On September 14 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, Floyd Mayweather vs. Saul "Canelo" Alvarez will show off the best of the best in "no lose" matchmaking.
Really, a more perfect bout could not have been made for the benefit of all parties involved--- Mayweather, Alvarez, and even the fans (believe it or not).
For Mayweather, he gets to do his thing against an undefeated, physically huge, and supremely confident "good" guy who, most importantly, may be several developmental steps below where he needs to be to actually win. The 23-year-old Canelo is genetically hard-wired to put forth the effort, though, and that will most likely result in an entertaining tussle regardless of what the scorecards may say. Even if down by 10 points in the 11th round, Alvarez will carry the confidence of a man who believes that he can still win, that he can still score the knockout. From everything we know about the young champ from Jalisco, quiet resignation is just not part of his character.
Unlike so many of Mayweather's opponents in the past, Alvarez truly believes in himself and his ability to win. When he talks about destiny and "his time" to rule the sport, it's not just part of the pre-fight publicity. He truly believes that only Floyd Mayweatherstands between him and every one of his dreams. This earnest self-belief will make for a compelling performance and keep Mayweather from sweeping the first few rounds and then going into cruise control.
Mayweather will be pushed by his young challenger, but he should have all the tools necessary to come away with the victory. The genius for Team Mayweather comes in fighting this big-ticket young star about two years before he would've become a legitimately deadly foe. So, Mayweather should get full credit for the victory and benefit from full market value for fighting Alvarez well before Alvarez can develop the tools to actually beat him.
And if Alvarez can flip the script and do better than expected ... or even win?
Well, Mayweather has a built-in rematch clause leading to a return bout that will be significantly bigger than the first. And then, after that, a possible part three. Financially, a loss to Canelo could be the best thing to happen to "Money." With no other really huge bouts on the horizon, a three-fight series with a new boxing superstar would keep Showtime happy and keep Mayweather buried in $40-50 million paydays.
For Alvarez, the Mayweather bout is truly a win-win. Alvarez is facing the very best fighter in the world and one who looks to be unbeatable at the moment. Few expect a victory from "Canelo" at this stage of his career and anything short of a one-sided romp will be seen as a moral victory.
A hard-fought loss to the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world actually elevates Alvarez's star. He can fall back on just being a kid in the game and then take a few tuneups before reclaiming junior middleweight gold when Mayweather moves back down to the more comfortable welterweight division. Just the mere exposure of being paired with Mayweather will help the red-headed battler cross over to the mainstream while maintaining his loyal Mexican following.
A win for Alvarez, of course, will turn the sport upside down and immediately transform him into boxing's next mainstream superstar.
And the fans?
The fans will get a major spectacle on September 14, a solid undercard, and a compelling main event featuring the best fighter in the world against an earnest young star who won't stop pushing forward.
COMMENTARY | All alone, Floyd Mayweather vs. Saul "Canelo" Alvarez would likely do huge numbers. Weak undercards have never held back pay-per-view buy rates if the card's main event was good enough -- and Mayweather-Alvarez on September 14 certainly looks like the type of headliner that could sell without much co-feature support.
However, Golden Boy and Mayweather Promotions delivered on their promise to make "The One" PPV a truly huge event by adding junior welterweight dream fight Danny Garcia vs. Lucas Matthysse. The addition of the huge co-feature inspired all sorts of rumors as to what could be in store for the remaining two slots in the show. Names like Adrien Broner, Chris Arreola, and Austin Trouttraveled through cyber-space as possible undercard talent, but nothing was finalized until late last week when Golden Boy Promotions issued an official statement to the media.
The confirmed opening bouts of "The One" have to be considered a bit of a disappointment for those looking for an All-Star affair or, at the very least, one more big-ticket thriller to be added to the show. But this may depend on a fan's personal aesthetic when it comes to the type of fight he or she likes watching.
Added to the show is the evening's third world title bout, as IBF junior middleweight titlist Ishe Smith (25-5, 11 KOs) makes the first defense of his belt against upset specialist Carlos Molina (21-5-2, 6 KOs).
On paper, Smith-Molina is a fairly important clash between two much-avoided fighters. The winner will go on to the next level against guys like Erislandy Lara, Miguel Cotto, and Austin Trout. In practice, though, this one could suck the life right out of the MGM Grand.
Smith, 35, is a light-hitting ring stylist with an under-appreciated sweet style that has kept him from getting the big boxing breaks until just recently when he took the IBF strap from Cornelious "K9" Bundrage via majority decision. Much to the dismay of critics, Smith's good fortune began when he officially became part of Mayweather's "Money Team."
Mexico-born, America-based 30-year-old Carlos "King" Molina is an ugly, crude spoiler who wins most of his fights with a mauling, stifling style backed up by massive amounts of true grit. Molina's no-power, all-grappling approach has done little to advance his career despite some quality names on his resume, such as Kermit Cintron and Cory Spinks, as well as some controversial non-victories against the likes of James Kirkland (DQ 10), Erislandy Lara (D 10), and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (D 6, L MD 6).
Together, Smith and Molina could very possibly produce a plodding, grappling, no-punching snoozer worthy of a trip to the concession stands or a cigarette break in the back yard if watching at home.
The opening bout of the card, though, could be a solid matchup despite lacking real star power as new signee to Mayweather Promotions Ashley Theophane (33-5-1, 10 KOs) takes on Golden Boy fall guy Pablo Cesar Cano (26-3-1, 20 KOs) in a 10-round welterweight bout.
The real intrigue in Theophane vs. Cano is in the fact that both are at about the same level of ring execution. The UK's Theophane has worked to perfect a slicker American style, while Mexico's Cano looks to put the pieces together to perfect the classic Mexican fighting style. Both fighters have shown flashes of success in their efforts, but neither has been able to execute consistently. This is much more of a concern for the 32-year-old Theophane than it is for the 23-year-old Cano, who has accounted well for himself in "way-too-soon" losing efforts against Erik Morales, Paulie Malignaggi, and Shane Mosley.
Overall, "The One" still compares favorably to just about any other PPV event of the last decade or so. Mayweather-Alvarez and Garcia-Matthysse are good enough bouts to make this show worth buying. And, even if Smith-Molina and Theophane-Cano require an advanced boxing palate for enjoyment, at least an honest effort was made to sign competitive bouts for the opening two slots.