By Jake Donovan
Floyd Mayweather Jr. enjoyed a triumphant ring return this past May, soundly outboxing Robert Guerrero in their welterweight title fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The bout marked his first ring appearance in exactly 52 weeks, having previously outpointed Miguel Cotto before serving a brief prison stint and taking off the rest of the 2012 boxing season.
The win ran Mayweather’s record to 44-0 (26KO) while solidifying his place as the best fighter in the world. But for all of the talk of the sport’s biggest attraction being obsessed with maintaining his “0”, mere perfection wasn’t even enough on that night. Instead, it’s a performance upon which he plans to build as he prepares for his epic pay-per-view clash with unbeaten Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (42-0-1, 30KO) in the very same ring on Saturday.
“I wasn’t impressed in my fight against Robert,” Mayweather revealed when recalling his win, which served as the first of an exclusive six-fight contract with Showtime. “I felt rusty, probably because I took a year off. But I’ll be much sharper in this fight.”
Few believed that Mayweather’s bout with Guerrero would end any other way than the manner in which it played it – with Guerrero biting off far more than he could chew and not offering much competition beyond the first two rounds. The same logic doesn’t apply here, as the 36-year old Mayweather squares off against an undefeated and naturally bigger fighter 13 years his junior and in the prime of his career.
The matchup itself doesn’t need much hype in order to sell to the average boxing fan. In a rising star in Alvarez, Mayweather finds plenty of motivation to get up for what has been dubbed the biggest fight and event of the year.
“He knocked (Carlos) Baldomir out; I went the distance with Baldomir,” Mayweather notes of their performance against a common opponent. Mayweather outpointed Baldomir to lay claim to the lineal welterweight championship in 2006; Alvarez knocked Baldomir out cold in six rounds in 2011, on the same pay-per-view telecast that saw Mayweather knock out Victor Ortiz in four rounds.
“He’s young,” Mayweather continues before expressing his fascination with the rarity of unbeaten fighters this deep into their respective careers facing each other. “I’ve seen guys 22-0 versus 25-0. You’ve never seen a guy 44-0 versus a guy 42-0. Me as a boxing fan, I’d want to see two undefeated guys at the top fight each other.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America.