With the biggest bout of the year, and possibly the new millennium, just around the corner we take a look at who holds the key advantages between boxing megastar and pound for pound king Floyd “Money” Mayweather (44-0, 26KOs) and young Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (42-0-1, 30KOs) as they prepare to do battle at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada for the WBA and WBC light middleweight world titles.
1) Height and Reach
The first factor we look at here may surprise a few people. It is widely considered that Alvarez has a big size advantage over Mayweather and in most aspects that is correct. But when it comes down to height, Alvarez only has 1 inch over Mayweather, with the young Mexican standing at 5ft 9in and Floyd standing at 5ft 8in and his reach is actually an inch and half shorter than that of Mayweather who has a 72inch wingspan.
That reach could well be a very important factor in this fight, as Floyd will most likely hope to use his movement and skill to keep “Canelo” at range and not let the red-headed Mexican impose his strength on Floyd, who is 13 years his opponents senior. As a result, I have to give this advantage to Mayweather.
2) Size and Strength
This one is a no brainer really. Floyd Mayweather started his professional career aged 19 as a super featherweight (9st 4lbs) and has worked his way up to light middleweight (11st) over a number of years. Alvarez on the other hand started his professional career at the tender age of 15 and even at that age he was fighting in the junior Welterweight (10st) division. He has since grown into the light middleweight division and looks as though he may keep on moving up yet.
Mayweather on the other hand has demanded this fight be fought at a catch weight 2lbs below the light middleweight limit, so the fighters should weigh 10st 12lbs for Fridays weigh in. This could prove to be a genius move from Mayweather as he walks around at this weight when he is not training for a fight so he should be as strong as possible come fight night whereas the weight loss Alvarez will have been through could well be detrimental to his strength.
That aside, Alvarez is clearly the naturally bigger man and if he comes in having lost the weight comfortably he will hope to rely on this size advantage to get the upper hand on Mayweather. Size and strength should definitely be an advantage for Alvarez.
The speed advantage clearly goes to Mayweather; It’s not just hand speed with Floyd either, he can be right in front of his opponent offering them a target to attack and then his lightning fast reflexes will prevent them from taking clean shots and more often than not he’s in a position to counter and then he does let his fast hands go.
On the other hand, Alvarez is certainly no slouch; he puts his punches together well and his combinations can come in at tremendous speed at times, Floyd definitely takes the speed advantage because he’s a smaller slicker boxer, but Alvarez won’t be going in thinking he’s faster than Floyd I can assure you of that.
I seriously doubt that this fight will be finished by one clean KO punch because, as good as both men are, there are plenty of other fighters in their weight classes that can hit a lot harder.
Floyd certainly has enough power to demand respect from Alvarez but if it was to be determined by power, I would have to go with Alvarez because he throws good punches as does Mayweather. Again, we come back to that size factor; Alvarez is comfortably the bigger man and in boxing size really does matter especially when it comes to getting weight behind a punch.
Now this is a tricky one to judge really, I have never seen Saul Alvarez so much as rocked, he was once knocked off balance against Miguel Cotto’s brother Jose but that was all it was and he came back punching seconds later.
I’ve only ever seen Mayweather hurt once. That was when he fought Shane Mosley who threw a quick jab towards Mayweather’s body and just made Floyd lower his hands and “Sugar” Shane threw a right hand over the top and caught Mayweather, turning his legs to jelly for a few seconds. Floyd didn’t go down though, which points towards very good recuperative skills, which in my eyes is all part of having a good chin.
I think I’ll go with Alvarez in the chin department though, I have never seen him hurt and even though he does have good defensive skills, they certainly aren’t like Floyd's so he does get hit a lot more, therefore his chin has been tested more than Floyd's in that respect.
If any other fighter in the world was going into a fight with Saul Alvarez with only one fight in the last 16 months, I would not give them a chance of winning. Being active in boxing is usually key when it comes to performing, because you don’t get the chance for your skills to get rusty and if a fighter fights regularly he should also stay in peak condition.
