By Joseph Santoliquito
LAS VEGAS, NV (CBS) — The oldtimers like to say no one is unbeatable. Floyd Mayweather is. At least he has been so far. The flashy “Money” is 44-0 (26 KOs), keeps himself in impeccable shape year round, and has only been in trouble once as a pro, buckled by a Shane Mosley right hand in the second round of their 2010 fight.
There were some that thought Jose Luis Castillo earned a decision against Mayweather in their first fight in 2002. Mayweather erased any doubt of that in their rematch.
Now Mayweather, 36, will be facing undefeated 23-year-old Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, the WBC/WBA world champ who’s 42-0-1 (30 KOs), Saturday night in “The One,” from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Showtime Pay-Per-View. It’s the biggest fight in boxing since Mayweather fought Oscar De La Hoya in 2007, which generated a record 2.5 million PPV buys.
Does Alvarez have enough ammunition to get Mayweather in trouble? Yes, but whether he’ll be actually able to practically apply a game plan against the slick Mayweather is another issue.
“With the exception of the first fight against Jose Luis Castillo, and the one moment that Mosley had him hurt badly, Mayweather has pretty much controlled everything he’s done in the boxing ring,” said Hall of Famer Al Bernstein, who will be on Showtime’s broadcast team calling the fight with Paulie Malignaggi and blow-by-blow announcer Mauro Ranallo. “We see Canelo as a young man and people will either perceive that he took Canelo before he was ready, or, in fact, Canelo will be ready for this fight. Canelo has wanted this fight for over a year now.
“The one thing that makes this fight fascinating is here’s a young fighter who’s already a six-and-half year veteran, even though he’s 23, who has size and strength on Mayweather. He’s the biggest, strongest man [Mayweather’s] faced. He’s a big strong man, and it is a catchweight at 152 pounds. Everyone I spoke to in Alvarez’ camp told me he didn’t have any trouble dropping the weight. He’ll be 15, 16 pounds bigger than Mayweather the night of the fight.”
For Canelo to be successful, he’s going to have to borrow from the template De La Hoya laid out six years ago and crowd the smaller Mayweather. Alvarez is going to have to go to the body, and though Mayweather seems impervious to the ravages of age, he is fighting only four-and-a-half months after his last fight. It’s the quickest turn around Mayweather has had since 2001.
Bernstein makes a great point, when he says, “Alvarez needs to test the body, if he can. When Mayweather throws his lead right hand, he always steps to the right. Canelo needs to be programmed for that. Mayweather throws the right hand and steps to the right. He does it almost every time. When he does that, you have to throw a left hook to the body to stop his movement and make a dramatic effect with a body shot.”
The Mosley punch is the hardest Mayweather ever took as a pro. Can Alvarez have a “Mosley moment?”
Alvarez may try and jump Mayweather early, crowd him and force the fight into a phone booth. Mayweather, however, will adjust and by the middle rounds will get into a Mayweather rhythm, like he has in so many of his victories.
Mayweather will then peck away and gradually break down the defense and resolve of Alvarez. In the end, Mayweather wins by unanimous 118-110 (10 rounds to 2) scores on all three scorecards.