Money can’t buy you a legacy. And if there’s one thing Floyd “Money” Mayweather values as much as his estimated $250 million fortune, it’s his legacy.
As the highest paid athlete in the country in 2012, according to Forbes magazine, readies for Saturday night’s junior middleweight unification title bout against upstart and undefeated Canelo Alvarez, he does so with an eye on Marciano’s unblemished mark and a nod toward Ali’s overall greatness—it's all about taking yet another immeasurable jaunt towards assuring his own immortality.
Mayweather is poised to make a record whopping purse of at least $41.5 million from the Showtime PPV fight, and in the days leading up to the showdown he seems as hungry and confident as he’s ever been. In a measured fashion, he reminded a pre-fight interview crowd, "I've been here before, so I know what it takes… He's just another opponent."
That doesn’t bode well for the 23-year-old Canelo Alvarez, who, for all his grit and power, still hasn't convinced critics that he isn't seeking too much too fast in taking on the pound-for-pound king.
"He is 42-0. If he had fought Floyd Mayweather 42 times, he'd be 0-42," Mayweather told reporters before referencing the recently vanquished Miguel Cotto for comparisons sake. “Is he as tough as Cotto? No. Can he box like Cotto? No. Am I worried? No.”
But what should really give the Canelo camp pause is the fact that Mayweather is zeroed in, focused on what this fight could mean to the Floyd Mayweather brand far beyond this whirlwind weekend in Vegas. Given Mayweather’s unmatched defensive prowess and quick-footed savvy, one already had to wonder if the somewhat brutish Canelo might spend the vast majority of his evening swinging at air, but now with “Money” so clearly in another zone, so poised about his future in and out of the ring, that almost appears seems a guarantee.
What will you do, Mayweather was asked, if Alvarez comes at you with a strategy that you haven’t anticipated?
"I will just have to adjust," the 36-year-old, ring-wise Mayweather opined. “That’s what champions do.” And Money certainly has that pedigree. A five division world champ, he has won eight world titles and is a two-time Ring Fighter of the Year winner.
It’s all seems to have left the young Canelo gasping for answers. “Pressure is going to help me win this fight,” he said, clearly hoping along with his team and passionate fans that Mayweather will somehow uncharacteristically implode in the face of it— even after all his battle-tested experiences.
Showtime has labeled this fight "The One," and by that they really mean Mayweather, who is on a journey all of his own as it relates to today’s others fighters and his place in boxing history.
“It's fight time. What else can I say?” said Mayweather. “If the game plan is to keep pressure, I can handle it. If the game plan is to outbox me, nobody can outbox me. You have to be able to outmatch me mentally, and I’m the strongest mental fighter in the sport of boxing.
It’s that grasp of the game, that internalizing of the moment that has rendered Floyd Mayweather virtually untouched in his first 44 bouts. It’s what has him so confident about this weekend’s gamble in Vegas.
"He’s 42-0, but he hasn’t faced 42 Floyd Mayweathers. I’m at the pinnacle. I’m the face of boxing, and I’m dedicated to my craft. I’m Floyd Mayweather.”