‘The One’ is almost upon us.
This Saturday at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, wise old master and the world’s greatest fighter Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather collides with Mexico’s feisty young and undefeated challenger Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in a match-up poised to shatter all box-office records.
In addition to unifying the WBC and WBA Super World Light-middleweight titles, the mouth watering spat will also establish bragging rights as to who is the sport’s leading pound-for-pound operator.
Watch the whole show - headlined by Mayweather-Alvarez and also featuring the WBA/WBC World Light-Welterweight shootout between Danny Garcia and Lucas Matthysse plus IBF World Light-Middleweight king Ishe Smith defending against Carlos Molina - live and exclusive in the UK on BoxNation, the Channel of Champions, from 1.30am Sunday morning on Sky Ch.437/Virgin Ch.546. Join at www.boxnation.com
To determine how the main event is likely to pan out, and who will prevail, boxing writer Glynn Evans took counsel from 25 of the sharpest minds in the industry.
Barry McGuigan (ex world featherweight champion): It’s going to be a great fight, very competitive but Floyd Mayweather will win a clear unanimous points decision. Absolutely. He’s too quick.
Alvarez is a brilliantly talented combination puncher and it’s conceivable that he could catch and hurt Mayweather. (DeMarcus) ‘Chop Chop’ Corley and Shane Mosley both did. But it won’t be sufficient to beat Mayweather.
Hat’s off to Mayweather for taking on such a hungry young lion who’s a naturally bigger man. Inside the ring ‘Canelo’ will be weighing about 174 (lbs). It’s a risky fight but Floyd wouldn’t be taking it if he didn’t think he would win and I think he’s getting ‘Canelo’ at the right time.
To beat Mayweather you need Alvarez’s youth and Pacquiao’s pace, which is something ‘Canelo’ lacks. Mayweather will be really switched on throughout and should win pretty comfortably.
Billy Joe Saunders (British and Commonwealth middleweight champion): Alvarez has a 30% puncher’s chance to win. This has probably come a little bit too early for him but I’m sure he’ll be getting fantastic money to compensate.
Mayweather’s got huge experience and that’s key in this game. He’s also got brilliant skills, plus huge craft and ‘know how’ on how to win a fight. His defence is second to none. He can give away a lot of natural weight to these huge punchers yet they find it too hard to get through to him.
If Alvarez can put on the weight he wants after the weigh in he might push Floyd in stages but I see Mayweather copping a clear unanimous decision.
Brendan Ingle (Sheffield trainer): I’ve got to go with the ‘Money’ fella (Mayweather). He’s absolutely brilliant and, in my opinion, still has another two or three gauges that he can go up, which we haven’t seen yet. He’s got fresh moves and tricks in his locker.
It’s a fantastic match-up and I expect it will be a terrific fight with Alvarez pushing Mayweather into a brilliant performance. I can’t wait. ‘Canelo’ is outstanding himself for one so young.
I could be wrong but I think Mayweather stops him. During my 73 years, I’ve been fortunate to have seen most of the real greats yet I have to put Floyd Mayweather in a class of his own; a once in a lifetime talent.
Dean Powell (late London matchmaker): Interesting fight; Floyd’s toughest for a long time.
The way to beat Floyd is definitely to pressure him. For me, Oscar De La Hoya is the only man to have beaten Mayweather. I thought that on the night and, having watched the tape back several times since, I always come to the same conclusion.
Alvarez has got the size and if he gets himself into great shape he could cause a few problems but hasn’t got the class of De La Hoya. He’d have to stop Floyd to win the fight but look at the difficulties he had putting Matthew Hatton and Ryan Rhodes away. Neither of them is a Floyd Mayweather!
I think Floyd might prove a little bit too slippery. I think Alvarez’s intensity might play into Mayweather’s hands. It could result in him walking onto everything, getting busted up and beaten on cuts.
