Canelo Alvarez: “My time is now”
LAS VEGAS, Nevada – The final press conference for Saturday’s middleweight showdown between Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez was short and respectful as expected.
Neither fighter is fond of trash talking, bold predictions or hyperbole. The future hall of famer from Puerto Rico and the young Mexican star said they had excellent camps and expect to give their all when they fight at the Mandalay Bay Event Center on Saturday.
Most of the boxing media believes them but they needed more for their stories and video features, so Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 knockouts), the 25-year-old native of Guadalajara and the betting favorite, was asked what he thought of Cotto’s trainer Freddie Roach predicting a knockout victory for the 35-year-old veteran.
“I hope (Roach) tells Cotto to come to me and try to knock me out,” Alvarez said, without a hint of bravado or animosity, through translator Eric Gomez. “If he does it will make the fight more interesting.”
Cotto (40-4, 33 knockouts), the lineal and RING magazine middleweight champ, has scored three impressive stoppages – against Delvin Rodriguez, Sergio Martinez and Daniel Geale – since joining forces with Roach in 2013. However, most boxing pundits and media members believe the Caguas native’s experience, not his power, is what makes him dangerous.
The last time Alvarez faced a fighter as experienced on the world-class level as Cotto was in September 2013 when he was thoroughly contained over 12 rounds by Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Alvarez says he’s not the same fighter he was two years ago.
“I’ve learned from every one of my fights – not just the Mayweather fight,” he said. “It’s an accumulation of experience from my entire career that makes me ready for this fight.
“I might be young but I have the experience of being a pro for 10 years. Timing is everything in boxing and I think this is the right time for me to be in a fight of this magnitude against a great fighter like Cotto.
“I gained valuable experience in the Mayweather fight. I’m a complete fighter now, a solid fighter. My time is now.”
The storied boxing rivalry between Mexico and Puerto Rico is a major story line for Saturday’s fight, which will be televised live on HBO Pay Per View in the U.S. Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya called it the Super Bowl for Latino boxing fans at Wednesday’s press conference, so naturally Alvarez was asked what it means to represent his country on such a huge stage.
“It means the world to me, it means everything,” he said. “I dedicate this fight to Mexico and to all my fans. That’s why I train so hard.”
There are couple story angles to Cotto-Canelo that matter mainly to hardcore fans – the WBC’s recent decision to strip Cotto of their title and the mandatory challenge of Gennady Golovkin (should Alvarez win the now-vacated WBC belt). Alvarez was asked to comment on the WBC and GGG but he politely kept the media on the subject of Nov. 21.
“I’ve been concentrating on the fight,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if the (WBC) title is on the line or not. I’m focused on winning the fight. I’m 100 percent focused on Cotto. Ask me to comment about the WBC after the fight.”
Alvarez had the same answer for the boxing media’s Golovkin obsession.
“It’s important for me to focus on Cotto,” he said. “Let me win this fight and then ask me about Golovkin. But know this, I’ve never avoided a challenge.”
The challenge in front of Alvarez is nothing to look past and the mature-beyond-his-age fighter is aware of it.
He knows that he is the flagship fighter for Golden Boy Promotions, which needs him more than ever in light of the exodus of talent following the company’s split with former CEO Richard Schaefer and adviser Al Haymon, and he realizes that boxing fans desperately need a major pay-per-view fight to deliver action and drama following the mega-dud of the Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao event.
“I have a big responsibility on my shoulders but I don’t feel pressure, I feel motivation,” Alvarez said. “I know that this fight is very important to Golden Boy and to boxing.
“I’m going to do my part to make it a great fight and a great event.”
Cotto-Canelo weigh-in and undercard information:
The Cotto-Canelo weigh-in takes place at the Mandalay Bay’s North Convention Center on Friday and it is open to the public. Doors open at 1:00 p.m. The weigh-in, as well as the live stream of the event, begins at 2:30 p.m. PT/5:30 p.m. ET.
The first fight of the Cotto-Canelo undercard begins at 3:00 p.m. PT at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on Saturday. Doors open at 2:30 p.m.
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