But I am talking about Floyd Mayweather and he changes the rules for this a little. He is always in fantastic shape. Last time out when he faced Robert Guerrero he had been out of the ring for 12 months, yet he still came out and absolutely dominated a top class fighter with ease. Ironically this will be Mayweather's quickest turnaround since 1999.
Alvarez stays reasonably active hence his 43 fights at only 23 years of age. Over the last two years he has not stayed just as active as he was in his teens, but has been getting a good two fights per year with good opposition and for that he obviously has to have the advantage in activity. I’m just not sure it makes much difference when Floyd Mayweather is involved.
Floyd Mayweather is probably the best defensive fighter I have ever seen. He is very hard to catch with a clean shot and his ability to counter punch when he makes his opponent miss is what makes him such a formidable opponent.
Saul Alvarez has plenty of skills too, he goes to the body well and he has a good jab, which is the weapon that Oscar De La Hoya used against Floyd with a lot of early success before inexplicably discarding it in the second half of the fight.
I am sure that De La Hoya, who is now Alvarez’s promoter will be drumming that into his man’s head but it’s easier said than done I’m sure that at such a young age he is still learning his craft. Whereas Floyd is at the very top of his game and despite being 36 years old now, has not shown any signs of decline yet. I have to go with Floyd on boxing skill.
As far as the number of fights go these fighters are very similar but when it comes to the quality each man has faced it is Mayweather that holds the advantage over the man known as 'Canelo' (meaning Cinnamon because of his red hair). Mayweather has been in the ring with no fewer than 17 former world champions and has beaten them all.
In fact, he has beaten virtually everybody around his weight classes over the years, but this could be his biggest test to date. Alvarez has been in with four former world champions but, at only 23 and about to take on his fifth world champion, you have to feel there will be plenty more in his career.
Mayweather's experience advantage could well prove to be very important in this fight and it is a big advantage I believe.
A lot has to be made of the age difference; if Mayweather’s age gives him the advantage in experience, it also makes him slightly vulnerable.
Roy Jones Jr looked fantastic pot-shotting his way to the WBA Heavyweight title in March 2003 but when he fought again in November that year he looked a shadow of his former self, taking a controversial decision win against Antonio Tarver back down at light heavyweight. In the rematch he was viciously knocked out in the second round.
Roy was 35 when he suffered that defeat and he was the last man with a reputation similar to Mayweather's, he was very hard to catch with a good shot and he seemed as invincible as a boxer could be.
Could this be Floyd’s fate on September 14? Maybe, that’s one of the things that makes this fight so interesting and also gives Alvarez a big advantage, especially if “Canelo” can set the pace of the fight and make his opponent fight hard every minute of every round to see if his body is still able to cope with that kind of punishment.
I have very little doubt Alvarez will be able to fight like that but dragging Floyd into that kind of battle will not be easy. Advantage Alvarez here but only if he can impose himself on Floyd and take him into those deep waters.
Both men have a lot of heart and to be honest it’s hard to split them on this. Neither man has really had a lot of adversity to deal with but for one man to still be at the very top at 36 years old and the other to be so close to the very pinnacle of the sport at just 23 emphasises just how much desire these two men have to be the very best they can be. They give up a lot to keep their bodies performing to the levels they do and for me that in itself takes a lot of heart.
I think I will just edge towards Mayweather here although that may shock some people. I just feel that after all he has achieved and after all the great fighters he has defeated, he could easily retire now undefeated and I guarantee he would be remembered as an all-time great. But he chooses to fight on and continue to build a legacy.
So of the 10 factors I have covered here I have a straight split with five advantages each. Now it’s just a case of who can use these advantages to their benefit come fight night.
I have to go with Floyd Mayweather to take a points victory but I feel he may be pushed very hard, especially early on in the fight. I see Alvarez pushing very hard early on and perhaps even having a lead until around the seventh or eighth. But then I just see Mayweather’s ability to make his opponent miss and then counter with quality shots winning him the fight down the stretch.
I think by the end of the night Mayweather may have a few more bumps and bruises than we’re used to seeing him with but I think Alvarez will have even more.
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