Nearly four months removed
from his most significant victory to date, rising Mexican star Saul “El Canelo”
Alvarez returns to the squared circle since defeating future surefire Hall-of-Famer
“Sugar” Shane Mosley. As it looks now, the 22-year-old Alvarez appears to be on
course to collide head-on with the pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr.
But before Alvarez, now 40-0-1 (29), can strike gold, there is an important
matter of business he must first attend to. Standing in Alvarez's way is
Mexican-American Josesito Lopez, who, like Alvarez, is recently coming off a
Alvarez and Lopez will do
battle in the main event of the “Knockout Kings” card taking place September 15
at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Showtime will televise the
12-round championship bout. This past June, Lopez, now 28, moved seven pounds
north of the junior welterweight division to face “Vicious” Victor Ortiz.
Lopez, a legitimate 140-pound fighter, was replacing then-suspended ex-welterweight
champion Andre Berto. In the contest, Lopez put forth a dazzling display of
elbow grease that made fight fans feel compelled to congratulate him on the
principle of temerity alone. Lopez's showing of courage paid dividends when
Ortiz deemed he could no longer continue after sustaining what had been
confirmed as a terribly fractured jaw. Now fighting 14 pounds above his natural weight, Lopez could
be regarded as being too small for Alvarez. The Mexican Independence Day
extravaganza starring Alvarez and Lopez, though worthy of attention, could
prove to be a mismatch. In the long run, could hinder Alvarez's growth as a
“No! Not at all,” disagreed
Alvarez, the WBC junior middleweight champion. “There is an advantage to
everything in life. Every fight that we make is progress and it’s one step
closer to realizing our dream of being the best in the world. Josesito [Lopez]
is there for a reason. He wants to win just like I do. I am preparing myself to
the best of my ability, so that there aren't any surprises on September 15. I
am really excited about the fight and I can't wait till fight time.”
After a series of opponents
were scratched and proposed fights fell through, this ended with Alvarez having
an invitation to the grand festival on the third Saturday in September without
a dance partner helping him partake in the art of war. Initially, Paul Williams
was scheduled for the slot. All of this changed when Williams was involved in a
horrific motorcycle accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. In came
James Kirkland, who was rehabbing his shoulder at the time and believed he
would be healthy by fight time, thus making him available to accept the fight.
However, a damaging dispute revolving around money caused an Alvarez-Kirkland
scrap to fizzle out. Miguel Cotto's name was thrown out there as a possible
opponent for Alvarez but this was no more than wishful thinking. Time-wise, it
didn't make any sense. Cotto had just fought in May, against Mayweather no
less, therefore that was just propaganda. What happened next was interesting.
The playmakers at Golden Boy Promotions sat down and put their thinking caps on
as they attempted to tackle this complex equation. It was a no-brainer; they all
agreed that Ortiz was the best viable foe to challenge for Alvarez's title. But
before that could be done, Ortiz had to get by Lopez first before he could punch
his ticket to join the fiesta on September 15.
Although Ortiz may have been
ahead on all three of the judges' scorecards the night of June 23, extenuating
circumstances (a broken mandibular bone) forced him to surrender at the end of
the ninth round of their fight. Lopez would stand alone, earning the right to
roll with the “Big Dawgs.” As for Alvarez, it left him preparing for four
different challengers who fail to resemble each other in any way, shape or
form. 90% of the time, these scenarios end in postponement.
“I wasn't worried,” recalled
Alvarez. “Thank God there was more than enough time to look for an opponent to
face on September 15. At no point was I ever worried about not fighting or
losing the date. All the credit in the world to Josesito. He earned the
privilege to fight and I am looking forward to the challenge.”
Inquiring minds want to
know; did the changes alter Alvarez's training?
“The changes haven't altered
nor affected anything whatsoever,” said Alvarez, who has defended his strap
four times. “As I've mentioned before, there was a lot time to train. There was
sufficient time to spar with a lot of different opponents. There was time to
change our sparring around if we needed to for whoever it was that we were
going to face.”
Alvarez channeled pinpoint
determination that was easily captured, even over the telephone. To some degree,
Alvarez, is a lot like New York Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter. Alvarez is
cordial to his rival and is politically correct in ways that only someone like
Jeter, known for habitually saying the right thing at the right time, knows how
to employ. It’s truly a testament to Alvarez's maturity but besides being wise
beyond his years, you also get the impression that Alvarez believes his fists
will do the talking on fight night. The results will only prove one thing: his
mission was to defeat Lopez. However, there two potential distracters on the
horizon that could easily weigh heavy on the mind of anyone, particularly a
young guy in the limelight like Alvarez.
Fully knowing the physical
and emotional involvement when fighting, Alvarez's promoter, Oscar De la Hoya,
much to the surprise of everyone else, revealed he will be awarding a $100,000
bonus to any fighter (on the card) that can score the best knockout of the
evening. So on top of thinking about a win, De la Hoya just gave his fighter
something else to ponder albeit its foolishness. Alvarez could very well find
himself in an “Amir Khan situation” and Lopez is just the kind of fighter
capable of scoring a huge upset. And there you go; the Mayweather fight is out
the window faster than you can snap your fingers.
“That will not serve as a
distraction to either me or my team,” said Alvarez regarding the monetary
incentive. “I am not thinking about that because when you do go out looking for
a knockout, it backfires. I am just going to fight my fight. If the knockout
comes, it comes. If it doesn't, well, that's okay too. What's important is to
get the victory.”
