By Robert Brizel, Head RCM Boxing Correspondent
Las Vegas, NV (September 14th, 2013)– Floyd Mayweather Jr. versus Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, the mega fight of the moment, the decade, the century (for the moment), perhaps surpasses the mythical Rocky Marciano versus Muhammad Ali 1965 proposed fight between unbeaten heavyweight champions which never took place. Ali did fight Marciano in the computer fight of 1968 with two endings produced, a film released only after Marciano’s death in a private plane crash in 1969. The intensity of tonight’s fight has boiled up to the top of wild intensity, to a who will win argument without an answer, and betting lines which ultimately mean nothing.
Floyd seeks to reach Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record. Canelo seeks his own destiny to the top of the pound per pound rated fighters in the world, at the expense of Floyd’s pristine reputation. Both unbeaten records are on the line. A controversial draw or decision will never satisfy the masses, nor will a trilogy of fights like Ali versus Frazier. Perhaps, even a clear knockout or stoppage will not satisfy anybody either and will trigger a rematch. Who can say.
Perhaps the final thoughts on the eve of the mega fight in Las Vegas should center on the history of the light middleweight division for which Canelo and Floyd are fighting for the crown. Miguel Cotto and Paul Williams made waves in this division in recent years. Erislandy Lara, who lost a controversial decision to Williams, who now holds the interim World Boxing Association version of the world Light Middleweight title, could be the true opponent next for the winner of this bout, if no rematch occurs. If not, maybe Timothy Bradley if he gets by Juan Manuel Marquez. Maybe Danny Garcia is he gets by Lucas Matthysse in the preliminary bout to the main event before Floyd. Perhaps somebody else.
Looking in the BoxRec list of all-time fighters at 154 pounds, neither Floyd nor Canelo appear in the Top 25 all-time list. Thomas Hearns appears in the number one position, having dominated the pack at 154 pounds on his way to fighting Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Iran Barkley in the higher weight classes. Terry Norris is in the number two slot, who lost to Julian ‘The Hawk’ Jackson but who beat Sugar Ray Leonard at 154 pounds. Freddie Little and Sandro Mazzinghi are the most consistent names at 154 pounds in the top ten. The late Duane Thomas, and Miguel Angel Castellini, ranked further back, are among my favorite names.
A key point at 154 pounds is none of the great fighters in this division, whether they stayed here or were just passing through on their way to 160 pounds, like Winky Wright and Emile Griffith, retired with the 154 title.
Only one fighter remains unmarked at 154 pounds, and he is the key to the mystery. 154 pound undefeated World Boxing Organization Light Middleweight and Middleweight champion Harry Simon, 41, of Namibia, beat Winky Wright. Now 28-0 in his 19 year career, Simon faces 23-8 Geard Ajetovic of Serbia for the vacant International Boxing Federation International Light Heavyweight title on September 28 in a 12 rounder in Namibia. Simon has fought between 149 and 200 pounds, and has not been beaten. Like welterweight Paul Spadafora, an ex-champion who is now 48-0-1, the fighter Floyd and everyone else have consistently avoided, the most dangerous fighters are not the famous names, they are the names established promoters intentionally avoid. Does anybody want to fight Amanda Serrano? There are great fighters out there, even if we don’t always have the privilege of seeing them like we do Floyd and Canelo.
Putting two unbeaten fighters like Floyd and Canelo together may not be all it is knocked up in the media to be. Carlos Zarate versus Alfonzo Zamora, and Salvador Sanchez versus Wilfredo Gomez, unbeaten matchups back in the day, were surprising stinkers.
Floyd versus Canelo is a winner. Like Hearns versus Hagler, as long as it lasts, whoever wins, the sports junkies are going to get their money’s worth. Perhaps even one or two of the undercard bouts might be a hot number too. Tonight we’ll all watch and see. May the best men win tonight on the card. Most experts say Floyd will win, most Mexicans say Canelo will win. Everybody forgets it’s a fight. Most think it is entertainment, a great show. When it plays out, the loser may be crying to the dressing room, but everybody on the boxing card will be crying all the way to the bank. For the brutal sport boxing is, for a change it is nice for the fighters to earn some decent money participating in the craft they love.