Armando Alvarez cherishes his underdog role
Armando Alvarez is a smart, good-looking guy who knows the stark truth. He knows not many, if any, are giving him a chance to beat rising undefeated prospect Jaron “Boots” Ennis, this Friday, in the scheduled 10-round, welterweight main event, on Showtime’s “ShoBox: The New Generation” series, from the WinnaVegas Casino & Resort, in Sloan, Iowa (Showtime, 10 p.m. ET/PT).
So go ahead and laugh; go ahead and continue doubting him. Tweet him that he has no chance. It feeds right into Alvarez’s motivation.
Alvarez, 28 (18-0, 12 knockouts), is taking a large step up, and he knows that. He’s honest with himself about it. Ennis (20-0, 18 KOs) comes in with a distinguished amateur career and has stopped his last 10 opponents.
But he won’t stop Alvarez, vows “The Gentleman,” who had 30 amateur fights but whose style didn’t fit the amateur ranks. This is Alvarez’s first great opportunity on national TV.
“Of course, I know what the score is. I’m coming into this very clear,” said Alvarez, laughing. “I’m supposed to come in, look good and lose, the B-side guy. I honestly think (Ennis) is looking beyond me, and I’ll tell you right now: That’s a mistake.
“For me, that’s great. It’s bigger motivation for me. I have everything in my favor, if you think about it. For one, I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The pressure isn’t on me; the pressure is on him. He’s the one who’s supposed to win. He has to live up to the prospect’s dream, and that’s be who he is that night.
“So when it comes time for him to do a lot of running and holding – which he’ll be doing a lot of – the pressure will be on him,” Alvarez continued. “The way I see it, I’ve already won. I got this fight on Showtime. I have nothing to lose and he has everything to lose. And I know he doesn’t respect me. I’m telling you; that’s a mistake.”
Alvarez, however, is realistic. He admits Ennis is a great boxer, probably the best opponent he’s faced up to this point in his career. But Alvarez states, with all of Ennis’ amateur success, no one has been “babied” or “carefully carried,” as Alvarez put it, the way the 21-year-old Ennis has.
Alvarez says that’s a grave mistake because it hasn’t prepared Ennis for someone like him. Alvarez is 6-foot-1 to Ennis’ 5-foot-10. He’s fought 79 rounds as a pro, to Ennis’ 50. Alvarez claims he has the longest reach in welterweight history – 79 inches.
“Ennis is jumping into a whole different ballgame with me because you can’t compare any of those guys he fought to someone like me and the amount of speed and power that I have,” Alvarez said. “Everyone freaks out when they see my size.
“On July 20, everyone in the world will find out who Armando Alvarez is. I’m here to please the crowd, and I’m here to fight. I have a longer reach than Tommy Hearns, which was 78 inches. Like they say in boxing, they picked the wrong opponent. I’m grateful for this chance and I’m happy the Ennis people underestimate me.
“They don’t have to say anything else. I know what they think.”
For Alvarez, this is simply more fuel for the fire.
You can order the current issue, which is on newsstands, or back issues from our subscribe page.