Mayweather--a world champion at 130, 135, 140, 147 and 154 pounds--reestablished his dominance last May with a lopsided unanimous decision win over Robert Guerrero. After a year off, which included a two-month prison sentence that was part of a plea deal stemming from a domestic violence charge against an ex-girlfriend, Mayweather looked sharp, pot-shotting Guerrero around the ring while showcasing his trademark elusiveness.
But at 36, Mayweather is at a point where other great champions have experienced sudden, unforeseen declines. Consider that Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes were almost the exact same age as Mayweather when they suffered historic upset losses (to Ezzard Charles, Leon Spinks and Michael Spinks, respectively) that spurred their downfalls.
With his boyish good looks and hard hitting style, Alvarez quickly emerged as arguably the biggest star in Mexico, with a growing number of fans in the southwestern United States. Though lacking amateur experience--he turned pro at 15--Alvarez is fundamentally solid with a powerful body attack. Since signing with Golden Boy Promotions in 2010, Alvarez has been brought along slowly, facing a steady diet of journeymen (Alfonso Gomez, Matthew Hatton, Jose Cotto) and faded former champions (Shane Mosley, Kermit Cintron, Carlos Baldomir). Recently, Alvarez has taken more control of his career. The decision to face Trout, who was coming off a win over Miguel Cotto, was one Alvarez made against the wishes of his promoter.
Still, there are lingering questions whether a win over Trout--a skilled but slow fighter who wins with a consistent jab--has prepared him to face a fighter of Mayweather’s caliber.