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Boxing: Floyd Mayweather’s old tricks can bring home the bacon against Saul Alvarez


All of the Floyd Mayweather and Saul Alvarez tickets sold in hours, raising nearly $20m (£16.8m). Then 25,000 seats at screenings in Las Vegas sold out.

Tickets for 9,000 cinema screens all over America are now sold out and more than one and a half million viewers have so far paid $79.99 to watch the fight on pay-per-view television.

The unbeaten pair will probably split about $80m (£67m) tonight when all the sums have been collected; Mayweather will receive about $60m (£50m) if all goes to plan at the box office.

The dollar signs have once again dominated a Mayweather fight and there has been little talk of the actual boxing as the show has rolled  towards financial records through a carnival of mad, bling-heavy encounters.

Mayweather is fighting the type of man he has regularly found a reason to avoid during a glittering career that has been brilliantly handled. However, he is a businessman and picked Alvarez, who is young, ambitious, clever, bigger and fearless, because his last fight, which was his first with ShowTime, was not a major success.

Alvarez, who is 13 years younger, increased the pressure on Mayweather for a fight with a very good win the last time he boxed. He was, therefore, the top contender and when Mayweather’s masterclass against Robert Guerrero fell short at the box office, all eyes switched from a gang of ringside hopefuls to the one man not there: Alvarez. Mayweather made Guerrero, who had lost just once and had been a champion at four different weights, look like a novice on the night.

“I don’t need him as much as he needs me,” said Alvarez. “I had other fights planned and I knew I would get to him eventually. It has just  happened sooner, but not too soon. I’m ready now.”

Making the fight happen was easy after Alvarez agreed to Mayweather’s proposal that the fighting weight drop from the light-middle limit of 154lbs to 152lbs. Alvarez was only 153lbs for his last fight, accepted easily and is allowed to gain as much weight as possible in the 30 hours between weigh-in and first bell.

Tonight’s fight will be decided by speed; if Mayweather’s speed has naturally diminished further during the last year the fight will be difficult and if Alvarez can work his feet a bit faster it will be close. However, Mayweather’s key to success has been his effortless ability to slowly adapt to each real challenge and make the transition look easy. Alvarez needs to be alert and forget any nonsense about Mayweather running for 12 rounds.

Alvarez can put enough pressure on to make Mayweather twist and squirm but at some point, in  between long breathers, the experience and memories stored from 15 years and 20 world-title fights will open a gap as the 36-year-old shows the Mexican a trick or two or three. I would be shocked if it is easy for Mayweather – less shocked if Alvarez won on points – but I know it will be a proper fight, with glory and blood in equal measure.

Incidentally, the WBC and WBA belts at light-middle, which have been made from gold for this fight, are also on offer to go with the small fortune.

Mayweather v Alvarez is live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky channel 437/Virgin ch 546) Watch at boxnation.com