Should Mayweather Jr.'s next fight be against Alvarez?

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Should Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s next fight be against Canelo Alvarez?

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BRING IT ON!
NO WAY!

The time is now

Campbell By Brian Campbell
ESPN.com
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A window can stay open only so long for a great fight to be made when the timing is this perfect.

In the case of Floyd Mayweather Jr., fresh off his flawless dismantling of Robert Guerrero to retain the WBC welterweight title, there's no better time than now to go after the biggest name realistically available to him: unbeaten junior middleweight titlist Canelo Alvarez.

Here are five reasons why:

1. Dollars and sense. There are only so many times two unbeaten champions in or around the same division who rank this high on boxing's popularity list have a chance to square off. It's even rarer when it's this easy to make. Mayweather-Alvarez is simply the richest fight that can legitimately be made and one that could potentially challenge Mayweather's pay-per-view record-setting victory over Oscar De La Hoya in 2007. This holds greater weight considering rumors that the Guerrero fight did worse on pay-per-view than was expected, which could deal Showtime a heavy financial loss in its first of a mega five-fight deal with Mayweather.

2. "Perfect" timing. There are more factors beyond the fighters' unbeaten records that make now the perfect time for the fight to take place. At 36, Mayweather renounced any notion that age had caught up to him with his victory over Guerrero. But Father Time will eventually catch up to him in a way his opponents still haven't, and facing an opponent as dangerous as Alvarez before age robs Mayweather of even the smallest amount of decline would be advantageous. As would challenging Alvarez, fresh off his breakthrough victory over Austin Trout, before the ever-improving champion realizes any more of his staggering potential.

3. Credibility. Mayweather is willing to tell anyone within earshot of the 44 fighters who have tried and failed against him, calling himself the greatest fighter in the sport's history. But there hasn't been a time in Mayweather's career when his résumé has been under more scrutiny. The best way to quiet critics is by accepting a fight against a prime opponent such as Alvarez, who might represent Mayweather's most dangerous challenge on paper since his fight with Diego Corrales in 2001. He also would give Mayweather a chance at securing the defining victory of equal commercial and critical meaning that his career has lacked. To argue that Alvarez is too big or that the fight is better-served at a catchweight isn't fair, considering Mayweather is a defending and two-time titlist in Alvarez's division. It's about daring to be great -- the same thing Juan Manuel Marquez tried when he moved up two weight classes to face Mayweather in 2009.

4. That's his job. Mayweather has been able to call his own shots thanks to his standing as both the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter and the sport's biggest draw. But there's a responsibility to defend that crown by taking on difficult challenges. It comes with the territory. Regardless of who you blame for Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao never happening, the fallout has been a negative one for Floyd's legacy. If the Alvarez fight doesn't pan out, the impact could be more damaging.

5. He would win. Let's not pull any punches here: While Alvarez is clearly a dangerous opponent thanks to his size, power and youth, the version of Mayweather who demoralized Guerrero would have beaten anyone in the world at or below 160 pounds that night. There's a reason why Mayweather is the greatest fighter of his era.

The case for 'hells no'

Mulvaney By Kieran Mulvaney
ESPN.com
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Would I like to see Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight Canelo Alvarez? Sure. Do I think it will happen at some point before Mayweather's putative retirement in 30 months? Yeah, I think there's a pretty good chance it will. But there are a lot of elements to be ironed out beforehand, which is why I don't think it will be Mayweather's next fight and don't think it necessarily should be Mayweather's next fight.

Here are five reasons why:

1. Weight matters. Mayweather has fought at junior middleweight just twice, and on both cases he was well short of the 154-pound limit. He's a welterweight. Heck, he walks around at 150, which is the everyday size of a lot of lightweights. Canelo has fought at welterweight before, of course, but he was a 19-year-old kid when last he did it and he's a 22-year-old man now. Deciding which weight division the fight would be in won't be easy.

2. Popularity contest. Mayweather will point out that he is the No. 1 fighter in the sport, that he has headlined a succession of pay-per-views (including the most successful of all time), that he won his first world title when Alvarez was 8 years old, and that he just earned $32 million for barely breaking a sweat. Alvarez will counter that he just packed 40,000 people into the Alamodome in San Antonio while Mayweather couldn't even reach the 16,000-plus capacity of the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday, that Mayweather's most successful pay-per-views have often been when he had someone else to be an A-side, and that rumors are rife his outing with Guerrero had underwhelming sales. Alvarez will demand big money, which Mayweather will be reticent to grant.

3. The proof is in the pudding. Mayweather has pointed out that Canelo has yet to show he can carry a pay-per-view. For that matter, the jury is out on whether he can bring it in the ring: squeaking past Austin Trout is in itself not enough of a résumé to start making demands of the pound-for-pound king. In an ESPNDeportes.com poll, 48 percent of respondents in Mexico -- in Mexico! -- didn't think Alvarez is ready for Mayweather yet. Will Golden Boy want to sacrifice its future star at the Mayweather altar unless Alvarez has a real fighting chance?

4. Lighter is better - and cheaper. More likely is that Mayweather's next opponent will be either Amir Khan (unless Mayweather really does go in September, which will be too close to the end of Ramadan for Khan to be ready), Danny Garcia, Devon Alexander or the Lamont Peterson-Lucas Matthysse winner. None of them, admittedly, are as interesting as Alvarez, but they'll take the short end of the financial stick and do so very happily for a shot at Money May.

5. Same time next year. None of which is to say that the fight won't happen. If Alvarez racks up a convincing win or two and sells plenty of pay-per-view units and a lot of seats in the process, he'll have earned his stripes and the leverage he seeks. By then, Mayweather may be under increasing pressure from Showtime to make good on that sweetheart deal. Conditions will be ideal so that on either May 3 or Sept. 13 next year, we can finally get the clash we want.