The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada is expected to be packed to the rafters as tickets for the bout sold out on the day they were released. In terms of pay-per-view (PPV, the concept where fight fans shell out money to have the fight shown live on their television sets) subscriptions, the fight figures to threaten, if not surpass, the all-time record of 2.4 million PPV buys set in May 2007 by Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya. Alvarez commands rock-star attention in his native Mexico while boxing fans, as a whole, are intrigued at the possibility of the defending World Boxing Association (WBA) and World Boxing Council (WBC) junior middleweight (154 lbs.) champion scoring an upset victory over Mayweather. Those who cannot be in the arena are likely to pawn their souls to watch the fight on the boob tube.
Mayweather, 44-0 with 26 knockouts, is guaranteed $41.5 million, the biggest purse in the history of the punch-for-pay business. In Albert Einstein lingo, that’s $19,212 per second or $1.15 million per minuteif the fight goes the entire 12 rounds. A bronze medalist in the 1996 Olympics, Mayweather has been virtually untouchable as a professional. While supposedly in his dog years at age 36, Mayweather remains tough to handle because of his slick and unorthodox counterpunching style.Two fighters who came close to rocking Mayweather’s boat were Mexican Jose Luis Castillo and American De La Hoya. Castillo bullied Mayweather on the inside and dropped a controversial decision in a lightweight (135 lbs.) contest in 2002. Five years later, De La Hoya came out like a house on fire against Mayweather but failed to sustain his momentum and ended up dropping a close split-decision verdict.
Alvarez is the latest fighter to step up to the plate and take aim at Mayweather’s unbeaten record. Alvarez is banking on his youth (23 years old) and devil-may-care slugging style but it remains to be seen if the Mexican youngster has earned the right amount of seasoning against Mayweather. Alvarez’s unbeaten record of 42-0 with 30 knock-outs came at the expense of over-the-hill ex-champions (i.e., Sugar Shane Mosley, Kermit Cintron) and patsies who offered as much pulse as those zombies in the television series The Walking Dead.
The only credible name in Alvarez’s record is American Austin Trout, who lost his unbeaten record (26-0) after dropping a decision to Alvarez in their duel five months ago. Facing his biggest test at the time, the usually gung-ho Alvarez looked tentative even after registering a seventh round knockdown. Alvarez will be taking on his most publicized adversary in Mayweather and many are wondering if he is mentally ready to handle the American’s innate ring savvy.
While the fighters have agreed to a catch weight of 152 pounds, Alvarez is expected to come in heavier and use the extra luggage to engage Mayweather at close range. De La Hoya threatened Mayweather early in their fight by backing the latter to the ropes and flailing away without remorse. Alvarez is likely to utilize the same strategy,but the jury is still out on his ability to sustain the effort down to the last round. If Alvarez displays the same tentativeness he showed against Trout, Mayweather will feast on him like Thanksgiving turkey and the fight will be a snooze-fest.
As things stand, Mayweather is the favorite to beat Alvarez on points or by late-round knockout. Reports are further circulating that with less than a week to go before the fight, Alvarez is still struggling to meet the 152-pound stipulated weight limit. If the reports bear a semblance of truth, look for Alvarez to come out with barrels blazing as a long distance fight could be detrimental for him.
Make no mistake, Mayweather can be beaten, but it will take nothing short of a Herculean effort to do it.
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