Floyd Mayweather Jr. surprised a lot of people when he agreed to fight Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez this September. The undefeated star has a lengthy history of avoiding guys who he feels are legitimate threats to his crown, and for better or worse, Alvarez has been perceived as a legitimate threat for the better part of the last year. Thus, between that and the weight issues that had seemingly arisen over the past month, it didn’t seem like this thing would come to fruition.
And then it did.
Before Mayweather agreed to take on Alvarez, there was some talk of who else he could possibly take on over the next year. He needed someone that he felt like he could beat, and who also had the name recognition to help him avoid another (rumored) PPV flop like what he had with Robert Guerrero last month. Obviously, Manny Pacquiao seemed like the perfect contender. If the Filipino star could get past Brandon Rios in September, a rivalry match between him and Mayweather in early-to-mid 2014 would essentially sell itself.
Now that Mayweather has agreed to fight Alvarez, though, it seems like the prospect of Mayweather-Pacquiao is off the table. Or is it?
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Regardless of whether Mayweather wins or loses versus Alvarez, he’s going to need a fight in mid-2014. His Showtime deal mandates him to fight twice per year for the duration. After a potentially brutal brawl against one of the best youngsters in the game today, he’ll need an easier match-up to start off next year. And Pacquiao would be an ideal candidate for that bout – presuming he beats Rios.
Alvarez, for his part, is confident that he can topple Mayweather.
"Mayweather is fast, but he only throws one or two punches and then moves,” Alvarez said, per Boxing Scene. “He has a good defense, but we are going to have a great strategy to win. I promise that I will win. Everyone wants to rip his head off from the first round on, but no one ever achieves that. We must begin by hitting the body and then going up to the head.
“The key is to stay calm," he added. "I have to take responsibility, because I know that a lot of people are going to rely on me and I want to make them happy by getting a win that day."
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It’s impossible to bet against Mayweather at this point, but if anyone can defeat him right now, it’s Alvarez. Either way, though, as long as Pacquiao does his part against Rios, chances are he’ll be in line for a bout against his one-time rival no matter what.