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‘Canelo’ seeks further boxing glory

May 4, 2012

Tapatio boxing hero Saul “Canelo” Alvarez puts his WBC light middleweight title on the line at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday, May 5, taking on “Sugar” Shane Mosley in his biggest fight yet.

Scheduled to coincide with the Cinco de Mayo festivities celebrated in Mexico and the United States, the bout will be followed by the mouth-watering main event: WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather versus Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto.

Known as “Canelo” (“Cinnamon”) for his red head of hair, Alvarez was born in Guadalajara and brought up in the town of Juanacatlan, just outside the city. He remains unbeaten having made his professional debut at age 15, and has long been dubbed the next superstar of Mexican boxing. Now 21, he was won 40 fights and tied just one.

Aged 40, Mosley is almost twice Alvarez’s age. He has fought the likes of Oscar de la Hoya, Manny Pacquiao and Mayweather, winning six world titles in three different weight divisions.

Although the veteran from California has not won in over three years, he remains confident of causing an upset, even accusing Alvarez of underestimating his abilities.

“I’ve heard that ‘Canelo’ does not take it too seriously, That will make this a good fight,” Mosley said. “I’m ready to fight. My mentality is to fight. It’s up to people if they want to believe me when I say I’m fitter and healthier than in my previous fights. I feel very confident that I can resist anything he attempts against me.”

Retorted Alvarez: “My approach is something that gives me pride. I see a lack of focus in many of my colleagues in their current fights, and I wonder why some of them fight … I am a professional boxer and my complete focus is on winning these fights,” he added. “I’m training hard and making immense progress.”

A defeat for Mosley might signal the end of his career, although a place in boxing’s International Hall of Fame surely beckons. For Alvarez, the fight offers the first chance to really test himself. Despite his fine record, he has been criticized for only having beaten weak opponents.

Should he lose against Mosley it would be a considerable setback, providing ammunition to critics who feel he lacks what it takes to step in to the ring and go pound for pound with the very best. But if Alvarez wins, it will likely lead to a lucrative fight against one of the biggest names in boxing.

“We were going to fly to Los Angeles and make the deal, but it didn’t happen,” Alvarez said of a dream fight with Mayweather. “I hope we will meet someday. But for now, I’m only thinking about Shane Mosley.”

While content fighting at 154 pounds, Alvarez also said he might eventually move up to 160 pounds and take on compatriot and WBC middleweight champion, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

“But now is not the time. I’m very comfortable where I am,” Alvarez added. “I have no trouble making weight. I am where I’m supposed to be at this point of my career. Right now, fighting (Chavez) isn’t going to happen because we are in different weight classes. But in a few years? Maybe.”

Although eager to join a long list of Mexican boxing legends, at such a young age there is no rush for Alvarez to prove himself before he is ready.

“I have a big career ahead of me,” he said. “Mexico is my home and always will be. I am very proud of my Mexican heritage and I consider it to be a big part of my identity. Marco Barrera, Erik Morales and Julio Cesar Chavez are just some of the Mexican fighters I know that our community admires. I have the intention to be among these men.”

Idolized in his homeland and particularly in Jalisco, Alvarez realizes that he must also be a strong role model: “Being a good example for the Latino community is very important to me and I am filled with pride every time I win.”

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