by Sam Geraci
On the undercard of the most meaningful fight of the year, rising and undefeated superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez defends his 154lb WBC title against future hall of famer “Sugar” Shane Mosley. While the star of the night is clearly Floyd Mayweather, it could be argued that the goal of the night is to use the event’s popularity to market Alvarez into a contender for real fights with big names and even bigger money. In his short career, Alvarez has walked through his competition and developed good balance and thudding punches that wear down his opponents. Alvarez’s rise to the WBC title at just twenty-one years of age, albeit aided by the politics of Jose Sulaiman of the WBC, has been impressive (especially considering his limited amateur experience of only twenty fights). Having said that, because of the brilliant matchmaking and marketing of Golden Boy Promotions, Alvarez has not yet faced a true 154lb fighter. In fact, it could be argued that aside from current 135lb IBF champion Miguel Vasquez, who Alvarez defeated twice early in his career, Alvarez has not yet faced a top ten fighter of any weight class. Mosley, on the other hand, has faced and competed with top fighters from 135lbs, 147lbs, and 154lbs. In those three weight classes, Mosley is considered an all time great at 135lbs (32-0, 30ko), one of the best of his generation at 147lbs (10-5, 6ko), and courageous or overmatched at 154lbs (4-2-1, 3ko). While I do expect Mosley to look better than he did against Mayweather, Mora, and Pacquiao because of Alvarez’s plodding style with limited head movement, I can’t imagine Mosley hurting a strong 154lb fighter in his prime enough to win a decision or get a knockout. I do, however, expect Mosley’s superior hand speed, coordination, and overall toughness to provide the test for Alvarez that Kermit Cintron was unable to provide in Alvarez’s last fight. Simply put, after analyzing the careers and recent performances of both fighters, it seems as though Golden Boy and the odds makers got it right: Alvarez is a young (21), strong 154lb fighter on the rise and Mosley is an old (40), dynamic 135lb-147lb fighter who is moving up to chase recognition, money, and titles. After taking some good shots, I expect Alvarez to win by decision in similar fashion as Ronald “Winky” Wright did against Mosley in their second fight. There is always a chance, however, especially in the case of a great fighter like Mosley, that the odds makers, promoters, and all of the critics overvalued the prospect and undervalued what’s left in the aging fighter (see Francisco Bojado vs. Jesse James Leija).