Maquinana: 'Berto or Ortiz could be next for Guerrero'
Canelo Alvarez, from Guadalajara, Mex., is already being revered as a matinee idol on both sides of the border. (AP)
Fresh off his win over Gilroy’s Robert Guerrero, Floyd Mayweather announced on Wednesday night that he reached an agreement to fight Mexican star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez Sept. 14 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Showtime Pay-Per-View.
I chose my opponent for September 14th and it's Canelo Alvarez. I'm giving the fans what they want. It will be at the MGM Grand.— Floyd Mayweather (@FloydMayweather) May 30, 2013
Mayweather (44-0, 26 KOs), the reigning 147-pound welterweight champion, will now move up to challenge his counterpart in the junior middleweight division for his WBC, WBA, and Ring Magazine titles—but with a caveat. Rather than fight at the regular 154-pound limit, the contract will be at a catchweight of 152 pounds.
“I feel comfortable. I feel good with that weight,” Alvarez (42-0-1, 30 KOs) told BoxingScene.com. “Floyd obviously has fought at 154…He fought as high as 154, but for whatever reason, they wanted the weight. I feel comfortable at that weight. The important thing is that we’re both comfortable and the fight is on.”
The Alvarez fight marks Mayweather’s third foray into the junior middleweight ranks, and though he had no issues encountering Oscar De La Hoya in 2007 and Miguel Cotto in 2012 at the standard 154 pounds, the 36-year-old demanded the lighter weight.
Moreover, Mayweather’s insistence on the catchweight comes as a surprise because he has criticized archrival Manny Pacquiao for bargaining for the same stipulation in his clashes with De La Hoya in 2008, Cotto in 2009, and Antonio Margarito in 2010 for the same WBC belt that will ironically be on the line for against Alvarez this fall.
“I look at Miguel Cotto as an undefeated fighter because he faced Pacquiao, but Pacquiao caught him at a catchweight,” Mayweather told HBO last year. “He wasn't the best Miguel Cotto. He was drained.”
Nonetheless, the boxing world can breathe a sigh of relief that unlike the failed negotiations that torpedoed the highly anticipated dream match between Mayweather and Pacquiao, the one fight which currently stood atop most fans’ wish lists will actually come to fruition this time around.
Alvarez, from Guadalajara, Mex., is already being revered as a matinee idol on both sides of the border. In his last outing, a points victory over Austin Trout in April, a massive crowd of almost 40,000 packed San Antonio’s Alamodome to cheer on the precocious 22-year-old who applies relentless pressure, a stiff jab, and has the ability to knock opponents out with either hand.
But Alvarez is taking a giant step up in class by facing Mayweather. Though he will possess power and size advantages, he is partially giving up the latter by agreeing to the catchweight. In addition, the fight will take place on Mayweather’s Las Vegas hometurf, and everything else—speed, footwork, experience, ring intelligence—all tip the American’s way.
Still, with his freckles and red hair befitting his “Canelo” (“Cinnamon”) moniker, Alvarez has emerged as the one foil capable of generating the type of box office numbers Showtime expected when it signed Mayweather to a six-bout, 30-month deal that could be worth upwards of $250 million.
[RELATED: Next step for Mayweather, Guerrero]
On May 4, Mayweather shook off a year’s worth of inactivity in the first fight of the contract with a masterful unanimous decision victory over Guerrero, effectively putting to bed any questions that the pound-for-pound king had surpassed his prime. However, while Showtime Sports head Stephen Espinoza claimed the fight sold over 1 million pay-per-views, official numbers have yet to be released, and that figure seems to still linger in dispute.
On the other hand, a meeting between Mayweather and Alvarez is already being projected to do over 2 million buys, given the magnitude of the fighters’ fan bases as well as the fact that it will take place on Mexican Independence Day weekend. Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, who promotes Alvarez, was confident in the fight’s lucrative potential.
“Mayweather is obviously a bigger star than when he fought De La Hoya, and then you have Canelo, who has already built a huge following in Mexico and now the United States,” Schaefer told CSNBayArea.com earlier this month when talks initially commenced. “This is one fight that can get close to all the pay-per-view records.”