by Charles Jay
Yeah, you heard it after the stoppage over a rather shot Kermit Cintron. Canelo Alvarez, who understands full well that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. exists, wants to fight Floyd Mayweather next. I am assuming that would be on Cinco de Mayo (May 5), a day when he can really whip his Mexican brethren into a frenzy.
Photo: Tom Hogan/Hogan Photos
After he gave that tidbit of news to HBO, they deliberated as to whether Alvarez was being completely sincere about it not being just about the money, but the chance to fight the best in the business.
I would think both of them at once are pretty good reasons, wouldn’t you?
The notion of a fight like this wouldn’t be silly for Mayweather, Short of fights with Manny Pacquiao or Oscar De La Hoya, is there a bigger fight Floyd could get himself into? Is there a bigger potential star for him to oppose? I don’t think so.
Conventional boxing wisdom (at least of this era) would call into question whether Alvarez is far enough along in his career to be ready to take on someone like Mayweather.
He is, after all, only 21 years of age. And he hasn’t been a pro for nearly as long as Mayweather, who has about as much ring savvy as anyone alive.
To all of this, as they say in court, we stipulate.
But for an up-and-comer to give up the experience edge to a wily veteran in a title fight is not a unique scenario in boxing circles, by any means.
If someone were to throw you a blind profile of a fighter – a 21-year-old, unbeaten “matinee idol” type, with a strong ethnic following, and being groomed for super-stardom, your first assumption might be that he has been coddled against soft opposition.
But that’s not the case with Alvarez. Here’s a kid with a lot of fights, a lot of them against opponents who are not pushovers, who shows a freakishly unusual amount of poise and know-how for some his age; heck, for someone of NAY age. Yes, the kid’s for real.
There is a certain slickness about him. He knows how to slip, how to counter, and how to maneuver his opponent. He knows things a lot of 21-year-olds haven’t learned yet. And he can hit too. I don’t see him as a prime candidate to get that “deer in the headlights” look against Mayweather.
It is also not an inaccurate observation on the part of many that he gets hit just enough to make most of his fights interesting. He is not a guy who spends most of his time getting out of the way, but engaging with the opponent.
I see him as a fighter who has matured to a great extent, and that leaves me with questions. I acknowledge that Alvarez is a “star” when it comes to putting people in seats and will no doubt get to that level in the pay-per-view arena, but in terms of his ability, I’m not sure he’s going to wind up in the elite superstar class, and I don’t think that’s a matter of merely gaining more experience.
From the standpoint of ability, he is not ready to beat Mayweather, but you have to ask yourself whether he’ll ever be, regardless of how many more fights he has.
So really, is there any difference between Canelo fighting him now or fighting him later?
Well, there is, I guess, because Mayweather might not be there later. Forget the legal problems he’s having. If Canelo waited too long, guys like Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao may not be around any more, and what does that leave him with? Miguel Cotto? Sergio Martinez? Sure, but they’re not Mayweather, and they won’t bring Mayweather prestige or Maywesther money.
Yes, there is that possibility of a Chavez fight, but that’s not Mayweather-size, either, and besides, that fight will be there later, anyway, unless Chavez goes out and gets knocked out by somebody else.
Somehow I think this kid, as mature as he is, has calculated all this in his head already, and that’s why he made the bold statement after the HBO fight.
They say you’ve got to strike when the iron is hot, and Alvarez, who is hardly unbeatable in fights for smaller dollars, may figure that, under the circumstances, he’s as ready as he’ll ever be,.