Last time, things didn't go the way he expected. Sure, in the back of his mind, Canelo Alvarez had to know that Floyd Mayweather was two steps up from the best he'd been in with...but the Mexican heart-breaker had to think that he was on the ascent, an heir apparent, the right sort of athlete to pull the upset, make Mayweather feel the sting of defeat.
But all the sting was absorbed by Alvarez. Sure, CJ Ross, in a state of delusion, saw him doing stellar work against Floyd...but the rest of the world saw a man of a lesser grade being befuddled by the greatest boxer of his era.
Does the sting remain? Did the experience of getting school hurt Canelo's pride to the point that the lesson will leave a permanent stain on his psyche, and career?
We shall get a hint when Canelo gloves up March 8, against a come forward, more rudimentary but full-of-heart type, Alfredo Angulo.
Alvarez, the 23-year-old hitter, took part on a conference call on Tuesday, to hype his scrap and the card, which will run on pay per view. Golden Boy boss Richard Schaefer handled emcee duties, after getting the handoff from publicist Kelly Swanson.
He said that the Floyd fight set a record for TV ratings in Mexico, and that Canelo is the No. 1 boxing star in that nation. "He's back. He picked an opponent he knows is a tough guy, a big puncher," Schaefer said.
The promoter said the fighter could have picked an easier foe, and could have danced his way to a crown. But, he said, this bout will be the most exciting of all the upcoming PPV scraps. Canelo said that, indeed, he is looking forward to fighting a come-forward type, in Angulo.
"That's what the people want to see, action. And that's what they will see, a lot of action," Canelo said.
Does he want to fight fewer defensive types down the line? No, he said, he's open to fighting whoever, whenever.
I asked Canelo what was the lesson learned in the fight against Mayweather and what he will bring from that fight to the Angulo fight. "I can't pinpoint one thing, I learned a lot in that fight, gained a lot of experience," he said, and promised we will see his growth vs. Angulo. He said he's strong-minded, and doesn't dwell on the past, that he looks toward the future.
He said he's honored to be headlining a big event, and called it a "big responsibility."
His older bro Ricardo, fighting Omar Figueroa on the same card, said that he is pumped to be fighting on little bro's card. He will be the underdog, at 23-2-3, against 22-0 Figueroa. Canelo too said his brother's presence on the card will motivate and excite him. He said they give each other advice, on technique, especially. "We're very happy, both of us," Canelo said. He said he told his bro to block off outside stuff, the cameras, the crowd, etc, and just concentrate on the fight. (Hm, wonder if he was flashing back to the atmosphere when he fought Floyd?)
Canelo said that he knows when he fights a fellow Mexican, it will be a slobberknocker.
Regarding Angulo's fight versus Erislandy Lara, Canelo said Angulo showed tremendous heart, and would have won if he was able to continue. He will brawl if need be, or be the smart mover if need be, he said.
Will he adjust his game at all to deal with Angulo's aggressiveness? Canelo answered that he's training to Angulo's strengths.
And what about Mayweather-Maidana? He called it a "very interesting fight" and that "we will have to wait and see. No, he didn't seem enthused about critiquing or doing a solid, and promoting it.
Trainer Eddy Reynoso spoke. In Spanish, he said that camp for Canelo has been good. Manager Jose Reynoso, his manager, said that Canelo has worked hard, and he knows the significance of getting a win. Eddy spoke about the Mayweather fight, and said they had a plan A, B and C, but that Mayweather was just too great. It's easy to snipe from afar, he said.
It was typical Canelo on the call. Professional, politely enthusiastic, measured. I'm expecting the fight to force him to get into a more fiery mode, possibly requiring more of him than any of his professional fights to date. Your thoughts, readers?
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV