had grown tired of Mayweather's act and felt Canelo, then 23, would be the guy to knock him off the top of the mountain. The fight pulled in what is still the second-largest number of pay-per-view buys (2.2 million).
Ultimately, Mayweather showed the world he's an all-time great and that Alvarez still had work to do. Mayweather won a lopsided decision and handed Canelo his first career loss.
Canelo (49-1-1, 34 KOs) has reeled off seven consecutive victories since then. On Saturday, four years after fighting Mayweather, he's slated for another significant fight when he takes on unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin at the sold-out T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (HBO PPV, 8 p.m. ET).
Canelo, shockingly, said that fighting the champion known as GGG or Triple G will be a bigger showdown than his experience against Mayweather.
"This is similar and much bigger than my fight against Mayweather," Alvarez told Sporting News. "When I fought Mayweather, I was 23 years old. I was at a different stage of my career. And (Saturday's bout) will end up being much bigger than my fight with him."
Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) presents a different skill set than Mayweather's. He's a hard hitter who will stand toe-to-toe and not back down. He also has become a more complete boxer in his last four fights.
Alvarez expects Golovkin to bring his A-game, which in turn should bring out the best in him.
"I’m expecting the very best Gennady, a well-rounded Gennady," Alvarez said. "I'm expecting him to come forward and come for the knockout. I’m hoping being in the ring with the best Gennady will bring out the best Canelo. That’s what I’ve been training for, is to beat the best I’ve ever faced in my career."
Steven Muehlhausen is an MMA and boxing writer and contributor for Sporting News. You can listen to his podcast, "The Fight Club Chicago," here. You can email him at email@example.com and can find him on Twitter @SMuehlhausenMMA.