Mayweather vs Alvarez: old guard versus the new wave

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It’s the biggest fight in world boxing in 2013, perhaps the biggest the sport has had in the past five years or so. Still, it will most probably be fairly one-sided.

Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez is a big underdog against Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather Jr – boxing’s pound-for-pound megastar, sport’s highest-paid athlete and the finest fighter in years.

The bookies have ‘Money’ as their clear favourite, along with most of the experts and pundits. Some of Australia’s best boxers, current and present, are also overwhelmingly predicting a Mayweather shutout.

Former world champions, Daniel Geale and Danny Green, are tipping a Floyd flurry.

“I love watching Alvarez but Floyd will hit him too clean after [a] strong start by Canelo,” Green says. “Floyd by unanimous decision in an entertaining blue.”

To Geale, both the Mexican marvel and the mouth from Michigan are: “Great fighters, no doubt about it. Power against speed. If Mayweather’s last fight is an indicator, he will make it extremely difficult for Alvarez to land shots. I think Mayweather [by] UD. Tough fight to pick though.”

Former featherweight champ Billy Dib is also predicting a points win for the undefeated American.

“I believe Floyd Mayweather will box very clever, not using too much energy. He will use his basic punches to win via UD.”

IBO super featherweight title holder Will Tomlinson believes it will be close but ultimately be win number 45 in a row for Mayweather.

“I think Mayweather should win in a very close fight. Canelo is a hungry, skilful fighter who will make it a hard night for Floyd, but I think Mayweather will be one step ahead of him and do what he’s got to do to get the win.”

Aussie featherweight contender Joel Brunker, who recently trained at the famous Mayweather gym in Vegas, feels that the conqueror of Cotto, Mosley, Marquez, Hatton and De La Hoya will get the victory over 12 rounds.

“He is such a smart boxer and he makes it so difficult for his opponents to hit him,” Brunker says.

One Australia-based boxer well-placed to comment is Lovemore Ndou, who has fought Alvarez and served as Mayweather’s sparring partner. Ndou is also backing Mayweather by points decision.

Now, that’s not to say this isn’t a massive fight or one that I’m not looking forward to. It is. There’s a reason it’s generating huge amounts of money and interest, both globally and in Australia, and will be possibly be the biggest pay-per-view fight of all-time.

It’s interesting on several levels.

Both fighters are undefeated, both have huge fan bases and both are multiple world champions. Both are positioning to be the face of boxing, which is why it’s being billed as #TheOne. Mayweather is the face now, Alvarez wants to be.

They are different – one is older, flashy and African-American, the other young, quiet, randomly red-haired and Mexican – but at the same time quite similar – they both come from boxing families and have the sweet science in their DNA, both boast long amateur careers and currently invincible pro records.

It is engaging because it’s a clash of stars and of styles. A real battle of the boxing food chain. Master versus apprentice, old buck against young bull, speed against strength, and a potential changing of the guard.

Still, it is hard to expect anything but Mayweather recording another notch on his belt.

The welterweight is a defensive specialist, probably the best defensive fighter ever, and a top counter-puncher. He is hard to hit, remarkably quick at 36, and undoubtedly brilliant and ultimately dedicated at what he does. He is very adaptable, experienced and able to get out of bad situations in a ring.

He is also very good at hand-picking his opponents at the right time, something he recently admitted.

Critics will say he dodged Manny Pacquiao, that Shane Mosley and Oscar De La Hoya were past it when he fought them. There is some merit to that.

But as ‘Money’ will say, it’s all about the green, the paycheque, and the moolah, which he has plenty of.

At 23 years of age, Alvarez might be ripe for Mayweather.

After 43 pro fights, he is not inexperienced, although he has not fought the calibre of fighters Floyd has. Matthew Hatton is not Ricky Hatton, while Jose Cotto is not Miguel Cotto. Yes, Canelo did fight and beat Mosley in 2012, two years after Mayweather did the same.

But Alvarez has an inflated record and has not shared the ring with a Hall of Famer like Floyd before. For more on the hype and background of Alvarez, read this.

The man they nicknamed Cinnamon will also take on Mayweather at 152 pounds, a catchweight limit trying to weaken the young champ.

Alvarez’s advantages over his older opponent, apparent from his age, are his size and strength. He hits hard and is naturally bigger than the man once known as ‘Pretty Boy’. But just how much of his strength is sapped by the weight limit remains to be seen.

On Sunday Australian time, Alvarez will need to rise the occasion and do what his promoter and his mentor, that previous Mexican hero De La Hoya, along with 43 other fighters could not do: stop Floyd.

The odds are against him, but a lot of fans are still hoping Santos Saul Alvarez Barragan can derail the marketing, money-making and morally-questionable fighting freak that was born Floyd Joy Sinclair.

Follow John Davidson on Twitter @johnnyddavidson