A great deal of the talk surrounding whether Canelo Alvarez truly does have a shot at staying competitive with Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Saturday has centered around Alvarez’s breakthrough April victory over Austin Trout.
Stepping up against top-end competition for the first time against the fellow unbeaten Trout in a junior middleweight title unification bout at a sold-out Alamodome in San Antonio, Alvarez showed different facets of his ever-expanding arsenal that, frankly, we didn’t know he had. The rising Mexican star utilized head movement and heavy counterpunching to claim a decision that most felt was closer than the judges’ scorecard indicated.
Still, the victory was an impressive one for Alvarez, who implemented a game plan and had the poise to carry it out to completion against a difficult southpaw.
But if you’re wondering whether Mayweather was impressed by what he saw out of Alvarez while watching at home ... he wasn’t.
“That fight was a lot closer than people had,” Mayweather said during Wednesday’s final news conference. “But it’s a business, also. The fight was extremely close, I thought. But they had the open scoring and the scoring wasn’t right. If [Alvarez] did win, he probably only won by a couple of points.”
The talk quickly centered around whether Alvarez's win over Trout at 22 years old was an achievement comparable to a then-21-year-old Mayweather winning his first world title in 1998 by stopping Genaro Hernandez at 130 pounds.
“OK, [Trout] got a close fight against [Miguel] Cotto, but who else has Trout beaten?” Mayweather said. “Trout came in and fought one fight and as easy as he came in, [now] we forget who he is. I don’t think Trout is no Genaro Hernandez. And at that time you also had Angel Manfredy [who Mayweather stopped two months later]. I fought the two top guys, back to back, at 21.”
Mayweather turned many questions on Wednesday into a platform for him to call out Alvarez’s resume as a major factor toward him not being ready to face a fighter of Mayweather’s caliber.
“I guess [Alvarez] is a good boxer-puncher, but I don’t know if he has faced the same competition as [Juan Manuel] Marquez,” Mayweather said. “That’s how you weigh the situation. I look for certain things and that’s how I go into a fight. Has he fought the same caliber of fighters as Cotto has? That’s how you look at it.
“[Alvarez] fights Miguel Cotto’s brother, but he don’t fight Miguel Cotto. He fights Ricky Hatton’s brother, but he don’t fight Ricky Hatton. Really, just go back and do your homework.”