NEW YORK — Floyd Mayweather and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez stared each other down for nearly a minute and the cheers from the fans packed into Times Square grew louder by the second.
This is the matchup they’ve been waiting to see: Four belts, two undefeated fan favorites — and a title fight simply billed as “The One.”
“Canelo, I appreciate you for taking the fight,” Mayweather said on a steamy Monday in the heart of Manhattan in front of a few thousand fans standing behind metal barriers or sitting in temporary bleachers with Broadway marquees serving as a colorful backdrop.
“Now,” Mayweather said, “let’s give the fans what they want to see.”
The fighters kicked off an 11-city tour to officially announce and promote their title fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Sept. 14. The promotional tour includes stops in cities such as Washington D.C., Chicago, Miami and Mexico City, and is jumpstarting the hype ahead of one of boxing’s most anticipated bouts in recent memory.
Mayweather, 36, is unbeaten in 44 fights with the last a unanimous 12-round decision over Robert Guerrero on May 4 in defense of his 147-pound title.
“The Earth is my turf,” Mayweather said. “You can put me in any ring and I will always come out victorious.”
Alvarez, a 22-year-old star from Mexico, is 42-0-1 and unified the 154-pound titles in April with a unanimous victory over Austin Trout on April 20.
“In the sport of boxing, it’s everybody’s time, and this is my time,” Alvarez said through a translator as fans chanted “Mex-i-co!”
“I’m going to win.”
The 12-round fight will be contested at 152 pounds with both men’s super welterweight/junior middleweight titles on the line — Mayweather’s WBA super welterweight “super” championship, and Alvarez’s WBC, WBA and Ring Magazine super welterweight championships.