Mayweather-Alvarez: The lowdown
Ricky and Matthew Hatton give us an exclusive lowdown on this weekend's Floyd Mayweather-Saul Alvarez clash in Las Vegas.
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Floyd Mayweather Jr (44-0 26KOs) is no stranger to mega-fights, but this weekend he arguably faces the biggest test of his glittering career against Saul Alavrez (42-0-1 30-KOs).
The pair will put their respective unbeaten records on the line in one of the most eagerly-anticipated showdowns of all time.
British brothers Ricky and Matthew Hatton have shared the ring with both fighters in their distinguished careers and have kindly agreed to give us the lowdown on what is sure to be an explosive clash at the MGM Grand.
Ricky Hatton, Britain's most popular fighter ever, lost in 10 rounds when he famously fought Mayweather in Las Vegas back in December 2007.
Here are his thoughts about the man widely regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
"Floyd is up there with the very best of all time - the greatest of all champions.
"People say boxing is to hit and not get hit, and he has got it off to a tee.
"Boxers try to imitate the style and get his skills. Adrien Broner immediately springs to mind, but they cannot do it like Floyd.
"What I remember wasn't just how good he was at defence and that he rolled so many punches, it was about his timing.
"He knew how to let the storm blow and choose the right moment to put his foot on the gas. That is a boxing brain.
"That is greatness nobody can teach."
"His defence really frustrated me because I only need to get one shot up the belly and it would often have an effect on opponents, but Floyd was something else.
"Floyd would drop his left hand low and that is usually the signal to jump all over a rival, but with him he's setting a trap.
"Whenever I would come in with a body shot he would counter and catch me with a right upper cut.
"He knew how to pull out of range, he knew what distance the punch might come from and knew how low to duck.
"At times I thought he ducked too low below the waist and that he used his forearm to keep you at arms distance.
"I was frustrated at the time, but when I look at him now, I just think, 'what a clever smart arse in the way you do all that.'
"He was so clever defensively and it would just be a little nudge or sway that made all the difference."
"I wouldn't say he was the most murderous puncher I have fought and I think I have been in a lot more gruelling fights like Kostya Tszyu and Luis Collazo.
"They perhaps hit me harder, but Floyd knew when the right time was pick his punches and through his defence he'd sap the strength from me.
"It is not about his power, but knowing the time to throw.
"He isn't feather-fisted, but Floyd certainly isn't the most concussive puncher I have faced."
"He is very, very quick. In our fight I was going to ease into the fight and stand off a little bit, and use a bit more feinting.
"But in the first 10 seconds he hit me with that lead left hook he throws and I had to alter my game plan.
"If that was the first sign of his speed there was no point in me standing off because he was just going to nail me.
"I had to try and stay on him and out-hustle him then, and that was because his speed forced me to alter tactics."
"I caught him with some good body shots, but I never really caught him flush on the chin.
"I did land one punch that wobbled him and had an effect, but he was also half off balance.
"I think he has got a decent chin though.
"The only time I have seen him remotely in trouble was when Shane Mosley nailed him in the second round of their fight.
"Floyd's legs were all over the show and I thought, 'Shane has done him here', but he couldn't finish him.
"His chin is obviously pretty good because he recovered so well to survive the round and won the fight by a landslide.
"Also because he is so elusive, dips and rolls, if you do catch him he is always taking the sting out of it."
CAN ALVAREZ BEAT HIM?
"I do think this is Mayweather's toughest fight.
"For someone so young Alvarez (above right) is very, very talented. He has youth, power, strength and size on Floyd.
"Alvarez has had a lot of fights, but not miles on the clock.
"Despite all that I don't see Mayweather losing to him. His timing, defence and speed will just be good enough to see him over the finishing line.
"The risk against Floyd is that he's 36-years-old and had a lot of fights against some very good men.
"He is coming to an age where fighters get beaten, but because of his wonderful defence he can go on longer than most because he doesn't take stick.
"I had wars before I got to the eight round stage in my career, but Floyd hasn't had too many tough ones.
"He didn't take too much stick in his hardest fights against Oscar de la Hoya and Miguel Cotto."
Matthew Hatton, who recently retired after a fantastic 52-fight career, bravely lost on points to young Mexican Alvarez when they clashed for the vacant WBC light-middleweight title in Anaheim back in February 2011.
Here are his thoughts on the 23-year-old who is being backed by many to hand Mayweather a first defeat.
SKILLS AND RING IQ
"Alvarez's boxing brain seems to improve with every fight.
"What also struck me is that he is adored by the fans, but for such a young man he is so calm and patient. He doesn't fight to please the fans.
"He is like Mayweather and just cares about winning. He is a very smart, educated fighter in the ring and seems to be improving with each fight."
"From watching recent fights his defence seems to be getting better.
"In our fight I had no problem hitting him. There was such a size difference though that my shots just bounced off him.
"I wasn't too impressed with his defence when we met, but that is a problem he has addressed."
"I have a good chin, but he was a powerful hitter.
"Alavrez's power didn't trouble me and I never once thought I was on my way out, but he is incredibly strong.
"He is a heavy hitter and if he does catch Mayweather clean then he'll have him in trouble.
"He has the power that if he connects on Floyd he can knock him out.
"Hitting Floyd is the big problem, but if he can find the target often enough he could do some damage as he is so strong."
"He wasn't the quickest and Mayweather 's speed gives him such a big advantage.
"Anybody who comes up against a speed merchant will be at a disadvantage."
"When we fought he was by far the bigger man and I think he was 12lb heavier on the night of the fight.
"I have seen him step up and face noted punches like Kermit Cintron and Shane Mosley so I don't see his chin being a problem.
"Does Mayweather have the power to stop 'Canelo'? I don't think so. He is quite tough and when you look at his body and particularly his neck you'd back him to take a shot."
CAN ALVAREZ UPSET MAYWEATHER?
"When the fight was originally made I fancied Mayweather to win a close and competitive clash.
"Floyd has a good team around him and they always look for little advantages and getting 'Canelo' down to 152lb for the weigh-in is a good move.
"But, as the fight draws closer, I'm beginning to fancy an upset and I'm going to go with Alvarez.
"I believe it will be really close contest, nip and tuck all the way and a fight where after 12 rounds you can't argue with the decision either way.
"They call Floyd 'Money' Mayweather, but Alvarez is the cash cow of the future so if it's the close fight I expect I wouldn't be surprised it Alvarez got the nod.
"Perhaps it is my heart ruling my head because I want Alvarez to win, but I believe he can do it."
* Mayweather vs Alvarez is live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546) on Saturday 14th September. To subscribe visit www.boxnation.com