By Francisco Salazar
After years of winning world title belts, you would think Floyd Mayweather does not have anything else left to prove in boxing.
He has beaten some of the best fighters in the sport, even those who will one day be enshrined at the International Boxing Hall of Fame in upstate New York.
So why fight a boxer who barely had a career-defining fight just two months ago? Or a fighter who has built a fan base behind him, but has been labeled by some in the sport as someone who may be in over his head when he faces Mayweather.
Yeah, Mayweather has that six-fight deal he has to fulfill with Showtime. And he could have avoided Alvarez, who is full of confidence that could compliment his youth and strength when they face off September 14th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV.
The bout will headline a pay per view card that will be televised on Showtime.
But Mayweather is certain that his boxing skills, strong defensive skills, and “hard work and dedication” will be plenty to override what the popular Mexican fighter brings to their super welterweight showdown.
Remember? 43 have tried and 43 have failed.
But it is more than that to Mayweather. Assuming the money was right, Mayweather, the self-anointed king of boxing, felt fighting the number one fighter at 154 pounds was necessary.
So why should the boxing public and media believe Alvarez will have more than enough to defeat Mayweather? Despite the lack of experience he has compared to Mayweather, Alvarez believes the time is perfect to fight him.
“I have to admit I was surprised that the fight was made for this year,” said Alvarez, as he addressed members of the media before the press conference began. “I thought he was going to take the fight next year, but I’m happy to be fighting this year against him.”
So far, Alvarez has not shown that he is overwhelmed by the crowds of people or that he has a face-off with Mayweather, where their faces are a few inches from each other.
But is Alvarez biting more than he could chew? Whether it is bravado or full of confidence, Alvarez believes he will be “the One” that will remain unbeaten after Saturday night.
“I am very confident and I will be at my best on September 14th,” said Alvarez, who will train in Big Bear, CA and could spar with the likes of Shane Mosley to name a few. “I’m intelligent and I believe I have the ability to outbox him throughout the fight.”
Those words sound familiar to Mayweather. Opponents have long said they have the formula, but fall way short. In recent memory, Miguel Cotto gave a good account of himself in the fight, even bloodying Mayweather before losing a close decision.
While Mayweather commends Alvarez, he does not believe the popular Mexican fighter will bring anything new to the table.
“I’m telling you, it’s different at this level,” Mayweather told the same members of the media after Alvarez addressed them. “You could plan everything against me, but it’s not the same.”
“This is the best fighting the best. I feel like I’m a lot sharper, especially if I’m not fighting once a year, but twice a year. It’s like a basketball player. If he doesn’t shoot enough jump shots, he becomes rusty. I feel healthy and strong, the same way I felt when I was 19.”
Mayweather has been known for the amount of trash-talking prior to a major fight. However, Mayweather spent more time praising Alvarez for his accomplishments and what he sees in the soon-to-be 23 year old.
“I can’t trash-talk the guy because he’s not going to understand me,” said Mayweather, who is a two to one favorite, according to most Las Vegas casinos. “He’s a mild-mannered guy, but I’m not going to overlook him.”
“It takes a lot to impress me and I’m proud of Canelo. I know he’s a fan of mine because I see a lot of me in Alvarez. Not only does he want to become one of the best pound for pound fighters, but he wants to be the first guy to knock me off my throne.”
Because the magnitude of the fight is big, an equally as big press tour was announced to drum up support for the fight, especially to the casual fan. After the tour kicked off at Times Square in New York City on Monday, both fighters met at the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday afternoon in the second stop of the 11-city tour.
Some fans, like Virgil Ellison and Jose Rizo of Beckley, WV, made the five-hour drive to Washington, D.C. to take in the press conference. The restaurant managers are huge fans of Alvarez, and of promoter Oscar De La Hoya, bringing their respective sons to see if anyone would sign autographs for them.
And for the most, the fans are the ones who win in a matchup of great fighters like Mayweather and Alvarez. However, one has to wonder if the fight will be priced out of the fans’ reach, considering the fight is sold out, with the cheapest ticket costing $350 each. Although pay per view prices for September 14th has not been released, one has to wonder if the price falls between the $75-$80 range.
Despite these hiccups, it will not keep fight fans from watching the most anticipated and lucrative boxing event of 2013. After all, is it not want fight fans have wanted this whole time?
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper. He could be reached by email at [email protected] or on twitter at Salazar_soccer