The Canelo And Mayweather Fistic Crusade
In an amazing transformation, Times Square, Manhattan, New York looked like a New Year’s Eve celebration -- but in the afternoon and in the Summer.
No, no silver magnetized ball was coming down with the down-count for the New Year, it was simply that Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions in a Barnum and Bailey fashion, initiated the first of an 11 city tour to promote the mega pay-per-view fight between, Saul “El Canelo” Alvarez, W.B.A./W.B.C. Junior Middleweight Champ and the pound- for-pound icon of boxing, Floyd “Money” Mayweather, 8-time world champ in 5 weight divisions.
They met and were greeted by their loyal fans in an open door bleacher-like stand under that hot tropical sun. The tour started, Monday, June 24, and 11 days later it ended Tuesday, July 2nd in Los Angeles.
The air conditioned press conference for this fight scheduled for Saturday, September 14, 2013, at the M.G.M. Grand and Casino, Las Vegas, was held at the W Hotel in Manhattan. Grinning and super confident Mayweather who labeled Canelo Alvarez, “Carrot Top”, because of his flaming red hair, declared that this fight like his previous 44- was “just another day at the office." adding, "I know he is undefeated, has as many fights as me, but he does not have the ring experience and boxing smarts I have, and I have defeated 10 world champs.”
Mayweather further added that Alvarez had not fought the quality of fighters that he had. Questioned further on other aspects of this fight and it’s significance in his life, Mayweather seemed reluctant to discuss in depth many questions regarding the mega-money and the demanding letter of his contract with Showtime Cable of 6 fights; 2 of which he already complied with in this fight with Alvarez.
When asked about the list of future opponents to comply with Showtime, and retire undefeated at 49-0 equaling Rocky Marciano’s boxing record, he refused to answer. “Rocky was a great champion and I am not trying to duplicate him or anyone else, I am going to set my own record even if it is equal to him, and if I retire at 50-0, that’ll be my sole decision,” he said.
We also were not able to get any discussion from Mayweather as to why he was demanding that Alvarez had to fight him at a catch-weight of 147 pounds and then settled for 152 pounds catch-weight when he stated many times in the past that he was completely against catch-weight contracts; but, surprisingly Alvarez accepted his demands.
Interviewing Canelo Alvarez who was most cooperative and complacent he expressed an immense gratitude to Mayweather for accepting his challenge in this mega unification fight. Alvarez said that he was confident in winning this fight even though all of the odds were against him. He stated that he understood that he was very young and not as experienced as Mayweather, not having fought the ring veterans like Oscar De La Hoya, or Miguel Cotto, that Floyd fought, while also acknowledging that their one common opponent, Shane Mosley, Floyd actually defeated him easier.
“Being undefeated like Mayweather and also having the same amount of fights like him, 43-0, and Mayweather , 44-0, gives me enough ring savvy and confidence to match whatever he brings to the table. I also have more knockouts than he does, which highlights my punching power”, Canelo stated.
So we have the “ring veteran” and the “ring rookie” in a face-off each both stating confidently that they will win this mega combat. Who should we believe?
Let’s analyze: Floyd “Money” Mayweather the veteran whose battle cry has been, “44 tried and 44 failed and I am still undefeated and after September 14, I’ll still be undefeated”, makes you wonder if that will hold true since this time he will be fighting twice a year instead of his customary one fight a year which gave his aging body-36- ample time to heal, and having to fight a much younger-by 12 years-strong bull-like, Canelo Alvarez.
During this rigorous 11 city publicity tour almost like a political campaign-4 cities were visited in just 2 days-we were subjected to the same super confident platitudes by both combatants. In some cities Mayweather was booed while Canelo was cheered while in some other cities predominantly Mexican, Canelo was actually booed while Mayweather was cheered.
How do you figure, but overall it was an 11 city adulation for both fighters. One youngster even had his barber carve facial likenesses of both Canelo and Floyd on his head, “only in America”, as Don King would say.
Yes, it was exhausting especially for Floyd and Canelo, making the same speeches answering the same questions, over and over, and perhaps most boring, repetitive, the 11 face-offs with no smile. There were times I thought that one or both were going “break-out” laughing. Well, now they have 2 more face-offs, Friday, September 13th. after the weigh-in and then the final one on September 14th. in the ring without the famous Mayweather sunglasses which he wore throughout the 11 city tour, when the referee gives them their instructions prior to the first bell, and finally we will bear witness to the clash of the “modern day titans of boxing”.
Throughout this boxing publicity tour which began in New York City the hottest day of the year, super fans and knowledgeable about boxing commented that they felt that Canelo had bitten off more that he could chew in fighting an icon like Mayweather, while others thought the time was ripe to fight an aging Floyd who is now obligated to fight twice a year due to the Showtime contract.
There are times I conduct “a man on the street” interviews and talks on the sport of boxing, in the Bodegas, Barbershops, and even with the Undocumented on the street corners while they are waiting to “shape-up” for a job. It is amazing how astute these boxing fans are some of whom told me that they felt Mayweather took Canelo too soon and too lightly instead of contracting even a Manny Pacquiao, even though they feel that Pacquiao is “damaged goods”.
“Canelo is much too tough for Floyd at this time” many stated, while others said that it was the ripe time to fight him now because Floyd might be too old down the road to compete with a young bull that resembles ex-Jet quarterback, Tim Tebow, and at fight time he will probably weigh a full 160 pounds. I have to agree, they do have a valid point of argument, and additionally Canelo is a punishing body puncher and his left hooks to the liver are the “painful appetizers” to weakening Mayweather and defeating him.
Overall, in my conversations with my “street people”, I was impressed not only by their knowledge, but also by the excited enthusiasm they felt awaiting this mega fight in September, hoping that nothing including an injury by either fighter would postpone the fight. One of the undocumented even told me that he and his “buddies” were already “pooling their meager finances” to buy a pay-per-view in a friend’s house. These are the real fight fans.
Well, after the 11 city publicity tour that ended in Los Angeles July 2nd. which consisted of more photo-ops with the fans, babies, speeches, shaking hands, and both fighters receiving the Ring Magazine Championship Belt, it was time for a little “R. & R.”, with their family and then soon after in a very serene mood like the old time classic war movie, “All Quiet On The Western Front”, the 2 “soldiers” would report to their respective training camps to begin preparation for this “Cinco De Mayo”-Mexican Independence Celebration-boxing war on September 14, 2013. Canelo Alvarez reporting to the isolated high altitude, “Big Bear” Camp, and Floyd Mayweather as usual will go to his home base camp in Las Vegas.
They-Canelo & Floyd-plus their strategists will then have 2 months of final preparations as to who will win this mega fight. To the winner will go all of the spoils of the squared circle victory and the loser will have an “0” added to his fight record.