Monday, 05 August 2013 03:33

'Canelo' vs Floyd Mayweather: Can Saúl Álvarez Pull Off the Upset?

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Floyd Mayweather Jr. (44-0, 26 KO's) is set to meet boxing's newest star Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez (42-0-1, 30 KO's) on September 14th.
Floyd is considered by many the best pound-for-pound boxer, as he has skillfully and masterfully defeated his competition.

(Photos by: Esther Lin /SHOWTIME)

And he is arguably the best defensive counter puncher to ever put on a pair of gloves - So how then, does Canelo plan on defeating him?

The sport of boxing is truly a Sweet Science. It takes a combination of skill and strategy to successfully defeat your opponent. One cannot merely go into a boxing match loosely throwing punches, and expect a favorable outcome.

Comfort Zone
Mayweather's success is greatly attributed to his vast understanding of the science, and of his superior boxing abilities. He understands how to effectively defeat an opponent by intelligently scoring on the judges' scorecards.

What Canelo must do is take Mayweather out of his comfort zone by reversing roles, making Mayweather the aggressor.

The typical Mayweather opponent is too offensive-minded and attacks Mayweather at-will, allowing Mayweather to play the role of the defensive counter puncher. Floyd then stands waiting for his opponent's punches to fly, skillfully defending and countering, earning points on the judges' scorecards in the process.

Image courtesy of SHOWTIME

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Most of Mayweather's victories, at least lately, are won on the judges' scorecards as he effectively outpunches his opponents while skillfully avoiding their punches. If Mayweather wants to win the match on the judges' scorecards on September 14, Canelo should make him earn it.

Control the Action
Canelo needs to dictate the fight by making Mayweather fight his (Alvarez's) fight. He must not chase Mayweather, yet have Floyd come to him by pressuring Mayweather to initiate the contact. Floyd's defense is not as effective when he's punching as he exposes himself, allowing for the possibility of counters.

The key is to wait for Mayweather to punch and then exchange intelligently with combinations focusing on the body.

Previous Mayweather opponents' failures are in they focus heavily on Floyd's head. As a result, they become frustrated when they are unable to make solid contact due to his elusive head movements and shoulder rolls. 

It is extremely difficult to land clean head punches on Floyd so the best viable option is combination-punching to the body. However, to be able to successfully execute the strategy one requires above average speed to compete competitively against Floyd.

Speed and Youth
Does Canelo possess the necessary speed to compete against Mayweather?

The answer is, "Yes, he does."

Miguel Cotto is the most recent fighter to have boxed Mayweather with limited success, connecting, and winning three rounds on the judges' scorecards. Though the then- 31 year old  Cotto showed decent speed and power, it pales in comparison to the 23 year old Canelo's.

Mayweather hasn't faced an opponent as fast or as strong as Canelo in years and his last four opponents' average age at time of the fight is 31. (Guerrero, Cotto, Ortiz, Mosley - hboboxing).

And if there ever was a weight class Mayweather has struggled in, its been the Jr Middleweight division. He squeezed a split decision against De La Hoya and was most recently was challenged by Cotto in what turned out to be a competitive bout.

The fight is scheduled at the Jr Middleweight level, but with a catch-weight of 152 pounds, meaning they both have to weigh-in at 152 pounds or less the day before the fight but can hydrate to a higher weight afterwards.

Image courtesy of SHOWTIME


Canelo tends to hydrate back to around Super Middleweight which is at 168 pounds, which will make him the heaviest boxer Mayweather has ever faced.

Canelo is more than a formidable opponent, possessing speed, power and skill. If he can execute the defensive strategy just described, he has a legitimate opportunity at dethroning the pound-for-pound king.

Though difficult, he can win the match.

'Canelo' Alvarez Highlights