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Boxing: Mayweather and Alvarez prove money and lust rule the ring

Anand Datla
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Editor's Pick
14 Sep 2013, 13:20 IST

The fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Canelo Alvarez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena has been dubbed 'The One'

The fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Canelo Alvarez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena has been dubbed ‘The One’

Alvarez has a 42-0 record, built largely on a sucker punch that has debilitated his opponents so far. Experts reckon though that Alvarez has yet to meet a man with the skills of Mayweather, who is supposed to be a defensive genius. He is known to wait patiently, relying on his world class defensive skills, till his opponent is worn down and beaten by the sheer effort.

There is as much betting interest on whether the fight can break the Floyd-De La Hoya records in terms of revenues as there is about the prospect of Alvarez handing his senior his first defeat. The 2007 bout drew in PPV revenues from nearly 2.5 million homes, a number that might prove too tall for even tonight’s battle dubbed “The One” to decorate the man that still remains unbeaten after tonight.

Alvarez at 23 is at the prime of his powers, but it remains to be seen if he has what it takes to outsmart his experienced opponent, who is thirteen years his senior. The Mexican weighed in at 152lb, one of the pre-conditions on the contract, having lost weight to fight the smaller sized American. Mayweather gained a few pounds, even as Alvarez lost some, to tip the scales at 150.5lb.

But much of the narrative around this event is about money. This is the second of Mayweather’s ‘30 month – six fights’ deal with Showtime/CBS, reputed to be worth nearly $250 million. The man who topped the Forbes chart of richest athletes last year on the back of a couple of nights’ work – $40 million for fighting Victor Ortiz and $45 million for taking on Miguel Cotto – is all set to rake in a guaranteed $41.5 million just for showing up.

PPV receipts, share from the gate receipts and closed circuit revenues are all expected to take his earnings from Saturday way higher. And this is the most disconcerting part – that the audience, promoters, the seven world renowned sponsors and television networks are willing to shell such large sums of money for a fist fight in a garishly lit up ring.

And that indeed is the reason why Alvarez was happy to go into the ring even at the cost of shedding some of his weight and sacrificing his chances of victory. Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy suggested on ESPN that the 23-year-old is set to make in excess of $12 million for sharing the ring with Mayweather. It is a pity that the young man is willing to compromise his chances of success at the altar of money in a pursuit that ceased being sport a long time ago.

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