The Ultra Even-Keeled Canelo: "I Still Think Floyd's At His Peak"
Mexican sensation Canelo Alvarez hopped on a conference call on Tuesday afternoon, to hype his Sept. 14 showdown against Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas.
Oscar De La Hoya started out the call, after being handed the reins by PR ace Kelly Swanson.
Oscar said it's trending like that the PPV for the bout will break records, and "these are exciting times for boxing."
Oscar introed Alvarez, who has been a pro since age 15, a topic which is discussed in an ESPN The Magazine feature which hits newsstands this week. Oscar said that Canelo is the most popular man in the sport and that he hasn't yet reached his true potential.
The fighter spoke Spanish, and Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez translated for him. Canelo said he's in Vegas, ready to rock n roll.
Canelo was asked why, he thinks, that this superfight has caught on, arguably, more than other recent superfights, such as ones involving De La Hoya, or Pacquiao "I believe it's because of the fans..it's the one that they wanted to see..there's a euphoria," he said. "They know it's a fight that's not going to be easy for either of us," he said.
De La Hoya was asked why he thinks this fight has caught on so bigtime. He said it's because many are thinking Mayweather will get beaten by Canelo ( pictured above in Tom Casino-Showtime picture).
Alvarez was asked if he thinks Floyd can hurt him at all. "I think that any fighter at any given point can land and hurt anybody," he answered.
He said Floyd is a different breed and he can't be thinking that any other foe he's met is of a similar nature.
The Mexican said that his weight, and making 152 pounds, won't be a problem. "It's not going to bother me at all," he said. "My most recent fights, I've been under." He said he thinks that weighing 152 will make him faster, in fact.
And what will be his top asset come fight night? His counterpunching ability? His physicality? Counterpunching will help, he said, but he'll need to do it all. After the first round, he will see what he will be able to do. "Smart pressure" is his aim.
Canelo was asked about Oscar predicting that Alvarez will KO Mayweather, within eight rounds. "It's actually an honor to hear those comments from Oscar, that I'm going to win," he said. He will not press for a KO, though. He did predict that he will win. Oscar said he thinks Canelo can handle the pressure. "I can see it, I can envision it, because I know what he's capable of, I understand his potential," Oscar said. Canelo hasn't shown "one bit of what he's capable of," he said. "He's the whole package, he hasn't put it all together because he hasn't fought Floyd Mayweather, the best pound for pound fighter in the world."
Won't he be overwhelmed by the expectations of his countrymen and women? No, he said, he's grateful for the opportunity, and isn't weighed down by the hopes of his nation. He's also happy, he said, to get love from red-heads, and all other hair colors too.
Sparring with partners who gave him Floyd-like looks helped him immensely, Canelo mentioned. (Of course, someone can try to imitate Floyd, but the real deal is another level or two higher, right?)
Canelo said that when they fought, Ricky Hatton made mistakes by coming in "wide open" against Floyd. We can surmise he thinks he will be wiser when he exerts pressure.
Is he the No. 1 fighter in Mexico now, he was asked. The humble boxer said that question has to be asked of the fans and media, he can't answer it.
Floyd should be ready for everything from him, because "one punch is all it takes." And how will he win? Any way will do, he said. And could Floyd get dropped and stopped, as Abner Mares did two weeks ago, versus Jhonny Gonzo? "I'm working hard for this fight, one punch can change everything, anything can happen, you really don't know," he said, reiterating that we will have to see how things play out, and predicting is basically useless.
Would a win make you a pound for pound giant? Of course, he said, "it would be a great win. It can change history."
And does he think Floyd might be underestimating him, saying he thinks he's faced better men than him? "Yes", he said, he believes he might be, but he may also be worried about him.
Canelo noted that Floyd does use his elbows and forearms but he doesn't think Floyd is dirty.
Ten days out, how is he feeling? "I feel very, very well, physically and mentally," he said. It is the best he's ever felt.
Julio Cesar Chavez said yesterday that Canelo might lose some stamina coming to Vegas now, after training in Big Bear. "Everybody thinks differently," he said, saying he wanted to get acclimated to the heat in Vegas.
And regarding Floyd saying that the Cotto fight was and would be tougher than this fight? "That's good he's thinking this way," he said, noting Floyd will see up close how hard it will be, soon enough.
And if Mayweather pressures him, brings the attack to him? "I will make my fight, and not allow Floyd to dictate the tone and pace", he said.
Would he like to dedicate this fight to anyone? My supporters, family and teammates, he said.
I wondered if Floyd has gotten under his skin, as he's so even keeled. "No," he said, "he never got under my skin, I've always been very, very strong mentally, I like to be very, very strong. He likes to do his talking in the ring, he said".
He admitted that the right punch can hurt anyone, even him, when asked if Floyd could possibly KO him.
At 23, is there only upside, since he's so young, and could come back from a loss? No, he said, "I have a lot to lose," he asserted.
Oscar was asked if he senses this could be the next great trilogy. There would be a rematch if Canelo wins, and he thinks both would want a sequel.
How could Canelo get that KO he's talked about, Oscar was asked. The promoter said Canelo has what it takes to "land that perfect punch."
Oscar was asked if there are any stipulations if Canelo comes in overweight. "There would be a penalty", Oscar said, but "Saul is going to have no problem whatsoever."
Canelo was asked to compare his popularity to that of Juan Manuel Marquez. "I don't like to talk about that stuff," he said.
"A Canelo win would be the top two or three all-time wins for Mexican fighters", Oscar said. Canelo said that a win would be massive for Mexico, and he will let the people decide if that win would be bigger than Julio Cesar Chavez' biggest wins.
What edges does he hold, and why is he so confident he will get the W over Floyd? "I can't say that I have that many advantages," he admitted, but he likes his game plan, and knows he's going to win. Has he seen any decline in Floyd? No, he said, not al all. "He maintains himself very well, I still think he's at his peak. He's still Mayweather."