Sometimes boxing fans await for a fight for decades, and it does not happen at all (cases in point: Dempsey vs Wills, Tyson vs Foreman, Lewis vs Bowe, Tyson vs Bowe), other times, we await for a fight and it seems that the fight takes so long to materialize that mere years seem like decades (cases in point: Holyfield-Tyson I, Chavez-Taylor II), and yet other times, we do not really anxiously await for a particular fight and the bout does go on to become a classic, a point of reference in boxing annals (cases in point: Sanchez-Nelson, Gomez-Pintor, Gatti versus Ward I, and Corrales-Castillo I).
For many years now, we have been awaiting for the Mayweather-Pacquiao mega-fight to materialize. However, in view that the Pacquiao express to that defining clash was derailed by the collision-minded Juan Manuel Marquez's midnight special, we get the "Money" Mayweather line's encounter with another big engine, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez of Guadalajara, Mexico.
The night's other main event promises to be as compelling as that one, when Danny Garcia, an American-Puerto Rican, faces Argentina's dangerous Lucas Matthysse. These two fights promise to leave boxing fans talking for a long time.
I have to say that watching All Access, Showtime Network's compelling show, has inspired me to write this piece. Watching Canelo wearing his seat belt as his private jet took off, and Mayweather as he walked into his (Note to Showtime: I am an aviation buff, next time you record a scene like that Mayweather one, I hope you do not block the logo on the tail of the commercial airliner right behind!!) made me realize how much in common the rest of us have with them. I never met Canelo personally, but I have Mayweather and I know he is not as bad as the press wants to picture him. I don't know about Canelo. But I do know that these guys, like all other celebrities and-or royalty, deep down are just human beings like you and me, who can fail, get hurt, perform flawlessly, be happy or sad. And because they are humans, this fight means a lot to them. Neither of them wants to walk around on Sunday the 15th having been defeated for the first time.
Garcia is undefeated too. The only one who has tasted defeat among the four co-main-eventers is Matthysse, who surely does not want to have another disappointment in his career! Matthysse hits the way few guys or girls have in boxing history. Guys or girls with bludgeoning power such as Wilfredo Gomez, Rocky Marciano, Anne Wolfe, John Mugabi, Earnie Shavers, George Foreman, Thomas Hearns, those are who I am talking about. Look at his fight with Mike Dallas Junior and tell me he does not hit hard. But Garcia has proven again and again that he is a crafty performer with many tools and has not lost a round in the past many fights.
Danny Garcia is 26-0, 16 knockouts. He is a solid boxer who is almost as beautiful to watch as it is Mayweather, and he has pop on his hands, as evidenced by his beat downs of Erik Morales and Amir Khan in recent victories. Here is where the catch lays at: Morales is, in boxing years any ways, as old as Christopher Columbus would be in human years. Khan, for all his talents and magnificence, has a tiny little bitty problem in his chin area. Other than them, the rest of the fights Garcia has had recently are nothing but versus a list of dinosaurs including Morales another time, Zab Judah, Kendall Holt and Nate Campbell. And the way that Garcia has been talking about drug tests and the USADA lately, makes me wonder if he is really focused on the task at hand.
Lucas Matthysse, 34-2, 32 knockouts, is a huge puncher who has wins over Dallas Junior, Lamont Peterson and the also shop-worn, dinosaur-rex Vivian Harris. He lost two very close fights, one against Devon Alexander and one to Judah. Many believed he was robbed on those. But Matthysse is not as used to go the distance as Garcia is, and note that the two boxers who hold wins over him, close and controversial as they may be, are actually technically proficient fighters. Lucas has fought many very good fighters on their prime, but he has also been fed with a diet of not so good ones and shopworn relics of the past.
Floyd Mayweather Junior, is 44-0, 26 knockouts and probably the most experienced and most known fighter of the four pack. He is crafty, slippery, he can punch and has smarts. He also is confident. He knows he is the man in boxing and he carries that belief in himself that he just cannot lose. Mayweather is, however, getting up in years at age 36, and he has seldom knocked out anybody outside of hugging bears as a welterweight or junior middleweight. And no matter how slippery and fast you are, age catches up with everyone. During his fight with Miguel Cotto last year, Mayweather ate more leather than versus anyone else since the Jose Luis Castillo fights and even since before that, maybe.
Saul Alvarez is 42-0-1 with 30 knockouts. He is a very strong fighter with dynamite on his fists who walks straight at you throwing bombs as if he were a military tank on a destruction mission. Kermit Cintron, himself with two Colts that lay down many men if not more than Billy The Kid and Al Capone's thugs did put together, hit Alvarez and Alvarez did not even blink his eyes. But when you look at his record, there you might find a couple of chips in this seemingly indestructible ring soldier's record: his fight with Austin Trout was closer than what the scoring judges lead you to believe, and it showed that Alvarez can be out boxed at least at times. Also, Alvarez is not used to mega fight events like this one and Mayweather has been there, done that, against Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto and Judah. He is much slower than Mayweather and Mayweather usually does not forgive slow fighters.
The questions that will be answered on September 14 then are: Can Matthysse find a way to get to Garcia's chin? Can he resolve the puzzle offered by Garcia's style? How will Garcia's so far untested chin stand up to the bombs thrown by Lucas? Can Danny avoid an all out brawl with him and stick to boxing intelligently if the heat gets turned on?
Can Mayweather stand the famous body attack of the Mexican(s)? Will his body finally show his real age in a fight against such a dangerous opponent? Can Canelo catch Mayweather enough times to slow him down and then go for the home-run hit? Can he overcome the fight's atmosphere?
We will find out on September 14th!
Antonio Santiago can be reached by e-mail at TJ69662094@aol.com
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