Frankie Gavin (British welterweight champion): Floyd Mayweather wins. He’s got too much experience, know how and ring craft. To be honest, I thought Austin Trout almost beat ‘Canelo’.
For me, Mayweather’s one of the greatest fighters ever, if not the greatest. People call him an arrogant big head but he backs up everything he says. You can see on those 24/7 shows that he really lives the life.
Canelo is a big lad so I don’t think Mayweather will stand with him and try to prove a point. There’s no way that Alvarez can outbox Mayweather. He’s not much slower but he hasn’t got Floyd’s timing. Alvarez is going to have to try to bury his head into Floyd’s chest and bully him but I just don’t see it happening. Mayweather on points, 117-111.
Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham (ex three time world middleweight challenger): Both are very good but I think Mayweather will pull it off again. He keeps challenging himself against bigger, stronger guys, just for the sake of it, to show he can do it.
Alvarez is very strong but I always go with boxing ability over strength. Floyd has got so many different tactics and styles that he can adapt to different opposition. Others try but no one can truly copy his style. It’s unique and can’t be controlled.
Mayweather really wants the accolade of being the richest fighter ever. Once that’s achieved, he’ll retire cos he never wants to lose. His constant movement controls this fight. For me, it’s Mayweather on points.
Paul Smith (British super-middleweight champion): Mayweather wins on points. He’s just superior in every department bar power.
I think Alvarez is brilliant, mind. He’s very good technically; fast and explosive. I’m a big Alvarez fan and I’d be happy if he did ‘chin’ Mayweather. I’d not be surprised if he pushes Mayweather close but I don’t think he’s quite ready to beat him just yet.
Not many work harder in the gym than Mayweather and I actually think he’ll hold his own with Alvarez, strength wise. Because of his skills, people underestimate Mayweather’s steel, just as they did with Sugar Ray Leonard. Make no mistake, Mayweather is a tough, tough man.
Speed and nous win this fight for Mayweather on points. At the moment, he’s just too good.
Anthony Farnell (Manchester trainer): I’m going with the youth and hunger of Alvarez. I won’t be putting a lot of money on it. It’s just a sneaky feeling I have.
I like ‘em both but actually prefer watching Mayweather to ‘Canelo’. I could study Floyd all day. But his reign has to come to an end sometime. He can’t last forever. Though Floyd’s a special person, it’s got to be hard getting himself up for these huge fights with all the money he’s now got.
Alvarez has the greater natural size, strength and power and I also see his speed being a key factor. Oscar De La Hoya upset Floyd with his speed when Oscar was past his best. That fight really could’ve gone either way.
Mayweather’s defence is too good for him to get beat by stoppage but I just get this inkling that Alvarez will throw too many shots and win on points. I see this fight following a similar pattern to the first Duran-Leonard fight with the brawler proving the conqueror. I’m so looking forward to it. It’s one you have to stay up and watch live.
Chris Aston (Huddersfield trainer): I’ve always really rated Alvarez and I’m banking on him putting in the performance of his life and nicking it.
I hope so. For all his brilliance, Mayweather has become a bit predictable and boring. It’d be great to have a fresh young star come through to take the sport forward.
No doubt Mayweather will start brightly and a lot will depend upon how far ahead he is after six rounds. But I’m anticipating Alvarez giving Mayweather a really torrid time over the final third of the fight.
In addition to being bigger, stronger and younger, ‘Canelo’ is cuter than people realise. He applies very educated pressure and I see him wrestling inside, making it very hard for Mayweather. I think this could be the night that age finally catches up with him.
Jim McDonnell (Essex trainer): It’s a complete mismatch. Mayweather can be the only winner.
I’ve been in the gym and seen him operate first hand. Unbelievable! Floyd has the talent to beat up light-heavies and cruiserweights because they just can’t hit him. He’s as good now as he’s ever been and everybody should just enjoy him while he’s here.
Business wise, Mayweather is no fool. He’s just signed this huge financial deal and he selects opposition when it suits him to fight them. Everybody has to dance to his tune.
