By Michael Parente
Floyd Mayweather. Canelo Alvarez. Sept. 14th live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Wake me when it’s over.
Seriously, wake me around 12:47 the following morning after “Money Mayweather” boxes circles – literally – around yet another opponent too slow, too flat-footed and too dumb to dethrone boxing’s pound-for-pound king.
Kudos to Floyd for taking the fight most fights fans want to see, albeit several years after doing his part to help nix the other fight everyone wanted to see against you-know-who. My lack of interest in this one is by no means an indictment of Mayweather, who has been accused by many (myself included) of ducking the sport’s elite fighters in lieu of facing washed-up retreads or glorified jobbers on pricey pay-per-view cards; it’s an indictment of the level of competition in boxing between 147 and 154 pounds, which is where the Mayweather-Alvarez showdown will be fought -- at a catch weight of 152 pounds, to be exact.
Make no mistake, Alvarez can hit – 30 of his 42 wins have come by knockout – but he’s slower than erosion, shows no interest in establishing his jab and doesn’t move his head enough to neutralize Mayweather’s lighting-fast hand speed. It’s not all about pure punching power in boxing. Ask Miguel Cotto, who tried to pressure Mayweather into a street fight last year and still lost by at least six rounds on all three scorecards.
Alvarez will be a sitting duck on Sept. 14th in what will be a vintage Mayweather performance, which means 12 monotonous rounds of potshots, jabs, one-two combos and the patented Mayweather tuck and role, which is Floyd’s way of leisurely avoiding any and all contact while pocketing our hard-earned entertainment dollars in the process. It’s not exactly must-see TV, but it’s what the fans want, and, quite honestly, Alvarez is the only fighter between 147 and 154 worthy of sharing the ring with Money Mayweather, which tells you all you need to know about those weight classes. The rest of the welterweight and light middleweight divisions are replete with fighters too old (Cotto, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley), too inexperienced (Demetrius Andrade, Austin Trout), uninteresting (Cornelius Bundrage) or, for lack of a better term, not good enough (Timothy Bradley, Andre Berto).
In recent years, boxing has catered to the casual sports fan because that’s who drops big bucks on overpriced pay-per-view cards. The diehards will watch a four-round fight between two amateurs in Poughkeepsie if it’s evenly-matched. However, the big spenders with deep pockets won’t, which is why the network executives keep the crown jewels such as Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather, Mosley, etc., under wraps until it’s time to fill the VIP section at Caesar’s Palace. The problem is most of the recent pay-per-view mega-fights have been horrible mismatches both on paper and in the ring, leaving fans increasingly unwilling to shell out the money to watch the likes of Mayweather or Pacquiao send another senior citizen into retirement.
Depending on whom you listen to, Mayweather’s recent snoozer against Robert Guerrero was a box-office bust, generating fewer than 1 million pay-per-view buys – Mayweather’s smallest audience in more than six years. In reality, he had no choice but to fight Alvarez, not only to silence the naysayers, but also to justify his lucrative, six-fight deal with Showtime, which pried him from HBO’s cold, dead hands in February.
The Mayweather-Alvarez showdown will easily exceed 1 million pay-per-view buys, allowing Showtime execs to breathe a sigh of relief, and it’ll unify the fanatics and fair-weather fans under one roof. The only problem is, to put it bluntly, the fight stinks, except this time you can’t blame Mayweather. Who else is left in this watered-down talent pool?
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