Though the Canelo Alvarez hype machine was already in full gear before Saturday night, his domination of Ryan Rhodes, a respected fighter who was expected to give Alvarez major problems, only served to heighten expectations for the budding star. Even if the fight was far from a barn burner, Alvarez showed improvements on his already mature game, causing even more stir about how far he can go.
Alvarez had little time to celebrate his twelfth-round stoppage of Rhodes before names were hurled at him regarding potential future opponents. Among the most frequently mentioned were Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., whose superstar status in Mexico could create major money with Alvarez' popularity within the Mexican market. Also, other pundits have suggested a possible bout with undisputed middleweight champion Sergio Martinez as an interesting option. While it's fun to consider how Canelo would fare against Chavez and Martinez, it's hard to imagine Golden Boy cashing in on Alvarez, who is clearly their crown jewel, right now. Alvarez-Chavez would mean both Golden Boy and Top Rank putting their two biggest investments at risk, and doing so before it could develop into a true superfight. And Alvarez-Martinez? Don't believe for a second that Golden Boy is interested in making that fight happen. And who can blame them? Alvarez is only twenty-years old, is a natural 154 pounder, and still has much to learn before taking on the likes of a Sergio Martinez.
But, nevertheless, it is still fun to play the part of matchmaker, even if the likelihood of things becoming reality are beyond slim. It's interesting that in all the talk of potential big fights for Alvarez, perhaps the most entertaining fight to be made has received little mention.
Let's suspend our disbelief for a moment and consider a matchup that would be a guaranteed face-melter: Canelo Alvarez vs. Manny Pacquiao. How could this not end up being a classic throwdown? It would pit two aggressive, skilled fighters against each other, neither of whom would be willing to take a step back. Both men are totally offensive-minded, and neither of them conjure any memories of Pernell Whitaker, making a high-contact affair a certainty.
And, unlike Pacquiao's last few fights, this one would have a great chance for competitive suspense.
Granted, Alvarez has never faced anything from the same realm of existence as Manny Pacquiao, so there would always be the possibility that Alvarez could fall victim to Pacquiao's killer bee swarm and be added to the ever-growing pile of bodies Pacquiao continues to leave in his wake. Still, there are some intriguing elements that Alvarez possesses that could feasibly give Pacquiao some trouble. First, Alvarez is a big 154-pound fighter, and even at a catch-weight, Alvarez would still own a functional size advantage over Pacquiao. To this point, none of Pacquiao's bigger opponents have really been able to translate their naturally greater bulk into any type of edge over Pac-man. Alvarez, though, could make his size and strength more of a factor than Pacquiao's previous victims. Alvarez is not as plodding, methodical, or predictable as Antonio Margarito, and it's hard to envision him being as tentative and gunshy as Shane Mosley or Joshua Clottey. And if Alvarez could get to Pacquiao's body, a place where Pacquiao admitted Margarito hurt him badly, Canelo's bigger frame and strength could become an increasingly telling factor.
The reality from this fightwriter's perspective? A fight between the two at this point would probably resemble Pacquiao's matchup with Miguel Cotto, a fight where Pac-man had to eat some hard punches before he could fully assert his pronounced advantages. Canelo's inexperience against truly elite competition would ultimately lead to his ruin, as would hundreds of lightning-fast punches coming from angles he never knew existed. Bottom line: it would be very fun while it lasts.
Admittedly, though, a matchup between Alvarez and Pacquiao at this point would need some mediation even to be considered a pipe dream. It just doesn't make sense for either side financially to risk things now. If ever the stars would align for this fight, it wouldn't be for at least a couple of more years, when Canelo's commercial appeal would be in the neighborhood that would have Pacquiao's braintrust consider him as a viable candidate as a dance partner for Pac-man. Also, a couple of years might be what it would take for boxing's Cold War between Golden Boy and Top Rank to thaw to the point where each would be willing to risk its meal ticket.
While the business sense isn't there just yet, the fighting sense just might be. So, weigh in TSS Universe. How would a fight between Canelo and Pac-man shape up?
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Would you pay to see Manny Pacquiao vs Saul Alvarez?