Former Oscar De La Hoya boxing trainer Robert Alcazar: "Canelo has only a 20% chance to win"
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Former Oscar De La Hoya boxing trainer Robert Alcazar: "Canelo has only a 20% chance to win"
By Gabriel Montoya, MaxBoxing (Sept 13, 2013)

Mayweather and Alvarez
(Money vs. Canelo)
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The publicity train for “The One: Mayweather vs. Canelo” cannot be stopped. The fighters have arrived at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and the talking heads have had their say at the final press conference podium. Now all that’s left are pre-fight predictions and the all-male anorexic beauty pageant that is Friday’s gala weigh-in where we’ll all get the first answer of a two-part question:

  1. Will Saul Alvarez make the 152 pound agreed upon catch weight (for those keeping score that’s two pounds under the 154 pound junior middleweight limit)?

The fight will give us the answer to part two:

  1. What will Alvarez have left on fight night after re-hydrating and recovering from the Fight Starvation Week?

We here at Maxboxing are still developing our “Canelo Weight Watch” technology so for now, I offer an assessment of the fight with Robert Alcazar, the former trainer of Oscar De La Hoya who has seen the fighting mountaintop as well as the development of one of boxing’s true superstars. Alcazar joined myself and David Duenez on and broke down the fight even your barber’s mom is talking about, according to the promoters of this here event.

They’ve been trying to find another Oscar De La Hoya for twenty years now and they have not found one yet,” said Alcazar who might be off on his assessment of the time. It only feels like twenty years since Golden Boy namesake Oscar De La Hoya first opened the doors of Golden Boy (with HBO’s exclusive output deal help) and CEO Richard Schaefer first opened his mouth in front of a boxing audience. It’s more like eleven years.

  “The search for a new Oscar De La Hoya” is a marketing tool of a promoter who owns “The Bible of Boxing” Ring magazine (and the accompanying website), its “coveted” rankings, and the pleasure of Showtime’s head of Sports Programming Stephen Espinoza (Golden Boy’s former head legal counsel), and arguably the most powerful man in boxing, Al Haymon. That’s all it is. The phrase is as meaningful and real as a “Pound for Pound” list.  

That’s basically exactly what [Oscar has] said with every fighter that he’s signed,” said Alcazar of Golden Boy’s “Next Oscar” claim. “[Vicente Escobedo] is a good example. I remember when they signed him at first, what did they say? They threw all this publicity: ’Oh this is the next Oscar De La Hoya.’ What happened?”  

Bad matchmaking led to Escobedo losing his ninth fight against Daniel Jimenez by split decision because he was matched too hard too soon by the young and learning Golden Boy matchmakers. Alcazar feels that Golden Boy doesn’t not have the experienced matchmakers to build someone on the level of De La Hoya from the ground up.

  “That company, Golden Boy , they don’t have somebody to teach those fighters how to fight like De La Hoya that is why they get beat fast big time,” said Alcazar. “Look at this kid from East L.A , Frankie Gomez when they signed him at first. They used the same plan. ’Oh this is going to be the next great Oscar De la Hoya.’ Where’s the kid at? They don’t have somebody to teach. If they really want to build the next Oscar De La Hoya, they don’t have the personnel to do it.”  

One aspect of fighter quality control that he feels is lacking is a centralized gym the way Top Rank and other promoters have.  

The company doesn’t even have its own gym,” said Alcazar. “The fighters from that company are training somewhere else. They don’t have a gym for Golden Boy fighters to go to work to go to train.”

  The truth is, a perfect storm like Oscar De La Hoya doesn’t happen on purpose. Good looking kid from East L.A. makes a deathbed promise to his cancer-stricken mother to win the gold medal and then actually wins it in exciting fashion. Oscar had our hearts long before he ever took a dime of our money or told us he’d clean up boxing. You can’t just make that up. But it’s not for lack of trying (in the media) by Golden Boy.  

Alvarez, the latest creation, like those before him, has talent. The thing that puts him over the top, though, is his red hair. Let’s all be honest. The kid can box but he’s no super talent. He doesn’t punch super hard. He isn’t super fast. He appears patient and calm under fire. And he does adjust. But he’s slow of foot and so so of hand. But that red hair and quiet demeanor along with a record of 42-0-1 with 30 knockouts has been very easy to promote even as the opponents have been mostly blown up welterweights like Kermit Cintron (TKO5) and Alfonso Gomez (TKO6) or of the “from the grave” file like Carlos Baldomir (KO6). Alvarez won his WBC 154 title in a 150 pound catch weight fight vs. the UK’s Mathew Hatton (UD12). None of that should have prepared Canelo for the best fighter in the world.  

To hear Alcazar tell it, this fight has simply been rushed.

  “Canelo, the kid got a huge potential but unfortunately he’s not ready yet,” said Alcazar. “They’ve done a great job of giving him the whole publicity they’ve given him so far. But that publicity has him way ahead of his boxing ability. He is not leveled yet. They spent more time giving this kid publicity when they should have worried about teaching him how to fight better. The kid has a great potential but he needs more time. And my knowledge, he don’t belong at that level yet. But only time is going to tell.”

  Alcazar blames the lack of professional resistance needed to prepare for a champion on Mayweather’s level. Varied looks at styles of all kinds, including punchers which Canelo has not faced, is needed. Even with 43 fights, Canelo is 23 years old with little amateur experience.

