LAS VEGAS — SI.com boxing insiders Chris Mannix and Rich O’Brien make their predictions for Danny Garcia-Lucas Matthysse and Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez
Chris Mannix: Part of me — a big part — wants to pick Garcia. He has been consistently underestimated, expected to lose to Kendall Holt, Erik Morales and Amir Khan, and won each time. And I do think we are getting a little too swept up in Matthysse’s run of knockouts, as most have come against light competition. But for me, it boils down to this: Matthysse is the real thing and I’m still not sure Garcia is. Matthysse has a granite chin and he is facing an opponent in Garcia who won’t be hard to find. It will be a slobberknocker (That’s for you, Jim Ross), one I don’t see Garcia winning. Take Matthysse by sixth round knockout.
Rich O’Brien: First of all, let’s hope Mayweather and Canelo are watching on the monitors in their dressing rooms, because, as undercard bouts go, this one is going to be inspiring — and a tough act to follow. Matthysse’s reputation as a devastating puncher has taken on mythic proportions, but his power is very real and he is certain to bring the fight to Garcia early. He could well hurt Danny and even end it early. But I think Garcia is tough enough to absorb even Matthysse’s bombs and the skill set and ring smarts to control the action and pile up points. And he can do some damage himself. I think he pulls away in the later rounds to win a unanimous decision in a real war.
Mannix: I’ve been pretty consistent about this: Alvarez isn’t ready. He may be the future of boxing, may one day live up to the substantial hype that envelopes him. But he’s not there yet. Alvarez is powerful but plodding, a good body puncher who lacks a consistent round. His biggest win to date was his last, over Austin Trout, and to say a win over Trout prepared Canelo for Mayweather is like saying a win over Sam Houston State prepared Texas A&M to play Alabama. Mayweather will figure him out inside of two rounds and waltz his way to a comfortable decision win.
O’Brien: After watching a few of Alvarez’s bouts on YouTube last week, I texted my esteemed colleague Chris, saying, “Am I crazy or is there a chance Canelo knocks Floyd out?”
Of course, Chris texted back, “You’re crazy.”
And he’s right. That’s not going to happen. But the point is that it’s the big intrigue of this fight: What happens if Alvarez lands the kind of punch he’s capable of? Might this be the time we see Mayweather truly hurt and having to fight through adversity? Nah. But it should still be an entertaining bout-and not the easiest of night’s for Floyd. Canelo’s young, well-schooled, has real speed and major league power. He punches in combination and with good balance. But he’s in against the best all-around fighter of the past two decades. Mayweather should be able to avoid Alvarez’s attack, tie him up when he does get in and pot-shot him all along the way. I think he’ll frustrate and bust up Alvarez and eventually wear him down. Mayweather by clear UD.