weather icon Partly Cloudy
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Opportunity knocks too soon for Alvarez

Logic is boring. It lacks emotion and creativity and imagination.

But it sure makes sense when Floyd Mayweather Jr. talks Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.

“I fought Ricky Hatton, not Ricky Hatton’s brother,” Mayweather said. “I fought Miguel Cotto, not Miguel Cotto’s brother. People can believe what they want. He has not fought the same level of fighters, not faced the same level of competition. He’s facing ‘The Truth’ now, and you can see it in his eyes. He knows.

“It’s going to be the same thing as always. It’s not going to change. Who is going to be there to hit with all that power? A stationary target? I’m not that guy. I’m not going to stand there and let him load up and hit me with a right hand. I am at the highest level. You better be ready mentally and physically. Am I worried? Absolutely not.

“He’s 42-0, but he hasn’t faced 42 Floyd Mayweathers, because he’d be 0-42.”

If it is true those critical moments of decision shape our destiny, Alvarez should have waited before making this one. Timing matters. It’s a comedian’s most important skill and a boxer’s most precious strength. When to land the big punch. When to take the big fight.

Alvarez is young, big, strong, talented, charismatic, unbeaten.

It’s just not his time, is all.

Not to win this immense a fight.

They will meet tonight at the MGM Grand Garden to unify the WBC and WBA junior middleweight titles, the face of boxing in Mayweather and its future face in Alvarez.

They are a combined 86-0-1. It’s heady stuff.

But believing you are prepared to engage and defeat Mayweather and actually responding to the bright lights and intensity that comes with such opportunity are entirely different matters.

Think of it this way: In building an impressive but nowhere near the level of a Mayweather resume, in dispatching such opponents as Matthew Hatton and Jose Cotto and Josesito Lopez and Kermit Cintron and Austin Trout and a (very) aging Shane Mosley, Alvarez has proven he can conquer the sort of waves you might see off the coast of San Diego.

Tonight, he drops into Pipeline and Mavericks and Dungeons all rolled into one massive tsunami.

Alvarez is 13 years younger than Mayweather and could rehydrate to near 20 pounds above a 152-pound catch weight he struggled making.

But youth and size will work against him.

Inexperience: Alvarez has all of it on this grand a stage.

Quickness: Mayweather has too much of it for Alvarez to handle.

We saw the same thing with Juan Manuel Marquez in 2009 and Cotto last year. Each walked into a ring against Mayweather far bigger than the champion. Each lost unanimous decisions.

I would like Alvarez’s chances against Mayweather a year from now. I would love them in two years.

Not now. Wrong moment.

“I make fights when they are there,” said Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “Too often in boxing, people wait another year and another year and then the fight is gone. You make big fights when you can make big fights. You don’t wait when you have a young champion who is ready and wanting to fight and pushing for a fight. You give him the wings to go meet the challenge.

“I could not get (Alvarez) out of my office when he wanted to fight Austin Trout. I told him I would get him the same money, maybe more, to fight someone else. This guy, that guy, any other guy. He would not leave until he got Trout. When he won that fight (in April by unanimous decision), he said, ‘I want Floyd Mayweather.’ I said, ‘This guy is not going to leave my office or leave me alone until I get him Floyd.’

“I guess it’s the stubbornness of the redheads.”

Hey now. Some of us are quite reasonable.

Alvarez has power. He also will have a huge following inside the MGM tonight as Mexican Independence Weekend takes off. None of it will matter. Mayweather is right — the holiday can’t fight for Alvarez.

I assume you could get all emotional and creative and imaginative in listing reasons this is the fighter who finally will erase that zero on Mayweather’s record.

But, logically speaking, it isn’t the time.

It’s too soon for “Canelo” Alvarez.

It’s just not a tsunami he is ready to conquer.

“Is he tough like Cotto?” Mayweather asked of tonight’s opponent. “No. Can he box like Cotto? No. Has he faced the same fighters as Cotto? No. Has he faced the same fighters as Marquez? No. Is he the same caliber as those guys? Those are all the things I look at when preparing to fight.

“I’m a winner. I was born a winner, and I will die a winner.”

He will be one tonight. Mayweather by a late stoppage.

The Truth prevails again.

Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney can be reached at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on “Gridlock,” ESPN 1100 and 98.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter: @edgraney.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.