No one goes to Hooters for wings. So says, Chris Rock, the Floyd Mayweather of comedians, in that he got a bunch of publicity for saying some controversial stuff a few years back but now most of us have grown a little tired of his act. The premise of the joke is straight forward and tough to dispute: when something markets itself solely on the basis of one, salacious attribute - i.e., buxom waitresses in skimpy outfits - it's silly to pretend you're not drawn to it for exactly that reason. And that's fine. But what if you're not a Hooters fan? Well, tonight, I encourage you to go there just for the wings. By which of course I mean, you need to tune into the Floyd Mayweather - Saul "Canelo" Alvarez fight even if you're not expecting a competitive boxing match up. (Spoiler alert: it's not going to be competitive.) But that's okay, and here's why:
- This is a Mega-Event: How would you feel if you skipped the Super Bowl and had to listen to your friends spend the following Monday droning on about the great party they attended, the last minute game-winning drive, or the increasingly stale and obvious commercials? This event is going to be huuuugge. This fight is so big that yesterday thousands had to be turned away from the weigh-in. This will be the largest grossing pay-per-view fight in history (surpassing Mayweather's 2007 win over Oscar De La Hoya). The entire nation of Mexico is going to tune in for their red-headed hero, Canelo (which, by the way, is Spanish for cinnamon - a reference to his hair - and a recognition that only accountants should be named Saul). Mayweather is going to be escorted to the ring by Justin Bieber - The Biebs! - and at least one other major celebrity. You'd be an asshole if you missed it.
- Floyd Doesn't Need To Carry The Night: After committing a quarter-billion dollars to Floyd Mayweather, Showtime could not have been pleased when the first fight under the deal - against the dull, overmatched, and little-known, Robert Guerrero - was a financial disaster. The broadcast was a mess, too. Showtime seemed like a schlub who'd inexplicably scored a date with Kate Upton and spent the evening trying to impress her with his knowledge of Big Bang Theory trivia. They won't make that mistake twice. Not only did they find the most marketable match up in the sport to be the feature fight of the evening, they've beefed up their broadcast team, adding one of the best guys in the business, Brian Kenny, who is best-known for his own rumble with Floyd Mayweather.
- The Undercard is Stacked: The co-featured bout of the evening could rightfully have headlined its own pay-per-view. Argentine slugger Lucas Matthysse, fresh off a sizzling third round knockout of Lamont Peterson, takes on champion Danny "Swift" Garcia, an undefeated Philly brawler who is coming off a hard-fought victory over Zab Judah, who handed Matthysse a controversial loss in 2010. Matthysse, along with Gennady Golovkin, is one of boxing's most excited up and comers. He possesses unique power and has no hesitation about mixing it up. His skills seemed to have tightened up as well over the last few years. While Matthysse took some rounds off and fought in spurts against Judah, he was a constant whirlwind against Peterson. He's considered a significant favorite. But Garcia has been an underdog before and it's never stopped him from performing. Skinny, green-eyed, and soft-spoken, Garcia hardly seems like the badass he is in the ring, and that may have hurt his marketability, but he's clawed his way to the top of the division regardless. With his outspoken father/professional Mike D lookalike, Angel Garcia in his corner, Garcia should not be counted out.
- Embrace Greatness: Floyd Mayweather is a jerk. He's repeatedly been arrested or convicted of beating women. He flaunts wealth, goes bankrupt, claims to be reformed, gets wealthy again, and repeats the process (and he probably will do so again). He gets into needless fights with his friends, the media, and even his fans (along with Keith Olbermann and Dan Rafael, I am blocked from Mayweather's twitter feed). But he's also a freakishly talented fighter who is, for the first time in years, facing a legitimately great opponent at or near the prime of his career. This may be Mayweather's last big hurrah. He's aging. His arch-rival, Manny Pacquiao, has faded to the point where few even clamor to see the fight both men have avoided like it was a Mike Tyson uppercut. After he beats Canelo, given his risk-averse style, it's unlikely that Floyd seeks out another prime opponent. But, tonight, he does. And even though it is a prime opponent who is woefully inexperienced at this level and whose style seems to have been custom-made for Floyd, it is nevertheless a prime opponent who will force Floyd to be his absolute best. And Floyd Mayweather's absolute best is something that everyone should witness at least once in their lifetime.
So, what to expect? Mayweather is historically a slow starter, so expect Canelo to try to catch him early and impose his superior power. It would not be a surprise to see Canelo score early and bank some of the early rounds as Mayweather makes his adjustments. It would not even shock to see Floyd briefly touch canvas. By round five, however, Floyd should be in full control, and the inexperienced, inconsistent Canelo will be tiring. By round ten, if it goes that long, Floyd should be pot-shotting Canelo at will, backing away as the exhausted but dogged Alvarez lumbers after him. Floyd is unwilling to take a risk to earn a knockout but he could easily stop Canelo late as the bigger man's arms become too tired to block Floyd's onslaught (that's the bet, should you engage in such shenanigans). The most likely ending is Floyd cruising to yet another dull and wide decision. All hail the champ, still undisputed.