GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD/AP) - Grand Rapids was the third stop on the press tour promoting a mega title fight between Floyd Mayweather and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.
The two boxers were at Houseman Field Wednesday afternoon, promoting their upcoming battle at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Sept. 14. The promotional event was open to the public.
Grand Rapids Public Schools estimates between 3,000 and 3,500 people were at the event.
==Watch: 24 Hour News 8 Sports Director Jack Doles was there and talked one-on-one with Mayweather.==
Mayweather, 36, is unbeaten in 44 fights, the last a unanimous 12-round decision over Robert Guerrero on May 4 in defense of his 147-pound title.
Alvarez, a 22-year-old rising star, is 42-0-1 and unified the 154-pound titles with a unanimous victory over Austin Trout on April 20.
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.
The bout billed simply as "The One" is expected to be a monstrous draw on pay-per-view for Showtime. It also just might satisfy many fans who had been wishing during the last several years for Mayweather to take on Manny Pacquiao.
"In every sport, there are certain rare occasions when you have the best fighting the best," said Stephen Espinoza, executive vice president and general manager of Showtime Sports. "The Super Bowl, Final Four, the college football national championship. Sept. 14 will be one of those occasions -- the two biggest stars in the sport, the two biggest fan bases.
"We have America's No. 1 fighter versus Mexico's No. 1 fighter. We have the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the sport versus the No. 1 new star in the sport."
There remains some dispute over who set the 152-pound catch weight, with Mayweather's camp saying Alvarez's people brought it up first. Alvarez, however, insisted it was Mayweather who decided on having both fight at 152 pounds instead of 154.
There was also some contention between the two because Alvarez chose to headline his own fight card against Trout rather than be included on the undercard of Mayweather-Guerrero card. But both fighters agreed that this is a matchup that needed to happen.
The fighters each announced on Twitter last month that they would face each other, exciting boxing fans around the world. This tour marked the start of perhaps the sport's most ambitious promotional tour since Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya also stopped in 11 cities before their 2007 bout -- won by Mayweather.
The fight with Alvarez is the second in Mayweather's six-bout, 30-month contract with Showtime that could pay him more than $200 million. After Mayweather beat Guerrero, he said he wanted to fight again in September -- marking the first time since 2007 he will be in the ring twice in a calendar year.
Mayweather showed little rust while dominating Guerrero by using superior defensive skills in his first ring appearance since serving a jail term for assaulting the mother of his children.
Alvarez is a confident and rapidly rising fighter who should provide a huge test for Mayweather. Alvarez was solid against the previously unbeaten Trout, showing up some fans and media who speculated that perhaps he wasn't ready to face such an experienced opponent.
"To be the best," Alvarez said when asked before the June 24 New York press tour event, what his motivation is to fight Mayweather now. "(I want) to go down in history as the guy who beat the guy people consider the best."
"Canelo, I appreciate you for taking the fight," Mayweather said. "Now, let's give the fans what they want to see."
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