It’s no surprise that a
fighter with the competitive spirit of Alvarez has expressed that he wants to
be the best fighter in the world. And straight out of Alvarez's mouth, he has
stated that at any given moment, he is ready to face any of the elite fighters
in the game today. At the same time, while Alvarez and Lopez engage in fistic
fury, two of the best middleweights in the world will be duking it out for
supremacy at 160 pounds. That's right, folks; just five minutes away at the
Thomas and Mack Center, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez look to
unleash guerrilla warfare on each other. As potential adversaries in the near
future, you would be inclined to think that Alvarez wants to outdo his rivals
by getting a leg up on the competition. If nothing else, it could serve as bargaining
chip when negotiating a deal for a fight against either charge. Is Alvarez
feeling stressed about performing better than the candidates on his hit list?
“That fight means nothing to
me,” Alvarez would tell Maxboxing. “I have my own responsibilities and
obligations to attend to the night of September 15. I am committed to fighting
Josesito the same way Martinez and Chavez Jr. are committed to fighting each
other. That said, it isn't a distraction.”
To reiterate, Alvarez is just 22. Barring injury and a
commitment to his craft and discipline, the marquee match-ups are always going
to be accessible for him to pick. However, the same can't be said for some of
the guys on Alvarez's radar. With the exception of Chavez Jr., now 26, how long
is a guy like a Mayweather or a Martinez going to hang around? Both are pushing
40. Now Cotto is a little younger but he is still in his mid 30's. How soon in
the foreseeable future does Alvarez see these big match-ups materializing?
“I don't like to talk about
the future,” he insisted. “I am solely focusing on my fight right now. As I've
mentioned before, I have an obligation to Josesito Lopez but I am always ready
to fight the best in the world such as the Mayweathers and Cottos.”
Mayweather-Alvarez? Truly a
mega-fight that would garner a lot of attention. It’s the quintessential “passing
of the torch” type of scrap, in which the heir to the throne becomes appointed.
And just imagine how magnified the event would be if both Mayweather Jr. and
Alvarez locked horns on Cinco de Mayo (May 5).
“As far as I am concerned,
we can do the fight now,” Alvarez said regarding a clash with Mayweather Jr.
“We are ready for him tonight. We flew to Los Angeles [GBP headquarters] to
sign for the fight. But you know, Mayweather said one thing and we said
another. But for now, Mayweather gets preference because he is the best fighter
pound-for-pound. But rest assured that when the fight happens, I will be the
happiest person in the world.”
There are some skeptics who
would view a bout with Mayweather Jr. as being non-competitive, due to Alvarez
being matched so carefully throughout the course of his career, while at the
same time looking for an ideal weight class to fight in. Both Mayweather, Jr.
and Cotto are at 154, Martinez and Chavez Jr. are at 160. Is a move up to
middleweight, a part of the plan, in attempt to launch a preemptive strike
against his counterparts looking to rain on his Mexican Independence Day
“I am very comfortable
fighting at 154,” said Alvarez, who has fought as low as a 139 pounds. “I feel
very strong; this is my ideal weight. For those that have followed my career
would agree that I am progressing rather well. I have learned so much in just a
short amount of time. I feel that have to learn to box just a little bit more but
overall, there isn't anything that I would change.”
“Knockout Kings” featuring Alvarez
vs. Lopez begins at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Showtime will air a documentary that goes
beyond the ring and into the lives of Alvarez and the unlikely, upstart
challenger Lopez, in anticipation of the fight, beginning Wednesday, September
5th at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Jay Gon's Tidbits
- Alvarez told Maxboxing that
he has not been in contact with Paul Williams. However, Williams will be his
guest and will watch from ringside the night of the 15th.
- Alvarez's favorite sport besides boxing is
auto racing. Alvarez cited NASCAR and Formula One as his favorites.
- Alvarez is learning how to speak English. He
admitted to taking classes but is in the process of looking for a tutor who
will come to his house as well as travel the road with him. Alvarez informed us
that when he is not in class, he is utilizing his Rosetta Stone program.
Alvarez's English is truly a work in progress.
- Alvarez acknowledged that he is handling his
success and all of the perks that come with fame well, specifically the ladies.
“It is all under control,” he said. “Thank God , we have all been coming along
just fine. Fame has been treating us fine and well.”
- Alvarez told us that currently, he doesn't
own any pets. Alvarez admits that a pet is a life and you have to attend to it.
With his hectic schedule, he does not have the time to care for pets. However,
Alvarez is a big animal guy and revealed to us that in the near future, he
plans to get a dog. How cool would it be to see Alvarez with a St. Bernard?
Also, if more people had his attitude, there wouldn't be as many neglected and
abandoned pets as there are in the world.
- Alvarez loves banda music. Per Wikipedia, bandas
play a wide variety of songs, including rancheras, corridos, cumbias, baladas
and boleros. Bandas are most widely known for their rancheras but they also
play modern Mexican pop, rock and cumbias. Most banda music is very clearly a
dialect of polka music. Alvarez also loves singer and guitarist John Sebastian
and vocalist Vicente Fernandez.
- Alvarez has a very distinct look. You don't
see many Mexicans with red hair, white skin and freckles. When asked if he has
Spanish [from Spain] or Irish ancestry in his blood, he says, “I have no clue. A
lot of people ask me that question. I mean, anything is possible. It could be
but I would have to ask my parents. I have yet to ask them.”
- Alvarez is elated to be fighting on Mexican
Independence Day. “It is with great pride and honor that I will represent my
country. I am just so thrilled to be fighting on September 15th. It
is an honor that many have yet to achieve. I promise to do the best that I can
to win. We will win. This one is for Mexico!”
- Last but not least, Alvarez's draw came
against Jorge Juarez in his fifth professional fight (a four-rounder) six years
THIS ARTICLE PROVIDED TO DOGHOUSE BOXING FROM MAXBOXING.COM.