By Rick Reeno
As BoxingScene.com previously reported, a deal has been finalized for a junior middleweight mega-showdown between Floyd Mayweather Jr. (44-0-, 26KOs) and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (42-0-1, 30KOs) for September 14th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The two fighters will battle at a catch-weight of 152-pounds for the WBC/WBA Super/Ring/WBA titles on Showtime Pay-Per-View.
"Canelo came in and signed the deal. We negotiated back and forth. We have been working on this literally day and night and finally got it done today, literary an hour ago and both signed off, “said Golden Boy Promotions CEO, Richard Schaefer, to BoxingScene.com. “I think a lot of experts will chime in on this one, with half of the money going on Mayweather and half of the money going on Canelo.“
A lot of insiders, and people in the industry, were doubting that Mayweather-Canelo was going to happen on September 14th. Some were even doubting that Mayweather was actually going to fight on the date.
“When you say people, there is only one person and that’s [Top Rank CEO] Bob [Arum], who thinks he knows everything. Golden Boy Promotions puts on the biggest events in the sport and we always deliver,” Schaefer said.
Leonard Ellerbe, CEO for Mayweather Promotions, also heard a lot of industry whispers about the fight being nothing more than a ploy to secure a very lucrative pay-per-view date on Mexican Independence Day weekend.
“Floyd is truly excited; this is the fight that he wanted. He made it perfectly clear that he wanted give fans the biggest fight that he possible could,” Ellerbe told BoxingScene.com.
“Floyd has been doing this his whole life, shutting people up. And many people have crossed over. And when I say crossed over, I mean he's made them believers. And those who still doubt him, come September 14th he will make them believers also. He’s been doing this his whole career - shutting up the doubters and the naysayers and the critics. Floyd’s focus is being the best that he can be. He is the best and most dominant athlete in sports today and on September 14th it’s going to be another great night for him.”
For years, Schaefer was trying to make a fight between Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. For one reason or another, the two sides were never able to reach an agreement. Slowly, as the years passed, and after Pacquiao suffered back to back defeats in 2012 - Mayweather vs. Canelo became the biggest fight in boxing.
“I think it took over [as the biggest fight in boxing]. These are two young, undefeated guys. A young, strong junior middleweight in Canelo, who looks more impressive with every fight. And you have Floyd Mayweather who always finds a way to win. I think a lot of credit has to go to both guys, especially to Floyd for taking on a young, strong, undefeated guy and that’s what it takes [to be the best]," Schaefer said.
"When you are the pound for pound king, when you are the face of the sport, when you are number one highest paid athlete - and for him to take on a young Canelo Alvarez, a lot of credit goes to him. And for Canelo, it’s obviously a dream come true. He’s excited and he is ready, because he wants to be the first to beat Floyd Mayweather."
Finalizing a deal at this level of the sport is never easy. However, Ellerbe indicates that Schaefer and Al Haymon, who is Mayweather’s influential adviser, always find a way to get things down.
“That’s the best thing about working with Richard. When you get Al working with Richard...the best thing about [Richard] is no bullsh*t, he's straightforward and he’s a tremendous businessman. The world knows why the other situation did not get done [Mayweather-Pacquiao]. That’s old news. What we focus on is things that are under our control, and that's making the biggest fights in boxing. We tried to do that before and it didn’t happen - and here we go on September 14th, Mayweather vs. Canelo, the best versus the best,” Ellerbe said.