(PHILSTAR) Floyd Mayweather Jr (photo) has never been shy to claim he’s the best along cauliflower row and now that Manny Pacquiao is safely out of the way, the loudmouth insists he’s the face of boxing with nobody close to challenging his contention.

Mayweather, 36, will be tested by equally unbeaten Saul (Canelo) Alvarez of Mexico in a 12-rounder at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sept. 14. Alvarez will stake his WBC lightmiddleweight crown against Mayweather at a catchweight limit of 152. The lightmiddleweight division has a usual limit of 154. Mayweather is the reigning WBC welterweight titlist but will be the challenger in the bout.

Although Alvarez at 22 is 14 years younger, he has fought only one less fight than Mayweather whose record is 44-0, with 26 KOs. The Mexican’s record is 42-0-1, with 30 KOs. The remarkable thing in comparing their records is Mayweather turned pro in 1996 while Alvarez made his debut in 2005 or almost 10 years after.

Alvarez has been a lot busier than Mayweather lately. Since 2007, Mayweather has figured in only six fights compared to 33 for Alvarez. Mayweather fought once in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. He didn’t even step into the ring in 2008. Last May, Mayweather outpointed Robert Guerrero in the first of a six-fight deal with Showtime at over $200 Million until 2015.

A cause for concern is Mayweather’s dwindling power. He has stopped only two of his last nine opponents since 2007 and his last two victims Guerrero and Miguel Cotto survived the distance. But in fairness to Mayweather, he looked sharp and slick in outclassing Guerrero in his most recent outing.

Alvarez isn’t just Mexico’s hope but the world’s. Mayweather is the villain in boxing and fans would like nothing better than to witness his humbling. Alvarez, however, may not be up to the task. Mayweather’s defense is almost impregnable and Alvarez will find it extremely difficult to tag the elusive target.

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Alvarez has raced on the fast track to make it big in the ring. He was in seven fights in 2007, eight in 2008, seven in 2009, five in 2010, three in 2011 and two in 2012. Last April, Alvarez outpointed Austin Trout in the sixth defense of his WBC welterweight throne. If there is someone who can put Mayweather in his place, experts think it’s Manny Pacquiao. But it remains to be seen how much fight is left in Pacquiao. After back-to-back losses to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao has to prove himself all over again by convincingly thrashing Brandon Rios in Macau in November.

What makes Mayweather such a despicable anti-hero is his lack of humility. “I don’t feel I’m the face of the sport,” he said during a press conference in this US capital city. “I know I’m the face of the sport.” When Mayweather showed up for the media meeting, he wore a $1.5 Million diamond-studded necklace and said, “I don’t wear dog-tags, I wear price tags.” He also wore diamond-encrusted sunglasses.

Mike Wise, writing in the Washington Post, said Mayweather’s attraction is a reason why boxing is popular among the masses. “Why the sport will never die, irrespective of how popular mixed martial arts, BMX or any extreme sports become?” said Wise. “Because it rips away pretension, actually celebrates the politically incorrect idea of openly rooting for your own ethnicity, finding racial identification in someone who looks like you, beating up someone who doesn’t look like you.

It’s kind of what Tiger Woods did for golf in some ways. The difference is people have been paying good money for upwards of 16 years because they want Tiger to win. A huge portion of fight fans have been paying Mayweather for two decades because they so badly want to see him knocked out.”

Wise, calling Mayweather the “Bling King,” said he has no idea if Alvarez can pull an upset and become the first man to beat the flamboyant stylist. He said Mayweather could be the greatest defensive fighter ever who has not lost in 17 years and 44 bouts. “But Alvarez has got a left uppercut like Marvin Hagler and he relentlessly works the body like Julio Cesar Chavez.”

To stain Mayweather’s record, Alvarez must be extremely active with both hands, work the jab and stop the Money Man in his tracks. Of course, that’s easier said than done because Mayweather is like a cat in the ring and if Alvarez plays the dog’s role, he’ll be in for quite a chase.

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Pacquiao, 34, battles Rios on Nov. 23 with no championship at stake even if it’s a 12-rounder. No doubt, it’s make or break for Pacquiao because a third straight loss will finally bring down the curtains to a long career whose highlight was capturing world titles in eight different divisions, a feat that will likely not be duplicated for decades. But if Mayweather crushes Alvarez and Pacquiao repulses Rios, they may just end up in an engagement that is long overdue.

Marquez and Bradley will face off in their own duel on Oct. 12 in Las Vegas with the winner expected to make the championship landscape even murkier. Marquez should deal Bradley his first career setback and line himself up for either Pacquiao or Mayweather. Neither fighter is a stranger to Marquez who has battled Pacquiao four times and Mayweather once. In those five fights, Marquez won only once – the sixth round knockout over Pacquiao last December.

Fans wouldn’t mind a fifth Pacquiao-Marquez encounter to give the Filipino a chance for payback. But if Mayweather comes to the table, Pacquiao is expected to drop everything and take him on for what should be the biggest paycheck of his career. The presumption is Mayweather disposes of Alvarez and Pacquiao does the same with Rios.


Mayweather: Pacquiao a has-been By Roy Luarca Philippine Daily Inquirer

Floyd Mayweather Jr. sees Manny Pacquiao as a “shot fighter,” yet continues to sidestep talks of getting in the ring with him.

On the other hand, Brandon Rios feels Pacquiao has something more to give and he may be risking his future by agreeing to a Macau fight with the Filipino eight-division world champion.

Whoever’s perception is correct will be known on Nov. 24 when Pacquiao and Rios tangle at Cotai Arena of The Venetian in the former Portuguese enclave.

In a recent press conference in San Antonio, Texas, Mayweather, who’s drumming up his Sept. 14 battle with Canelo Alvarez, again took potshots at Pacquiao.

“Pacquiao’s a has-been, his career is over; (but Juan) Manuel Marquez is a legend (and I commend him),” Mayweather told World Boxing News.

Marquez knocked out Pacquiao in the sixth round in their fourth battle in Las Vegas last December and derailed a projected megabuck Mayweather-Pacquiao showdown.

While Marquez nixed another rematch with Pacquiao, who bested him twice in their first three fights (the other one ended in a draw), Rios stepped on the plate and agreed to move up in weight to challenge the Filipino.

Though he was at ringside when Marquez sent Pacquiao to the canvas with a dynamite right with a second left in the sixth round, Rios refused to consider the loss as an indication that the fighting congressman of Sarangani province is on the wane.

Smarting from the narrow loss he suffered at the hands of Alvarado, whom he stopped in the eighth round in their first encounter, Rios showed his high regard for the 34-year-old Pacquiao.

“I’m going out there and I’m expecting the best Manny Pacquiao,” Rios told Chris Robinson of BoxingScene.com. “I can’t judge on one performance what happened.

“We don’t know. We’re just going to be ready for the best Manny Pacquiao. The one that was beating everybody. The one that was on top of the world.”

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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