Alvarez needs to dodge Mosley's power

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Saul Alvarez, 21, has the strength to hang with the more experienced Shane Mosley, but he'll have to avoid the veteran's power punches.

The co-main event for Saturday’s night Mayweather-Cotto fight features Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, the rising 21-year-old superstar from Mexico against 40-year-old Shane Mosley. The fight is for Alvarez’s WBC Junior Middleweight title, the same title Mosley won in 2003.

However, this Shane Mosley isn’t the 2003 version, despite going 12 rounds against the top-two ranked fighters in the world, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. In both fights, he was picked apart by faster fighters and landed 20 percent of his punches to 36 percent for his opponents.

In the Pacquiao fight, Mosley’s highest output of landed punches in a round was nine. Against Mayweather, Mosley’s second-round output was 18, when he had Mayweather in trouble. He landed six per round for the remainder of the fight.

In his bout against Alvarez, Mosley won’t be the younger, faster or more powerful fighter, but he has the experience to outbox the phenom. Mosley fought Sergio Mora to a questionable draw in September 2010, a fight many feel Mosley won easily (ESPN.com scored it 117-111 Mosley). In that fight, 63 percent of Mosley’s punches thrown were power punches, with 37 percent landing (124 of 331).

Saul Alvarez and Shane Mosley
Last 3 Fights

The key from the Mora fight that could help Mosley against "Canelo" is his aggressiveness. In 9 of the 12 rounds, Mosley threw more punches. It’s possible -- but highly unlikely -- that Mosley’s power can knock out Alvarez, but being the aggressor and outboxing the young Mexican fighter could get Mosley’s hand raised.

The task will be a difficult one against Alvarez. At just 21, Alvarez has 40 pro fights but has never fought on a stage of this magnitude. In addition to being the co-main event of a Mayweather card, the fight is on the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo.

His advantage over Mosley in this fight will be his power. In his last fight against Kermit Cintron, Alvarez landed 44 percent of his power punches, including 42 of 62 in the final two rounds. Over his last three fights, Alvarez threw 62 percent power punches and 38 percent jabs. What remains to be seen is if Alvarez, who has 29 career knockouts, can knock out Mosley, who has never been stopped in 54 pro fights.

In Alvarez’s last three fights, he has easily avoided power punches as well. Cintron, Alfonso Gomez and Ryan Rhodes landed 95 power punches combined over 23 rounds (four per round). Alvarez landed 322 over the three fights (14 per round).

Alvarez doesn’t have the speed of Mayweather or Pacquiao at 154 pounds, but at 40 years old, Mosley’s speed has significantly decreased. For Alvarez to get his biggest win to date, he’ll need to avoid whatever power Mosley has left and inflict some of his own to get career victory number 40.

The winner of this clash could meet the winner of Mayweather-Cotto in 2013. Of course, there’s always Manny Pacquiao.

Information from CompuBox was used in this post.