While sizing up former welterweight titleholder Carlos Baldomir as an opponent for then 20-year-old Canelo Alvarez in September of 2010, Golden Boy Promotions matchmaker Eric Gomez considered it to be “a risky fight.”
Baldomir had gone the distance in losses to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Vernon Forrest, defeated titlewinners Joshua Clottey and Zab Judah by 11th-round disqualification and decision, respectively, and knocked out Arturo Gatti in the ninth round.
Baldomir had been stopped only once prior to facing Alvarez, and that was in the second round by Paulo Alejandro Sanchez in the seventh fight of his career, in May 1994.
“I feel that we have a great team of matchmakers when it comes to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez,” said Gomez, who discussed Baldomir with Golden Boy President Oscar De La Hoya and veteran matchmaker Don Chargin.
“We’re always being very careful…When we did that fight with Baldomir, we all knew that it was a risky fight. Because if there is one thing that he has is that he has a chin, and he keeps coming, and you have to be in great shape to fight Baldomir.”
But Alvarez out-boxed the rugged Baldomir before knocking him senseless with a short, powerful, chin-twisting left. Baldomir pitched forward face-first, sat up and rolled to his right, failing to beat the 10-count in a stunning sixth-round knockout by Alvarez.
The triumph over Baldomir is among the reasons that Mayweather (44-0, 26 knockouts), the 36-year-old RING No. 1-rated pound-for-pound fighter, believes that fans are bound to tune in for his Sept. 14 clash with Alvarez (42-0-1, 30 KOs), a 23-year-old RING and WBC junior middleweight champion.
“I think that it’s because he knocked Carlos Baldomir out, and I went the distance with Baldomir, ” said Mayweather of Alvarez, whom he will face at The MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Showtime Pay Per View.
“He’s young. I’ve seen guys 22-0 and against guys 25-0, and I’ve seen guys 30-0 against guys 26-0. But you’ve never seen a guy 44-0 versus a guy 42-0.”
Since defeating Baldomir, Alvarez has won eight fights, including a fifth-round knockouts of former titleholder Kermit Cintron and Josesito Lopez, as well as unanimous decisions over former beltholder Shane Mosley and previously unbeaten Austin Trout, the latter in his last bout in April.
“Like I said before, in Mexico he’s a young rock star and everybody that they put in front of him he was able to go out there and do his job. He done it in a tremendous fashion,” said Mayweather.
“He’s a good, strong, solid boxer and I mean, it’s a very intriguing matchup. Me not even being a boxing fan, I would want to see two undefeated fighters at the top competition against one another.”
“In boxing, anything can happen, and in boxing, any punch can land and knock you out. So, my feeling is that a fighter like Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez has what it takes to land that perfect punch. I know why the fight has caught on so big, is that people have hope,” said De La Hoya, who lost by split decision to Mayweather in 2007.
“People strongly feel that Mayweather’s going to get beat. That’s why I feel that this fight is catching fire. You have a young guy in Saul who is like a seasoned veteran. He knows what he’s doing. He’s a fighter that has a game plan, and he’s a guy that is in the best shape of his life.”
While Mosley believes that Alvarez has “the ability to be able to touch Floyd as well,” he said, “I can’t see Floyd getting knocked out.”
“For Floyd to be knocked out, I would be very, very surprised,” said Mosley, who staggered Mayweather with a right hand in the second round of his unanimous decision loss in May of 2010.
“This is a fight where I actually want to see what happens. If I was a betting man, I would bet and think that Mayweather was going to win, but I just really can’t say that with confidence.”
But Mayweather was more crafty and elusive during a unanimous decision over Robert Guerrero this past May for the RING’s 147-pound championship in defense of his WBC belt.
Can Alvarez take anything from Mayweather’s fight with Cotto?
“The only thing Canelo can learn from the Cotto fight is how to lose. If that’s what he wants to learn how to do, if he wants to learn how to take a loss, if he wants to learn how to lose. That’s my answer,” said Mayweather.
“If he wants to learn how to lose, then he can look at the Miguel Cotto fight…I wasn’t impressed with my fight against Robert. It’s probably because I took over a year off, but I think I’ll be a lot sharper this fight, because I got right back into the groove of things.”
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Esther Lin, Showtime
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org