Alvarez will come jacked up with youth, ambition and aggression but Mayweather just takes opponents’ attributes off them; dissects them, then destroys them. Look at how easily he handled a peak Ricky Hatton.
To be honest, I can’t see how anybody can make a case for Alvarez winning. Floyd has all the big stage, big fight experience and I expect him to deliver again.
Floyd will play chess with Alvarez and really frustrate him before checkmating him. The fight may go the distance but it’ll be over as a competitive spectacle after no more than five rounds.
Tony Borg (Newport coach): I expect Floyd Mayweather will have too much all round; too many polished tools. His boxing brain is a couple of years ahead.
Alvarez is a good kid, ridiculously strong but I was in Mexico with Gary Buckland the night that ‘Canelo’ stopped Ryan Rhodes in the last round. I know he’s improved since then but he’s still about two and a half years off being competitive with Mayweather.
Anything can happen in boxing but I expect Floyd to win by stoppage late on.
Mickey Helliet (London promoter): Floyd Mayweather to win on points. This fight has come too soon for Alvarez; not business wise but for his development as a fighter. He’s got a lot of talent and applies a lot of pressure but his team should’ve kept building before they rolled the dice.
Mark Tibbs (east London trainer): I know he’ll go in as an underdog but I hope Alvarez wins. He’s built like an old fashioned fighter; very steely and he moves well. I also like ‘Canelo’, the man. He’s started a family at a very young age.
Mayweather’s very tricky and slippery plus he’s the ultimate professional in the gym but, after so long, you just get fed up with him. Time for some fresh new blood. I’m going with Alvarez to triumph for all the gingers in the world
Martin Murray (interim WBA middleweight champion): Because the fight’s at 152, I’m picking Mayweather. There’s no way Floyd would’ve accepted this unless he could give himself every advantage.
If it was at 154, I’d go ‘Canelo’ on points. He’s got the style to beat Floyd. He’s huge at light-middle, really poised and controlled then, when he unleashes his shots, it’s with real venom. And as Mayweather gets older, his time has to be coming to an end. I backed Guerrero to beat him.
But Alvarez has struggled to make 11st before so that extra two pounds could do serious damage, really weaken him. When you’re tight, two ounces is difficult to shed, two pounds is ridiculous. It’s going to prove decisive.
On song, Floyd breaks hearts; really demoralises his opponents but, unless those two pounds have completely compromised Alvarez, I expect Mayweather will have to settle for points.
Gary Lockett (Cwmbran trainer): I pick Floyd Mayweather to win a clear unanimous decision for the simple reason that Saul Alvarez will make himself a target. Noone will beat Mayweather by trying to go forward.
I rate Alvarez big time; definitely one of the best up and coming prospects in world boxing. He’s achieved an incredible amount for one so young and he’s mature beyond belief.
But Mayweather is also a very astute businessman and there’s no way he’d have accepted this challenge unless he was absolutely sure that he would win the fight.
Expect Mayweather to use his own jab to draw attacks then counter Alvarez to death. Though Alvarez is a top class combination puncher, he won’t even be able to land clean when he traps Mayweather on the ropes. Floyd is that slick defensively.
I think it’ll be a good fight to watch because Alvarez will throw quantative shots to force the issue, and make Mayweather punch back. But I expect Mayweather will have a bit too much knowledge and experience in the championship rounds.
There’s no one around who’s capable of beating Mayweather unless he concedes a ridiculous amount of weight.
Joe Gallagher (Manchester trainer): I’m with Mayweather, big time. Alvarez has too many holes defensively. The finishing position of his hands after he throws is poor and Mayweather will exploit that. Canelo’s just a bigger version of Ricky Hatton and look what happened to him against Floyd.
Despite his obvious size and strength, I don’t believe Alvarez is that big a puncher. Look at the difficulty he had in stopping Matthew Hatton and Ryan Rhodes.
