LAS VEGAS (AP) — 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,” boxing 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.
“They wanted me to go to 147,” Alvarez said earlier this week when he said he was already down to 154 pounds. “I said that was physically impossible. Then they wanted 150 and then 151. I wanted to make the fight so I agreed to 152. Then they forced me to be quiet about it.”
Alvarez was 152 pounds at the official weigh-in Friday, delighting a raucous crowd of about 12,000 who packed the MGM Arena to watch. Mayweather weighed in at 150½.
Oddsmakers in this gambling town believe Mayweather will find one of those ways when he takes on the undefeated Mexican star in what could be boxing’s richest fight ever. He’s a 2½-1 favorite against a bigger and presumably stronger fighter who will probably rehydrate to enter the ring 10 pounds heavier than Mayweather, though those are the shortest odds for a Mayweather fight in years.
The fight, which also features a much anticipated 140-pound title bout between Danny Garcia and Lucas Matthysse, will be televised on pay-per-view at a suggested cost of $74.95.
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 takes off. Early indications are that the fight will be one of the biggest in years, with celebrities who usually get free tickets even offering to pay for ringside seats at the MGM Grand hotel that first sold at $2,000 and now are being offered for as much as $29,000.
The live gate itself will be $20 million and the pay-per-view could bring in another $150 million in a fight featuring the reigning king of pay-per-view against the biggest sports hero in Mexico.
“He’s put the sport on his back,” Ellerbe said of Mayweather, whose earnings for the year will total at least $73 million. “Boxing is a niche sport, but the highest-paid athlete in the world is a boxer.”