Preview: Floyd Mayweather vs. Saul Alvarez

Sports Mole looks more closely at tonight's mega-money bout between Floyd Mayweather and Saul Alvarez in Las Vegas.

In little over 12 hours' time all eyes will descend on the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas for without doubt the biggest event in boxing this year, as Floyd Mayweather aims to maintain his status as undisputed king of the ring against Saul Alvarez.

Mayweather has built an aura of invincibility to match his mind-blowing bank balance, which comfortably makes him the world's highest-paid sportsman without a single endorsement.

'Money' will earn a guaranteed purse of £26.5m for the defence of his WBA light-middleweight title on Saturday night, but must be fully focused on perhaps his toughest for more than five years, against a hungry young lion in Alvarez.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. celebrates his unanimous decision victory against Robert Guerrero in their WBC welterweight title bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 4, 2013 © Getty Images

The Mexican affectionately known as 'Canelo' is no rookie despite his boyish looks, coming into a mammoth test with a 43-fight unbeaten record which began at the tender age of 15.

'Canelo' looked remarkably poised at yesterday's weigh-in, which was staggering in scale as around 12,000 people crammed into the MGM Grand to send the pre-fight hype into overload.

Alvarez will represent Mayweather's first true opponent at light-middleweight, with at least 18-20lbs added to his 152lbs-frame overnight.

Added bulk may give the Mexican starlet at least one legitimate advantage as he looks to meet the high expectations of a Latino contingent who have come to Nevada in their droves, but Mayweather has more than enough in his arsenal to negotiate that obstacle.

Unified Super Welterweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez holds a media workout on August 27, 2013© Getty Images

Aged 36, observers keep waiting for signs of decline from the pound-for-pound champ, but every time he finds a way to win.

Mayweather's game is an absolute dream for boxing purists, with speed of thought matched to precision in footwork, timing and spacial awareness. For Alvarez to overcome this considerable test and pull off a shock we need to see the charismatic youngster find another level.

It will be very interesting to see what tactics Team Canelo choose to adopt tonight, but expect a tense tactical battle from the outset. Alvarez is confident enough in his own ability to attempt a fight at range, but that would surely play into Mayweather's hands.

Oscar De La Hoya may believe that he has given his young protege the blueprint to solve Mayweather's intricate puzzle, but Alvarez may be best served in following some of the tactics which gave Miguel Cotto limited success last year.

Cotto backed Mayweather up consistently but was unable to make that aggression count with clean shots, something 43 other opponents have also found an almighty task.

Fight fans can quite rightly expect fireworks when boxing's biggest superstar takes on arguably its brightest young hope, with both men's unbeaten records on the line.

Prediction:

The smart money sees this clash of the titans going the full 12 rounds, but can Alvarez really push the pace and attempt to finally force Mayweather to show some signs of ageing at 36?

It will work in Mayweather's favour that he boxed earlier this year, in a comfortable victory over Robert Guerrero. 'Money' has readily admitted that he overtrained for the Cotto fight, but expect nothing but a meticulously prepared camp this time around.

Mayweather will definitely have to survive waves of pressure from the 'Cinnamon Kid', but has the nous to land punches in bunches and put rounds in the bank.

Alvarez has shown intelligence to match his aggression in recent fights, particularly against Austin Trout last time out, so that bodes well for a clash that starts as a slow-burner but builds as the fight progresses.

Mayweather should just about close out a unanimous decision win that leaves enough doubt in the minds of casual observers for a lucrative rematch early next year.

Unified Super Welterweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez holds a media workout on August 27, 2013
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