Also I think some of the comments from Canelo and his camp have fuelled a fire in Mayweather’s belly. He seems very intense and focussed on those 24/7 shows.
I think Floyd deserves huge respect for challenging himself against a bigger, stronger, younger, unbeaten fighter. He’s fought and beaten every contender of a generation. The only thing he lacks is a bit of Sugar Ray Leonard’s killer instinct.
Mayweather has the greater experience of the big stage. Now we’ll get to see if Alvarez can cope or if he’ll choke.
There’s nothing to suggest Alvarez is ‘chinny’ so I expect it to go the full distance. ‘Canelo’ will land good shots but I expect Mayweather’s straight punching to be decisive. Because of Golden Boy’s influence on ‘Canelo’ it might go to a split decision but Mayweather should prove himself the better fighter and get his hand raised.
Jamie Moore (ex European light-middleweight champion): Floyd Mayweather wins on points. Alvarez might have the edges in strength and size to enjoy some success but I don’t think he has the speed or technique to actually defeat Mayweather.
Alvarez has the power to hurt Mayweather if he lands and he’s also got exceptional timing and judgement of distance. However, Mayweather isn’t a normal fighter. To catch him properly you need to be very fast. ‘Canelo’ isn’t.
Because of the size disparity, I expect Floyd to be ultra cautious in this fight. But he’ll boss it from the outside with his speed and skills. He’ll be too clever.
Gavin Rees (ex light-welter world champion): Floyd Mayweather. I’ve bet against him a few times in the past and always lost my money!
Don’t get me wrong, I rate Alvarez as one of the top fighters in the world. He’s very tough, a proper fighter, with great combinations. He’s also a big old lump and, if there’s no cap on what he can weigh inside the ring on the night, he’ll definitely have a decent chance.
But Floyd just picks everybody apart. Last fight, he battered (Robert) Guerrero to a pulp!
All Mayweather’s opponents appear to get intimidated when they go in against him. It almost seems as if he’s paid them not to hit him!
I’d not pick many others to beat Alvarez but Floyd’s the best of the best. He makes world class opponents look ordinary and it’s all so effortless. He’s got fantastic defence, feet, movement and he picks all the right shots. What’s not to like about him inside the ring?!
Johnny Eames (east London trainer): ‘Canelo’ might give him a few scares but I still think Mayweather will be a bit too tricky for him at the moment. Alvarez has come on enormously since the Matthew Hatton fight but he’s still not the finished article and could probably have done with a couple more biggish fights before Floyd.
It’s no secret that Mayweather isn’t really my sort of fighter but he’s still got a few good fights left in him. It won’t necessarily be an easy fight but it’s quite easy to predict. Mayweather on points.
Colin McMillan (former featherweight world champion): Floyd Mayweather. He’s too quick, mobile, agile and experienced. It’s possible he’ll encounter a few rocky moments but ultimately he’ll be too clever and cute.
Alvarez is the young, exciting Mexican idol. The country has a lot resting on him. He’s got loads of power and seems to take a good shot. He’s got an advantage in natural weight and, if he can break through Floyd’s defences, he has the tools to cause a lot of damage.
But style wise, he’ll suit Mayweather. Alvarez can be a little one paced. When Floyd gets his show on the road, he’s really special. Floyd’s age provides an intangible but he’s a very good athlete and has shown no signs of decline in his most recent fights.
He’s an exceptional boxer and should still have enough in his tank to put on another masterful display of boxing. I expect him to outbox ‘Canelo’ clearly enough in a distance fight.
Bradley Saunders (rising light-welter prospect): I’d like to think the ginger Mexican could win but you can’t go against Floyd Mayweather.
That said, if Floyd’s to get beat before he retires ‘Canelo’ is the man who’ll do it. He’s a big prospect, he’s bound to be really fit and I certainly expect Alvarez to set him a lot of problems. He’s very clever, applies intelligent pressure. I like the way he conducts himself. Away from the ring he’s twice the man Floyd Mayweather is.
