Boxing: Mayweather, Alvarez begin hype for showdown

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Undefeated fighters Floyd Mayweather and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, set for a Sept 14 showdown at Las Vegas, are hyping the world title bout with a tour that launched in New York and Washington.

Mexico's Alvarez, whose nickname is spanish for "Cinnamon", will defend his World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association super welterweight titles against Mayweather in a pay-per-view show on Mexican Independence Day weekend.

Mayweather, 44-0 with 26 knockouts, has relied upon Mexican fight fans, many cheering for his rivals, to help make him the world's highest-paid athlete, with Sports Illustrated estimating he will make US$90 million (S$114.3 million) this year.

Mayweather, who was jailed last June on domestic violence charges, will make the bout the second in a six-fight deal with telecaster Showtime that could bring him record profits by the conclusion of the deal.

Alvarez, 42-0 with one drawn and 30 knockouts, suffered the only blemish on his record in 2006 with a draw in his fifth professional bout and hopes to end Mayweather's magical run.

"In boxing everybody has their time and this is my time," Alvarez said. "Everybody knows that Floyd is the best without question, but it's my time. We're going to win.

"I'm younger and bigger, which are very important keys. Floyd is a very intelligent fighter, but I'm going to have the right game plan. This is my biggest fight but I've visualised it and prepared my mind for it for a while."

Alvarez turns 23 next month while Mayweather, 36, fought his first pro fight when the Mexican was only six years old.

"It has truly been an amazing ride," Mayweather said. "I'm blessed to be in the sport of boxing and be at the top for 17 years. I just want to give the fans a hell of a fight.

"Canelo is a young strong champion. He has obviously done something right to be at this level. He's a guy that I can't overlook. I've got to go out there and fight the best fight." Mayweather also warned that Alvarez has not faced anyone as hard to stop.

"When guys face me, it's a totally different level," Mayweather said. "I know what it takes in a fight of this magnitude and I'm going to continue to dedicate myself to my craft and be the best that I can be.

"The Earth is my turf. You can put me in any ring and I'll always come out victorious."