Saturday, March 25, 2023  |



Alvarez calm in the eye of Mayweather storm



WASHINGTON, D.C. — As his eyes met those of Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Tuesday, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez was already in a fighting mood.

“Let me be honest with you, I had that feeling, like, when you want to fight. I wanted to exchange right there,” said Alvarez, who faced off with Mayweather before close to 1,000 fans who had packed the Howard Theatre prior to their press conference.

“I wanted to. You feel that. It’s like ‘Mayweather is here, and I’m here. Let’s do it.’ That’s what I was thinking inside. There were no nerves. I was calm. Most of you people, the writers, you know that I’m a very calm guy, inside and outside of the ring.”

Not only was Tuesday the second press conference during which Alvarez had to quell that rush of intensity, but the 22-year-old Mexican star will have to do so at least nine more times during an 11-city promotional tour in advance of their clash on Sept. 14 Showtime Pay Per View event at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

“It’s the biggest tour that we’ve ever done. My son, Nick, who is on the tour with me, he counted 18 SUVs and three private jets; it’s a massive undertaking,” Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer.

“This is really gaining momentum, and momentum, and today, the tickets have gone on sale, so there is a lot of focus on the tour right now.”

Mayweather (44-0, 26 knockouts), THE RING’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter, will meet THE RING’s 154-pound champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (42-0-1, 30 KOs) as the headliner to an event being billed as “The One.” The event is promoted by Golden Boy in association with Mayweather Promotions.

“You don’t have to speak the same language. If you want to express something to someone, you can see it in their eyes,” said Alvarez, who speaks broken English, while Mayweather does not speak Spanish.

“You don’t have to say, ‘Hey, I’m going to kick your ass.’ No. You know it when I look at you. My expression tells you I’m coiming. The language is not a problem. I was just telling him, ‘I’m here.'”

Mayweather is coming off a one-sided unanimous decision victory over Robert Guerrero (31-2-1, 18 KOs) in May, prior to which his father and trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr., and his counterpart, Ruben Guerrero, nearly came to blows during the final pre-fight press conference.

In that situation, it was Floyd Mayweather Jr. who served as the voice of reason and the calming force, and Alvarez says he has no reason to believe that the veteran will behave any differently for their fight.

“With Floyd Mayweather, you can expect anything. I’m ready, my team is ready, for any brawl or anything. But I don’t think that it’s going to happen. He’s very professional, and I’m very professional. You know how I am,” said Alvarez, who will turn 23 next month.

“Most of the opponents of Floyd, you’ve seen that he’ll talk, and the other guy talks. He’ll say this and the other guy says that. When you get into that game to exchange bad words and everything, that’s when everything happens. But you know I think that he respects me, and I respect him.”

On Monday, at New York’s Times Square, it was Alvarez, who was the more popular boxer to the partisan Latino crowd of around 2,000 who chanted his nickname “Canelo.” But at the Howard Theatre, it was the eight-belt winning Mayweather who rallied the fans with his mantra, shouting “hard work,” and eliciting their responses of “dedication” during his turn at the podium.

“I’m really, really impressed with how calm Canelo is. He’s very focused. I would have expected in New York that it would be a 60-40 crowd in favor of Mayweather, maybe 60 to 70 percent for Mayweather and 30 to 40 percent for Canelo, but it was the other way around,” said Schaefer.

“There were more fans in Times Square for Canelo than there were for Maywather. People here in the United States have clearly caught on to Canelo, and you can see that he is happy about it and he is confident and he wants to perform for them, and he has no doubt — the slightest doubt — that he’s going to win that fight.”

During his most recent fight in April, Alvarez scored the most impressive victory of his career to date with a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten southpaw Austin Trout.

But Alvarez said that Mayweather, a major step up, will bring out the best in him.

“Everything is different. Bigger name. Clever fighter. The best fighter. The best venue. The best network. Everything is different. Austin Trout was a good fighter. Remember, we drew almost 40,000 people for that fight. But this is different. You can already tell by the media, the fans and everything. This is a big event,” said Alvarez.

“Like you have said, yes, that fight with Trout was the next step to get to Mayweather. I’m that type of figher where if you put me in with someone who is better than me, that is going to motivate me. That gets the real Canelo. So Trout, he was okay. He was a good fighter, but he didn’t impose his will on me, and he didn’t bring out the best Canelo. So Mayweather’s the guy.”

Unlike other fighters, however, Alvarez believes that he can match Mayweather’s ring wizardry.

“I respect him, however, I have the same boxing skills. I’m a good boxer, too,” said Alvarez, who wore a Cassius Clay T-shirt. “I’m a good boxer and you’ll see it on Sept. 14. You’re going to see the result. I’m going to out-box him.”

Alvarez will apparently have help preparing for Mayweather from two of the foes Mayweather has vanquished in Golden Boy President Oscar De La Hoya and three-division champ Sugar Shane Mosley.

De La Hoya lost by split-decision to Mayweather in May of 2007, and Mosley staggered Mayweather in the second round of his unanimous decision loss in May of 2010.

“Canelo is going to train for eight weeks in Big Bear, where, now, Shane Mosley is giving him his house to use there,” said Schaefer. “And Shane is actually going to be helping him out with some of the sparring as well. Oscar’s going to help him with his experience.”


Like Mosley, De La Hoya could wind up working out with Alvarez as well.

“I’m going to be advising, for no fee, free of charge, Canelo, as we’re on this tour. I’ll give him little things here and there. I’m already actually working out. This whole trip, I’ve been training and working out, and not for a comeback, but, to, maybe, get into the ring with Canelo and to give him pointers,” said De La Hoya.

“Just little things, because his team is going to come up with a good game plan, from what they’ve told me. They have an amazing gameplan, which is, where I don’t even have to say anything. But it’s going to be fun. We’re going to make this camp big, and as much fun as possible. Just make it fun. Shane will be in his camp, and we’ll get guys who are similar to Mayweather.”

Mosley had amassed a record of 21 straight wins over Mexican rivals before losing in May of 2012 to Alvarez, who said he owes yet another resounding win to his Mexican fans against Mayweather.

“It’s a big responsibility, and that’s why I’m working so hard,” said Alvarez. “Because I need to give back to those fans with good fights. I know that they’re expecting the best from me. That’s why I’m preparing so well, to give them the victory.”

Remaining schedule for Floyd Mayweather-Alvarez:

Wednesday, June 26

Grand Rapids, MI

Location: Houseman Field

162 Houseman Avenue NE

Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Fan Arrival Time: 11:00 a.m. ET

Press Conference Begins: 12:00 p.m. ET

Chicago, IL

Location: Chicago Theatre

175 North State Street

Chicago, IL 60601

Fan Arrival Time: 5:00 p.m. CT

Press Conference Begins: 6:00 p.m. CT

Thursday, June 27

Atlanta, GA

Location: Centennial Olympic Park – Southern Company Amphitheatre

265 Park Avenue West NW (Marietta Street & Andrew Young International Boulevard)

Atlanta, GA 30363

Fan Arrival Time: 12:00 p.m. ET

Press Conference Begins: 1:00 p.m. ET

Friday, June 28

Miami, FL

Location: Tina Hills Pavilion at Bayfront Park

301 North Biscayne Boulevard

Miami, FL 33132

Fan Arrival Time: 12:00 p.m. ET

Press Conference Begins: 1:00 p.m. ET

Sunday, June 30

Mexico City, Mexico

Location information to be announced separately.

Monday, July 1

Houston, TX

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

Phoenix, AZ

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

Los Angeles

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

Photo by Ester Lin, Showtime

Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]