But Mayweather seems to have an answer for everyone and I expect him to nick this on points.
Anthony Crolla (ex British lightweight champion): I expect Floyd Mayweather to win far easier than expected. Alvarez likes to set himself and Mayweather’s speed will play a big part. ‘Canelo’ will really struggle to pin him down.
It’s possible that Alvarez will ask him more questions than he’s faced of late, mind. I like his variety and the way he can shift through his gears. He’s very calm for one so young. He likes to set the pace and tempo but that’s something that Floyd is the absolute master of.
‘Canelo’ is one of the very few fighters who’ve got any chance but I don’t think Floyd is ready to go just yet. He appeared at his absolute best against Robert Guerrero last time. Alvarez presents different problems with his added size and weight but he’ll get frustrated hitting shoulders and fresh air. For me, Mayweather wins clearly on points.
Tony Sims (Essex trainer): Floyd Mayweather has to be a massive favourite but if anyone can beat him it will be Alvarez.
I’ve followed ‘Canelo’ throughout his entire professional career and he’s a special, special talent. He’s got a beautiful jab, throws fluid combinations and is just so relaxed for such a young kid. He also moves so naturally; slipping and sliding side to side, rolling his top half, gliding with his feet. Trust me, he’s a massive threat to Mayweather.
Oscar De La Hoya gave Floyd massive problems when he was probably a bit past his prime because he punched in three, four, five combo clusters. Alvarez has got the talent to do the same.
My one concern is ‘Canelo’ having to drop down to 152 for the weigh-in. It’s no secret that he’s tight at 154. Can he do it and retain his strength and perform to his optimum?
Mayweather is the greatest fighter of the last decade but Father Time catches up with every great fighter eventually, and a young talent comes through to shock the world. Floyd is a great professional, super dedicated in the gym but he’s a human being. When you’ve got the wealth he has, the desire has to go at some stage.
Mayweather’s so slippery I doubt he’ll get stopped but I pick Alvarez on points. It’ll be great for boxing if ‘Canelo’ pulls it off.
Chris Sanigar (Bristol manager): Mayweather on points.
I think ‘Canelo’ is very good. He brings an abundance of energy plus greater natural size and that, plus his enthusiasm, will cause Mayweather problems.
It might not be too exciting but I’m looking forward to it. It’s intriguing as to how much longer Mayweather can go on but, like Hopkins, he lives right and trains very, very hard. He’ll be too cute and will nullify ‘Canelo’.
Brian Lawrence (east London trainer): You can’t go against Mayweather, especially with Alvarez contracted to come in at 152 (lbs). He’s a big kid – built like a middleweight - and can’t perform to his optimum at that weight. Those last two pounds are going to ‘kill’ him.
It’s a bit mad. Mayweather’s fought light-middles at 154 before. Why not this one? I think he knows Alvarez is a real good fighter. Floyd knows what he’s doing.
He only beat Hatton’s brother (Matthew) on points and Mayweather’s a completely different kettle of fish.
Floyd’s age is going to catch up with him sooner or later but not this fight. He’s lost a little but not enough to lose to Alvarez. He wins on sheer boxing ability. He can’t bully Alvarez so he’ll have to pick him off but he’s so hard to get at himself because his defence is brilliant. He also trains so hard.
If Mayweather forces a stoppage it’ll be very late but he’ll most likely win on points. He won’t be taking any chances.
Mayweather’s the best around now but he’s nowhere near the best of all time. He’s been fortunate because the level of competition he’s been beating has been relatively low. Most of today’s fighters, even the elite, are manufactured.
The emphasis now is on fitness and supplements rather than the subtle old skills. Let’s be realistic, Saul Alvarez is no Roberto Duran. Mayweather has inherited those old smarts and tricks from his father and his uncles but not many others have. The old subtleties, such as fighting inside, are dying out.
FINAL SCORE: MAYWEATHER 21 ALVAREZ 4