By Jake Donovan
‘The One’ is finally upon us. Floyd Mayweather and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez did their part making weight on Friday to lead to tonight’s blockbuster event at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Up for grabs is the vacant super welterweight championship, though Alvarez is dug in with seven alphabet title defenses since moving up for good in 2011. The unbeaten Mexican unified two belts with a well-earned points win over Austin Trout this past April.
Mayweather fights above the welterweight limit for the third time in his Hall of Fame career. His previous two trips to the super welterweight division have resulted in the two highest grossing non-heavyweight pay-per-view events in boxing history, including the sport’s all-time best selling event with his points win over Oscar de la Hoya in 2007.
They’ve also resulted in title winning efforts. In addition to lifting de la Hoya’s crown, Mayweather also outpointed Miguel Cotto last May, collecting an alphabet belt in an event that generated 1.5 million pay-per-view buys.
All eyes are on whether this can become the best-selling event of all time, but what about the action in the ring?
Read on to see how the staff at Boxingscene.com believes the biggest fight of the year plays out.
PREDICTIONS – FLOYD MAYWEATHER VS. SAUL ‘CANELO’ ALVAREZ
“I pick Mayweather to win a wide decision against Canelo (surprise), just too much speed, reflexes and experience for the 23-year-old.”
- Mitch Abramson (Mayweather by decision)
“I expect the fight to be fought on fairly even terms over the first 5-6 rounds. I think Floyd will eventually figure Alvarez out and the under Alvarez will have his chronicled stamina issues down the stretch. I think the scores will be around 116-112, 117-111 for Mayweather.”
- Ryan Burton (Mayweather by decision)
“I'm going way against the grain on this pick, and will expect a version of Floyd similar to the one that faced and drilled Ricky Hatton into Bolivian. I don't see Alvarez being competitive for very long in this fight, with Floyd picking him apart in the second half before finishing him via attrition and/or cuts.”
- Jake Donovan (Mayweather TKO11)
“Mayweather-Alvarez is likely to go the full championship distance. Alvarez looked confident at the weigh-in, and he's clearly enjoying the event, but Mayweather's been through all this before and I don't believe that Alvarez has the style to beat Mayweather. The Mexican's pressure should be enough to win him a few rounds, and the desire on the part of many to see the American finally lose may tip close rounds in Alvarez's favor. Floyd, though, will come through on points, with an aggregate score in the region of 116-112.”
- Terence Dooley (Mayweather by decision)
“As I told a fellow fight fan on Twitter, you’re asking a fat kid in Baskin-Robbins to choose between her two favorite flavors—and this time, I’ll have to pass on Cinnamon. Stevie Wonder himself couldn’t miss Canelo’s size, strength and speed, not to mention a surprisingly slick defense, but I have difficulty believing that the 23-year-old can eke out a victory over the smartest, most elusive boxer in the game. Mayweather’s unrivalled ring intelligence and experience will spell his 45th success. No one can out-Mayweather Mayweather—I’m tabbing him for the decision.”
- Kim Francesca-Martinez (Mayweather by decision)
“Yes I know Floyd isn't known as a power puncher and yes I know his opponent is a naturally bigger foe. However, at this moment I feel it's just a tad too rushed for Canelo to be taking such a huge leap in testing his abilities. He will be open for what Floyd does best and has serious questions about his stamina. Adding to that the aspect of him having to lose and additional 2lbs when mere ounces mean the world to fighters struggling to make their own division's limits and it spells a stoppage for Floyd.”
- Ernie Gabion (Mayweather by decision)
“Mayweather, despite his advancing age and his being the smaller man, is still faster and smarter and just plain better. Alvarez is good for what he is, but there's a difference in class and ability. The only way I see Alvarez finding success is if the difference in ability is rendered secondary, if Mayweather suffers an injury or if he somehow began to show his age in the ring. I do believe people (and perhaps the judges) will grade Canelo on a curve, giving him credit for what success he does have, but I think Mayweather and his style will otherwise stymie him en route to yet another victory for Floyd.”
- David P. Greisman (Mayweather by decision or late stoppage)
“The intrigue with any Floyd Mayweather fight at this stage of his career surrounds whether Father Time will have finally shaved just enough spring from his legs or accuracy from his unforgiving lance of a right hand to make him vulnerable for his first defeat. But I don't think that occurs on Saturday night. Canelo Alvarez is at a disadvantage in almost every department except size and power, and it's debatable whether he conceded those as well by agreeing to the 152-pound catchweight. Tip your hat to the phenom for accepting the challenge in spite of his inexperience on the big stage, but I just think he's going to have too tough of a time landing his crushing left hook both to the body and off the counter on a man who, at 36, is still at the top of his game.”
- Ryan Maquinana (Mayweather by decision)
“Canelo may be limited when compared to Floyd, but who isn't? Canelo is also the most hungry and powerful opponent Floyd has faced since Diego Corrales in 2001, and at only 23, one whose body is much fresher. Neither fighter officially knows the feeling of defeat. I think Mayweather will taste the canvass and look like he got beat up. I think Canelo will deserve a close decision. I think that because of poor and/or shady judging and all the money backing Mayweather, that the result will either be a draw or a close decision for Floyd, either of which will bring a chorus of boos from an audience that saw a different result and want a right and fair result.”
- Richard Najdowski (noncommittal)
“Mayweather's laughable hypocrisy on the catch weight issue gives at least some pause about the danger seen in this opponent. It's a short pause. Both guys like to counter and in those sort of style matches, the man who makes the other lead has the edge. Floyd will make Canelo lead and box to a safe, solid points victory.”
- Cliff Rold (Mayweather by decision)
“Even though he's going up in weight again and fighting a bigger and possible stronger fighter, Mayweather will come out victorious as he out boxes Alvarez over 12 rounds. Even at 36 years old, Floyd is still sharp and the quickest turnaround of his career will only benefit as there will be no rust to shake off. Canelo will put up a fight but Mayweather figures him out by the mid rounds and outclasses him down the stretch.”
- Luis Sandoval (Mayweather by decision)
“Definitely, the toughest challenge in years for the best active fighter P4P. His fight versus Ricky Hatton was of the same magnitude, as was his memorable clash against Oscar De la Hoya. Alvarez is more vigorous than the latter and bigger/stronger/fresher than Hatton. All in all, he could be the next Castillo for Mayweather, and one, who will push him to the very limit. At the end, it'll be Floyd, a bit bruised and a bit bleeding, who will stand out as a winner - thanks to his superior ring intelligence and skills. He will hard moments in the midst against dangerously punching Alvarez but will earn the start and the end of the battle. Scores like 116-112, 115-113 and 114-114 can be in the mix.”
- Alexey Sukachev (Mayweather by decision)
Floyd Mayweather 11
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez 0
Noncommittal/No Pick 1
The vacant lineal super welterweight championship between Floyd Mayweather and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez takes place Saturday evening at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The bout headlines a four-fight SHOWTIME pay-per-view telecast, which airs live at 9PM ET.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox