As an iconic member of sports journalism with the responsibility to report on sport with honor, integrity and correct punctuation, with no rooting interest in any outcome, I write:I hope Canelo Alvarez whips Floyd Mayweather on Saturday in Las Vegas.Few pro athletes have manipulated the media any better than Floyd in the past 20 years, and few guys have willingly played the role of villain as well. The man completely suckers me in. As a fan, I want to see this dude get it.“People watch because they want to see Mayweather lose,” Fort Worth’s own champion, Paulie Ayala, told me this week. “He’s a great fighter.”Amen, brother.Mayweather tricked me into caring, and spending my money on him, all with the hopes of seeing him lose. He got me.No sport punches itself in the face any more frequently, or harder, than boxing and consistently underwhelms the general public with fights only the purists love, but Saturday we have something we can all actually watch.They are calling Saturday’s fight in Las Vegas between Canelo Alvarez and Floyd Mayweather The One. The better title is: It’s About Bleeping Time.Floyd Mayweather may have been pushed by Showtime to agree to a fight that his own history says he does not want, but whatever the reason, it’s good to see the man I call Fraud finally fight a hungry challenger with the ability to push him.And I want to see this giant mouth get it.What Floyd has done better than any fighter of any generation is play the media, and make cash. Can’t hate on a man for that; it’s professional boxing, which means it’s about generating revenue.He is the Deion Sanders of the Ring, without the self-important pretense of caring about anybody other than himself.What irks me no end is the confusion that somehow, because of the money he has made, this makes him one of the best fighters of all time.“As far as this generation, clearly he is the best. He’s undefeated,” veteran fight broadcaster Al Bernstein told me this week. “People may quibble with some of his opponent choices, and rightfully so.“He is not the greatest fighter of all time. There are a number of fighters he does not compare to [Tommy] Hearns, [Sugar] Ray Robinson. Mayweather is a brilliant fighter, and probably the best defensive fighter since Pernell Whitaker.”Here is the rub: Unlike the great fighters of previous generations, such as Hearns, Marvin Hagler, Roy Jones Jr., Sugar Ray Robinson, etc., they all had other great fighters to measure themselves against, and who pushed them.No one has pushed Mayweather because the talent pool in boxing is not what it once was. This is not some boxing-is-dead rant because that is easy, alarmist, reactionary rhetoric. I don’t believe it, either.“This is not 1985,” Bernstein said. “With the exception of the NFL, they’re all niche sports.”In terms of Mayweather’s legacy, what this reality means is that, while he may be the best fighter of his era, this era does not compare favorably to the previous eras of boxing. The talent pool has changed dramatically. He is too good for his era.Boxing no longer draws the top-tier guys, and Mayweather likely could have been a top fighter of any generation. His era, comparatively speaking, does not compare.“He’s beaten everybody that they placed in front of him,” Ayala told me. “He is the best in his era. He can make that statement. He has done everything that boxing has asked of him. He has made it look easy.”Maybe Canelo can do this and punch Mayweather in a way we have never seen before. To make this a fight we will remember, Canelo is going to have to get in there and be willing to be hit. And fight each round — not portions of each round.“It depends on how much he will throw caution to the wind,” Ayala said. “If you want to hit Floyd, you are going to get hit. You might as well take that chance.”Vegas has Floyd with a 75 percent chance of winning this fight, which seems generous to the opponent.My preference is to see Canelo win this, and we’ll see a rematch next year when Mayweather is angry and out to secure his legacy as a fighter.Whatever the outcome, he has successfully suckered me into watching, caring and paying … which is his real legacy.
Mac Engel, 817-390-7697 Twitter: @macengelprof