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. 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, a combination of skill and strategy is needed to successfully defeat your opponent. One cannot merely go into a boxing match loosely throwing punches, and expect a favorable outcome. 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. Whereby he stands waiting for punches, skillfully defending and countering earning points on the judges’ scorecard in the process.
Mayweather’s victories are won on the judges’ scorecard by skillfully avoiding punches, and effectively countering. If Mayweather wants to win the match on the judges’ scorecards, then Canelo should make him earn it. Canelo must dictate the fight by making Mayweather fight his (Alvarez) fight. Canelo needs to not chase Mayweather, yet have Floyd come to him pressuring him to initiate the contact. Floyd cannot score points unless he makes contact, if he wants to do so, he must eventually throw a punch. Floyd’s defense isn’t as effective when he’s punching he exposes himself allowing the possibility to be countered. The key is to wait for Mayweather to punch, and then exchange intelligently with combinations focusing on the body. Past opponents failures are in they focus heavily on Floyd’s head, they become frustrated with his elusive head movements and shoulder rolls. It is extremely difficult to land clean head punches, 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. Does Canelo possess the necessary speed to compete against Mayweather? The answer is, “Yes, he does.” Miguel Cotto is the most recent boxer to have boxed Mayweather with limited success, connecting, and winning three rounds on the judge’s scorecard. Though the 31 year old (age at the time of the fight) 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; his last four opponents average age at time of the fight is 31. (Guerrero, Cotto, Ortiz, Mosley – hboboxing).
If there ever was a weight class Mayweather has struggled in, it’s the Jr. Middleweight division. He squeezed a split decision against De La Hoya, and most recently was challenged by Cotto.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. Canelo tends to hydrate back to around Super Middleweight which is at 168 pounds, making him the heaviest boxer Mayweather has ever faced. Canelo is more than a formidable opponent possessing both 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.