Floyd Mayweather Jr. embraced the estimated that 32,000 fans partisan to Mexican star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, at Sunday’s press conference at Mexico City’s Monumento de los Ni├▒os Heroes, the seventh stop of an 11-city tour promoting their Sept. 14 Showtime Pay Per View-televised clash at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
But Mayweather also vowed that the country’s young champion would be the 45th man to suffer defeat at his hands.
“It’s great to be in Mexico. The turnout here and all throughout this tour has been amazing,” said Mayweather, who will try to dethrone Alvarez as THE RING and WBC junior middleweight champion. “Canelo has a lot of fans here in Mexico. We expected that, but I don’t fight for one country. I fight for the whole world.”
Coming off last month’s unanimous decision over Robert Guerrero in defense of his WBC welterweight belt, Mayweather (44-0, 26 knockouts), also THE RING’s No. 1 fighter pound-for-pound, as well as its 147-pound champion, will put the WBA 154-pound belt he won by unanimous decision over Miguel Cotto last May on the line against the determined Alvarez.
“There are a lot of people who don’t think I’m going to win, but on Sept. 14, you’ll see that I will win,” said
Alvarez, who is 22. “I’ve always wanted to be the best in the sport and I’m on my way. I couldn’t let this opportunity go by and I will take advantage of it on Sept. 14.”
Sunday’s festivities took place at a monument which honors the Ni├▒os Heroes – young cadets who died defending Mexico City’s Chapultepec Castle on Sept. 13, 1847 during the Mexican-American War. The Ni├▒os H├®roes are commemorated by a national holiday on Sept. 13, just one day before the Mayweather-Alvarez fight.
“I want to thank everyone for coming out hereÔÇªall of you. I’ve always said that we had to come to Mexico [on this tour.] There’s no other place like Mexico. I’m so happy,” said Alvarez.
“There are a lot of people who don’t think I’m going to win, but on Sept. 14, you’ll see that I will win…I feel the size of this event. I feel the emotion, but I am calm and on Sept. 14, I’ll be okay.”
Mayweather won his first world title at the age of 21, lifting the WBC’s junior lightweight belt from Mexican-American Genaro Hernandez with an eighth-round knockout in October of 1998. Since then, Mayweather has also beaten Golden Boy President Oscar De La Hoya, four-division titlewinner Juan Manuel Marquez, and twice defeated Jose Luis Castillo, among others of Mexican descent.
“I have faced a lot of great champions in my career and I can honestly say that my toughest opponents have been Mexican,” said Mayweather, whose split-decision victory dethroned De La Hoya for the WBC’s junior middleweight belt in May of 2007 in a bout which holds the all-time pay-per-view record with more than 2.5 million buys.
“One thing I know is that Mexicans know boxing. I got into this sport to be the best and I’m pretty sure Canelo got into the sport to be the best, but the difference is that I was born to win and I will die to win. I’m the pound-for-pound best. I’m ‘The One,’ and on Sept. 14, you’ll see.”
Alvarez (42-0-1, 31 KOs), who turns 23 next month, is coming off the biggest win of his career, a unanimous decision victory over previously unbeaten Austin Trout on April 20. Mayweather, however, does not see enough of himself in the younger man to believe Alvarez’s assertion that he can outbox the elder fighter.
“I commend Canelo. He’s a young, strong champion. I congratulate his team. But when you face Floyd Mayweather you face the best,” said Mayweather, 36, an eight-belt titlewinner. “Right now I just can’t be beat. Maybe in 20 years he’ll be the king, but not right now. Sept. 14 is just another day for me.”
Remaining stops on the press tour:
Monday, July 1
Location: Union Station at Minute Maid Park (Main entrance)
501 Crawford Street
Houston, TX 77002
Fan Arrival Time: 12:00 p.m. CT
Press Conference Begins: 1:00 p.m. CT
San Antonio, TX
Location: The Alamo
300 Alamo Plaza
San Antonio, TX 78205
Fan Arrival Time: 5:00 p.m. CT
Press Conference Begins: 6:00 p.m. CT
Tuesday, July 2
Location: Herberger Theater
222 East Monroe Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Fan Arrival Time: 11:00 a.m. MT
Press Conference Begins: 12:00 p.m. MT
Location: Nokia Plaza L.A. LIVE
777 Chick Hearn Court
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Fan Arrival Time: 6:30 p.m. PT
Press Conference Begins: 7:30 p.m. PT
Photos by Esther Lin, Showtime
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]