By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – Canelo Alvarez appreciates all that his fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. has done for his career.
The Mexican superstar made what was then a career-high $10 million guarantee for facing Mayweather. Boxing the polarizing pound-for-pound king also enabled Alvarez to become one of the sport’s only consistently productive pay-per-view attractions.
Four years later, however, Alvarez considers his middleweight championship showdown with Gennady Golovkin to be the biggest fight of his nearly 12-year pro career. The former junior middleweight and middleweight champion will earn a career-high purse for challenging Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) on Saturday night and considers this a legacy-defining fight against a dangerous opponent skeptics criticized him for avoiding.
Alvarez assessed the importance of the Mayweather and Golovkin fights while speaking to a group of reporters prior to a press conference Wednesday at MGM Grand.
“The Floyd Mayweather fight was very big and it was a big event,” Alvarez said through a translator. “And at my [young] age at the time, it was one of the biggest and most important. But today, and I’ve been in other big events, I’ve been in other big fights – but this fight, yes, because of all the surroundings, all the back-and-forth and everything that was involved to make this fight, I think so. I think this is biggest fight at this moment. And it came at the right moment.”
Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) considers the fight that resulted in his lone loss to be an invaluable experience, though. He was just 23 years old when he fought Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs), who beat him by majority decision in their 12-round junior middleweight match in September 2013 at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
“Most definitely, I was too young and it showed,” Alvarez said. “But there I can say that what won [the fight for Mayweather] was the experience. But I learned a lot from that fight. So I don’t take it today as a defeat. I take it as an experience. I learned a lot from that fight.”
Mayweather-Alvarez generated approximately 2.2 million buys and roughly $150 million in pay-per-view revenue, a record that since has been broken by Mayweather’s win over Manny Pacquiao in May 2015. Only three bouts in boxing history have produced more pay-per-view buys than Mayweather-Alvarez (Mayweather-Pacquiao, Mayweather-Oscar De La Hoya and Mayweather-Conor McGregor).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.