LAS VEGAS – Listen to Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s people and Canelo Alvarez wanted to fight their man so badly he offered to drop a few pounds to get him to sign on the dotted line.
Listen to the Alvarez camp and Mayweather wanted the fight at an even lower weight that Alvarez would have to starve himself to make.
The truth, promoter Richard Schaefer says, lies somewhere in the middle.
Weight is always a big deal in fights, and it is center stage again in one of the biggest fights in recent years. Tonight’s megafight is officially for a version of the 154-pound title held by Alvarez but will be fought at a catch weight of 152 pounds that will be harder for Alvarez to make than it is for Mayweather.
They’re the ones who said they would fight at a lower weight, said Leonard Ellerbe, Mayweather’s manager. We can’t help it Alvarez has idiots for managers, but we’re going to take every advantage they give us.
Alvarez is a full-fledged junior middleweight and has been for more than three years now. He’s physically bigger at 5-foot-9 than Mayweather and has had to lose good amounts of weight in the final days in some of his recent fights just to get to the 154-pound class limit.
But when the chance came to move in to the upper stratosphere of fighters against Mayweather – with at least a $5 million payday attached to it – Alvarez had to give up a few pounds against a fighter more used to fighting at 147.
Mayweather will earn the biggest purse ever for a fighter, $41.5 million guaranteed with even more millions to come if the pay-per-view (at $74.95) takes off. Early indications are that the fight will be one of the biggest in years, with ringside seats at the MGM Grand hotel that first sold at $2,000 now being offered for as much as $29,000.
The live gate itself will be $20 million and the pay-per-view could bring in $150 million more in a fight featuring the reigning king of pay-per-view against the biggest sports hero in Mexico.