Mayweather smells victory


BY the time you read this column, tonight’s (tomorrow morning here) mega showdown dubbed “The One” between two undefeated superstars just hours away, one of them will be revelling in the reality of being recognised as the best fighter in the world to the chagrin of the other.
WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr, 36, (44-0, KO26) is challenging Saul “Canelo”Alvarez, 23, (43-0,KO30-1) for his WBA and WBC junior middleweight belts. The bout will be contested at a 152-pound catch- weight.
Age is against Mayweather, but his skills set and experience could defy age and convince us once more that it’s just a number.
Indeed, most pundits are predicting his victory, but they are not naïve and agree this could be the kind of fight he rather should have avoided because Canelo poses the greatest risk yet.
Canelo has youth, strength, power and a better KO ratio of 69.7 per cent in his armour against Mayweather’s 59.4 per cent and, maybe, that’s the man who could unlock the Mayweather mystery.
If, as he has been saying during the pre-fight hype, he has studied Floyd’s style and will avoid the mistakes of the 44 others before him, then Canelo could bring the upset. “It’s my time,” he said recently.
Mayweather’s past opponents said similar things and more before they entered the square circle better known as the ring to face the man some call God’s gift to boxing. Name them…Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, Sugar “Shane”Mosley, Victor Ortiz all predicted KO wins against the slick Mayweather, but they all fell short.
Canelo has a puncher’s chance in this fight and that’s just about all he has aside from the other attributes from the foregoing. I’ve watched him against Matthew Hatton, Mosley, Jesito Lopez and Austin Trout and I think he could test Mayweather.
His performance against Trout was, however, so-so. I thought although Canelo won by a unanimous point’s decision, the fight was closer than it was scored.
To beat Mayweather, Canelo will need to get busier by taking the fight to Floyd and go to the body frequently behind his jab. Cotto had his good moments with the jab against Mayweather.
Rob Smith, a boxing writer, said of Canelo-Trout: “If you watched Canelo beat Trout, you’ll notice that Canelo was incredibly economical with his punches in every round of the fight.
He was clearly outworked by Trout, and the only thing that Canelo seemed to be doing was looking to land three or four hard shots in each round.”
He added: “…but if (Canelo’s plan of defeating Mayweather) is anything like how he  beat Trout ,then I think Canelo is going to have to come up with a new plan on the drawing board because the Canelo that fought that fight loses to Mayweather.”
For his part, Floyd will need to replicate the form of his last fight against Guerrero in which he looked brilliant as a moving target while unleashing his trade mark counter punches and setting up traps.
Doubtless, Floyd will also use his legendary superior defence wizardry combined with the shoulder roll to make Canelo miss with his bombs.
Hatton, a 10 Mayweather, says there’s nothing more frustrating for a boxer than to punch “fresh air” and picks Floyd to win.
Going into this fight Canelo is the slight underdog, according to most experts. But both fighters are champs, which heightens the intrigue on who will use his boxing skills and ring savvy better to outsmart the other.
While Canelo is the underdog, let’s not forget what James “Buster” Douglas did to the then invincible “Iron” Mike Tyson in Tokyo Japan in 1990. Sometimes, what comes does not beat the drum.
Canelo will need a KO to beat Mayweather, but I don’t think he’ll get it. The winner of this fight will be the one with more hunger and better focus.
It won’t be an easy fight for either fighter given that Canelo, noted for his slow attack can punch.
He will have to fight a dog fight. But then, that’s the type of fighter Floyd knows best to make look bad with his movement and I just don’t see how Canelo can out-think, outsmart and outfox Mayweather. I’m going for Mayweather by unanimous points decision.
He’s fighting for Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record, a legacy that is anchoring his motivation. If he wins tomorrow, possibly by a landslide, he will be four fights away from cementing that legacy.