Mayweather showed us something we didn’t think he had anymore when he fought Robert Guerrero; his legs. Mayweather has fought mostly flat-footed since he came out of “retirement,” but he danced all night against Guerrero. Prior to that fight, I figured Mayweather would fight the same way he’s been fighting, which would give Guerrero a chance to make a real fight out of it. I was wrong.
The last thing I or anyone else expected to see was Floyd moving around the ring for 12 rounds, especially against a blown up lightweight who didn’t pose a knockout threat. As I’ve said before, I believe it was the wrong thing for Mayweather to do because future opponents will know to prepare for the elusiveness Floyd hasn’t displayed in years.
I don’t think Mayweather had any idea that his very next opponent would be Canelo Alvarez. Mayweather could’ve beaten Guerrero flat-footed and may have even knocked him out, but Mayweather was determined to take as little punishment as possible, perhaps partly due to his new multi-fight deal with Showtime. We may have seen the final ace up Mayweather’s sleeve. He seems over-ripe for the taking.
I see two ways Mayweather can beat Canelo. First is what the Mayweathers are desperately hoping for, which is for Alvarez to come in badly drained from making the catchweight of 152 pounds. He might show up a completely different fighter on September 14th, just like Chad Dawson did when he came down to 168 to fight Andre Ward.
As skillful and smart Canelo is, his biggest advantage is his physical strength, and it is a huge advantage. What makes him dangerous is that he has the intelligence to make that strength count. Floyd realizes that for the first time in his career, he may be truly in over his head even though the majority of the boxing community is picking him to get past Alvarez with little difficulty. If Canelo shows up drained, and it will be obvious, then Mayweather can pot shot and waltz his way to victory.
But what if Canelo turns out to be the real deal and shows no adverse effects from making 152? There’s hope yet for Mayweather, but it will be no small task. In order for Mayweather to defeat Canelo Alvarez at his best, Mayweather would have to show us something he’s never shown before; his greatness.
Don’t get me wrong, Mayweather is a great boxer, arguably the best in his weightclass. But the honest truth is that he’s been handpicking handicapped opponents over the last decade. Most of his fights are glorified sparring sessions against limited opponents. Mayweather is a master of winning rounds and he does it by shutting down his opponent’s offense through mind games while he himself puts up minimal offense.
Mayweather deserves credit for his masterful defense, but the kind of BS boxing he gets away with won’t fly with Canelo. Mayweather surprised us with his foot speed against Guerrero. In order to win, he needs to surprise us again by fighting Canelo like a man.
I’m not saying that Mayweather needs to turn into Arturo Gatti, but in order to keep Canelo off of him he’s going to have to fight. He’s going to have to sit down on his punches even if it puts him at greater risk. Mayweather needs to go after Canelo like he means it.
Canelo is doing everything in his camp to prepare for whatever Mayweather brings. I guarantee that if there’s one thing Alvarez is not going to be ready for, it will be Mayweather’s punching power. If indeed Mayweather could hit harder than he’s been letting on, there’s no better time to show it than when he fights Canelo Alvarez. There’s no other time Mayweather needs that power more.
If Mayweather shows he can hurt Alvarez, we’ll have a very entertaining fight in our hands. Otherwise, don’t be shocked to see Alvarez punish and dominate Mayweather. Floyd will have to unleash the lion that boxing fans believe he has in him. He will have to show a side that we’ve never seen before or else end up on his backside for the ten count. We are two weeks away from finding out.