LAS VEGAS — Listen to Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s people and Canelo Alvarez wanted to fight their man so badly he offered to drop a few pounds to get him to sign on the dotted line.
Listen to the Alvarez camp and Mayweather wanted the fight at an even lower weight that Alvarez would have to starve himself to make.
‘‘The truth,’’ promoter Richard Schaefer says, ‘‘lies somewhere in the middle.’’
Weight is always a big deal in fights, and it is center stage again in one of the biggest fights in recent years. Saturday night’s megafight is officially for a version of the 154-pound title held by Alvarez, but will be fought at a catch weight of 152 pounds that will be harder for Alvarez to make than it is for Mayweather.
Alvarez is a full-fledged junior middleweight and has been for more than three years now. He’s physically bigger at 5 feet 9 inches than Mayweather and has had to lose good amounts of weight in the final days in some of his recent fights just to get to the 154-pound class limit.
But when the chance came to move in to the upper stratosphere of fighters against Mayweather, Alvarez had to give up a few pounds against a fighter more used to fighting at 147 pounds.
‘‘They wanted me to go to 147,’’ Alvarez said this week when he said he was already down to 154 pounds. ‘‘I said that was physically impossible. Then they wanted 150 and then 151. I wanted to make the fight so I agreed to 152. Then they forced me to be quiet about it.’’
Alvarez was 152 pounds at the official weigh-in Friday. Mayweather weighed 150½.
Getting an advantage is nothing new to Mayweather. He does it in the ring with his tremendous skills to adapt, and he does it outside the ring by playing with his opponent’s mind. For Mayweather, making Alvarez think constantly in training about making 152 pounds may have been more important than the actual weight.
‘‘There’s a thousand different ways I can beat a guy,’’ he said.
Oddsmakers in this gambling town believe Mayweather will find one of those ways when he takes on the undefeated Mexican star in what could be boxing’s richest fight ever. He’s a 2½-1 favorite against a bigger and presumably stronger fighter who will probably rehydrate to enter the ring 10 pounds heavier than Mayweather, though those are the shortest odds for a Mayweather fight in years.
The fight will be televised on pay-per-view at a suggested cost of $74.95.