By Bob Smith: it is not surprising to see a surplus of Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez articles here; on the contrary, this is quite expected, given the skill level of Mayweather and the hype of Alvarez. Here is an article that focuses not on speculations but on facts – and will lead the impartial and rational observer to the only possible conclusion of the flight – a clear unanimous decision win for Mayweather.
To begin with, let us look at compubox numbers over the past 8 years of Mayeather’s boxing career. Many opponents have been hyped, perhaps none more than Alvarez, but all have failed. Looking back, Oscar de la Hoya performed the best against Mayweather, followed by Miguel Cotto. None of his other fights were even competitive. It is worth noting that both of these fights were at 154 pounds, which does give Alvarez an advantage I concede.
Thogh Gatti was a hometown favorite and a future hall of fame boxer, he managed to land only 41 punches in 6 rounds, and only 10 of these were non-jabs. Thus, he landed fewer than 2 power punches per round against Mayweather. Compare this of course to his fights with Micky Ward and you will notice the difference. Two power punches landed per round will just not cut it to defeat Mayweather, hometown fans and hype aside.
Let us move then to Sharmba Mitchell, albeit not the best fighter in the world, but he landed only 31 punches in 6 rounds, and Mayweather nearly quadrupled his connect percentage, at 43% landed versus 11% landed. That is only five punches landed per round!
Against Baldomir the theme continues – in a one sided decision, Mayweather landed nearly 4 times as much as his opponent did percentage wise – 43% versus 12%. Also, Baldomir landed in single digits in 11 of 12 rounds. I believe that this is the future of Alvarez vs. Mayweather – Baldomir landed 79 punches total, and Alvarez will land somewhere around the mid-80s +/- ten punches landed.
Zab Judah managed to land only 18% of his punches against Mayweather, or a decent (by the standards of Mayweather opponents) 89 punches overall en route to this loss. By contrast, Mayweather landed 205 punches for the clear unanimous decision victory, and all doubled his opponents’ connect percentage at 36%.
But perhaps the greatest challenge for Mayweather was Oscar de la Hoya – at this time, Oscar de La Hoya was the champ and had all of the advantages, which he dictated – a small ring, heavy gloves, etc. – yet even then he only landed 122 punches – in other words, he occasionally broke double digits in punches landed per round, including jabs and all sorts of pillow punches. It is worth noting that Oscar de La Hoya connected on only 21% of his shots versus 43% per Mayweather, so was a lopsided fight, with Mayweather landing nearly two punches for every de la Hoya punch landed. There is no way whatsoever that Alvarez will get to land 122 punches against Mayweather of this I am sure.
Hatton, who was indisputably a world class fighter and champion when he fought Mayweather, managed to land only 63 punches in ten rounds, and only 52 power punches or only slightly more than five per round. Again, Mayweather more than doubled his percentage connected at 39% versus 17% This indeed is the problem with power punches like Hatton or skillful tacticians like Juan Manuel Marquez when they fight Mayweather – when they try to out-think or use their strengths against Mayweather, they end up losing more convincingly than those like De La Hoya or Guerrero who simply let their punches fly and connect at a 20% rate.
And speaking of Juan Manuel marquez, the brilliant counter-puncher and superb tactician landed a mere 69 punches and never once broke double digits in terms of punches landed. Juan Manuel Marques is currently the #3 pound for pound boxer in the world and a future hall of famer. How is this possible? This skill level of Mayweather all must admit is unquestionably the greatest in his era.
But perhaps Mayweather was aging you suggest or had ring rust, as was the debate before the Marquez fight and as Robert Guerrero alleged before his convincing loss to Mayweather? Mayweather certainly did well after his layoff against Marquez.
He turned after Marquez to fight Mosley, another future hall of famer. And Mosley managed to land 92 punches overall, but saw his best moments early in the fight – anyone who has seen the fight recalls the vicious right hand in the 2nd round that staggered Mayweather for the first time in years. Perhaps Alvarez can do something similar. But what happened after that? It was a typical Mayweather fight, with Mosley landing fewer than ten punches per round for nine of the next ten rounds. Mayweather again more than doubled his opponents connect percentage at 44% to 20%.
Ortiz landed only 26 punches in four rounds, and we all know how that ended up.
Cotto did rather well by the standards of Mayweather opponents however. He broke 100 punches landed, with 105 total, and most tellingly Mayweather connected on only 26% as compared to 21% for Cotto. This is the first time that Mayweather had not more than doubled his opponents connect percentage in literally seven years. Moreover, in the 8th round, Cotto actually outlanded Mayweather.
I repeat: in the 8th round, Cotto actually outlanded Mayweather. This is a very rare occurrence.
Why then did Mayweather not do as well against Cotto? Part of it is age, part of it is style, part of it was the strengths and defense and tenacity and heart of Cotto.
And then there is Mayweahter vs Guerrero, another lopsided decision but Guerrero acquitted himself rather well by historical standards, as he managed to land double digits in five rounds, and landed nine or eight or more in all but one of the rounds. Of course, he lost clearly and Mayweather doubled his connect percentage, but that is about the best a Mayweather opponent can do.
Alvarez will follow which pattern then. Will it be Baldomir? Mosley? Juan Manuel Marquez? Cotto? De La Hoya? Certainly no one can argue that he is greater at present than all of those fighters, or that Mayweather has lost more than a step given his convincing win over Guerrero.
What then is my prediction? I will give Canelo the benefit of the doubt and say that he lands exactly the average of Mosley and Cotto or 92 punches. This would mean 8 punches per round. I will even give him a round as Cotto took a round against Mayweather, and claim that he hurts Mayweather as Mosley did. This is the best that he can do. If he does not do this well, he will get in the low 70s for punches landed and not even manage to hurt Mayweather once. I will give Canelo this – Mayweather may well not double the connect percentage of Canelo – and this is a rare accomplishment for a Mayweather opponent.
In the end, though, despite a few blips, Mayweather will get a clear unanimous decision, and Alvarez will become a very solid middleweight champion in a few years.