  “Like I say, They are not ready at this level. They don’t belong at this level yet. They need a lot of work. They have done a great, great job by protecting this kid by picking his opponents with extra … they’ve been too careful with opponents they have selected in the past. And that is a huge mistake but they build him up to the level that they will make probably the best payday in boxing history but like I say, this Canelo guy is not for reals yet. He has great potential like I say but to my knowledge, he is not ready yet.”  

Alcazar also is not ready to crown the trainers of Alvarez, who he seems to think the media has already hailed as geniuses in their development of the young fighter. That’s just today’s media. Always looking to heap praise where an access steak might be awaiting.

  “I would say to the people of the press and the ’boxing experts’ [regarding Canelo’s trainers] only time will tell if what the coaches Canelo has are doing good or doing wrong. But it’s not fair to rate them yet because they haven’t done nothing yet,” he said.  

So final prediction from Alcazar? C’mon. This is “The One.” The guy who wins this fight is literally able to call himself (in boxing circles) “The One.” It’s got to be a competitive fight, right?  

“It’s basically no match because whether we like it or not Floyd Mayweather is the best fighter right now at this time on the planet,” said Alcazar. “And like I say, to me, Canelo has only a 20% chance to win. Because Canelo is still too robotic. He has position to throw the right hand and the left hook. And when he tries to do that, Floyd is not going to be there. So the only chance Canelo has is to catch Floyd with a solid punch. But how many fighters have been before have been able to do that to Floyd? It’s not impossible but almost.”  

Some have said Canelo will knock out Floyd, overwhelm him with youth, size and strength. But he’s a counter puncher by nature he doesn’t stalk and break you down. And one that needs you in position, not moving, to do it. Sure, against Austin Trout, Alvarez was able to score a knock down on a capable boxer. However, Canelo seemed to gas in that fight midway through and threw punches in few and far between bunches. None of that seems to be a recipe for winning against Mayweather.  

Canelo is too robotic. Too predictable,” reiterated Alcazar. “He don’t know how to use his distance. He don’t got no jab. He don’t know how to bounce. He’s too green for Floyd right now at this time. Like I said, it will be, not impossible but almost, For Canelo to catch Floyd clean with a solid punch is going to be very tough. And he needs to do that to have any chance. If he boxes the way he did with Trout, who is going to fight? And Floyd is going to beat this guy easy on points.”  

When asked about his thoughts on the catch weight of 152 pounds, Alcazar responded in the negative, pointing out the inexperience of the Alvarez camp in allowing a star draw champion to give two pounds of ground.  

It’s terrible. That tells you, you know, the people he’s got around. Right there you want to start qualifying the coach, the conditioning coaches, assistants or whoever? Whoever is around him is a terrible, terrible job at this level. How can he do that? That means he has to lose five pounds a week? How can professional people around a fighter of this magnitude allow this to happen. There’s no way. Look at Floyd he is under weight already. That is a sign of professionalism at this stage. Floyd exactly knows what to. He is a professional 100%.”

  To Canelo’s credit, Floyd is on weight because he is a welterweight (147) not because he is better at making 152 than Alvarez.  

So why did Golden Boy risk a fighter of Canelo’s potential against Mayweather? Alcazar has a guess.  

“Who knows? Only they know. In my opinion, they’ve been building this kid with publicity not as a good fighter and all they are doing is a payday,” said Alcazar who predicted “I think this fight is going to be the richest fight in boxing history. They’re going to sell more PPVS on this fight than in boxing history.”

  One scary part of Alcazar’s prediction is the excitement level. Or lack of them. When compared to De La Hoya vs. Trinidad, which was billed as “The Fight of the Millennium” but as one scribe wrote, wasn’t even fight of the week, Alcazar said “This is very different. This fight, we are going to have the chance to see . . . its not going to be not even half the excitement of what we did in De La Hoya [vs. Trinidad]. Canelo doesn’t have the [nature] to fight. He only tries to defend himself. He only tries to do counter punching. That’s the problem he’s got. He doesn’t fight.”  

Half as exciting as De La Hoya-Trinidad? Yikes.

  Duenez brought up how some have compared this fight to Julio Cesar Chavez vs. Meldrick Taylor 1, which is ridiculous to its core.  

“This fight is not going to show even half the excitement of the fights that you mentioned to me,” said Alcazar. “Why? Because Canelo doesn’t fight. He’s not ready. He doesn’t know how. And the example of how to fight Floyd is right there. Look at the way Cotto fought Floyd. Look at the way Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr fought Sergio Martinez in the last round. If Canelo fights like that, he has a chance.”

  Essentially, according to Alcazar, if Alvarez wants a shot at all to beat Mayweather, he has to pressure him, double jab his way in aggressively and work combinations up from the body to the head. Basically, fight from opening bell to close. But that’s not Canelo’s game or his nature so . . .  

“Exactly,” said Alcazar, “If Canelo wants to have a chance, from the opening bell, he needs to go out and try to knock this guy out. He has to go fight. Otherwise there’s no chance.”  

To hear the rest of the interview follow the jump. It starts at about 45 minutes in:

You can email Gabriel at, follow him on Twitter at and catch him every Monday on “The Next Round” with Steve Kim, now at its new home, You can also tune in to hear him and co-host David Duenez live on the BlogTalk radio show, Thursdays at 5-8 p.m., PST.
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