Both men made weight, scaling 154 pounds on the dot Friday.
Popular redhead Saul “Canelo” Alvarez steps back into the ring to defend the WBC junior middleweight world title and this time faces always dangerous but quirky Kermit “The Killer” Cintron. It’s Mexico versus Puerto Rico once again.
Mexico’s Canelo (38-0-1, 28 Kos) makes the third defense of the world title against Puerto Rico’s Cintron (33-4-1, 28 Kos) on Saturday at the Plaza del Toros in Mexico City. Golden Boy Promotions hopes the bull beats the matador in this confrontation. HBO will televise.
Most fight fans don’t understand the importance of this match up. What they don’t understand is that Mexico versus Puerto Rico has a never ending running battle for supremacy in the boxing world. This has more meaning than simply Canelo versus Cintron.
Bragging rights are at stake.
Recently Mexico has been on a winning streak as Juan Carlos Burgos, Orlando Salido, Giovanni Segura and Jorge Arce have dusted off Puerto Rican boxers one after the other. Now it’s Canelo’s turn to see if he can continue the new found dominance.
“It’s going to be a great night for Mexico and it’s going to be a great night for Puerto Rico and all the fans out there,” said Cintron diplomatically. “I think he’s a world champion for a reason, I think he’s a good fighter, he’s strong, has a lot of skills. But I feel that I’m a better fighter than he is. I’m strong as well, and I can punch as well, and I can box pretty good as well. And it’s going to be an interesting fight and, again, I came here well-prepared for whatever he brings.”
Basically, Cintron feels Canelo is over his head in this match. Nothing would be more embarrassing to Mexico than having a Puerto Rican go into the heart of Aztlan and hand a defeat in Mexico City of all places.
Cintron, though puzzling in his last several performances, can indeed box. He fought to a draw against current middleweight champion Sergio Martinez and beat Alfredo Angulo. His abilities to box and move are more beneficial to him in this fight than his vaunted power.
Canelo has never been beaten and enters the bullring tomorrow with that feeling of invincibility.
“I don’t worry about other things, I’m not influenced by anything else,” said Alvarez. “I have to fight Kermit Cintron, I’m worried about this fight and that’s all.”
Among Mexican fighters Alvarez stands at the top of the pyramid. All eyes will be focused on this fight and the popular redhead’s performance. Next week’s battle between Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto and Mexico’s Antonio Margarito doesn’t have the same importance because of the Tijuana Tornado’s eye problems. Mexican fight fans are very astute and know that Margarito has a very difficult challenge in overcoming both Cotto and the eye injury. He merely gets points for trying. But Canelo is expected to win and carry the torch of Mexico’s current dominance.
That’s a large amount of pressure and it’s not an easy fight.
“I’m motivated, of course, you have to be when you’re fighting against a Puerto Rican fighter and a great ex-champion,” says Canelo. “But more than anything I’m motivated because I’m fighting a good fighter. I’m fighting a very, very good fighter. You know he’s got a lot of experience, he’s a complete fighter. So the level of competition is actually what has me excited in this fight.”
Mexico versus Puerto Rico is never boring. Expect another great battle.