The time’s right for Canelo

By Robert Hough

It’s a groovy California summer for Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.

The relaxed 27-year-old makes time for singing and fun with friends and colleagues, takes in some baseball and the multi-millionaire will make many more millions next month – when he faces Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) for the middleweight championship and a claim to being the world’s best pound-for-pound boxer.

Photo: Rich Kane – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions

“We do what we like,” Alvarez (49-1-1, 39 KOs) said Monday on a conference call to discuss the Sept. 16 fight in Las Vegas. “We asked for this fight. We ask for these moments.”

This moment is what his promoter Oscar De La Hoya called the biggest middleweight fight in the history of boxing, bigger than the likes of Marvin Hagler vs. Tommy Hearns or Hagler vs. Ray Leonard.

“In terms of PR, in terms of attention, in terms of people watching, this has to be the biggest (middleweight fight in history),” De La Hoya said on the call. We’ll have to wait to see if it will be the best.”

The time’s right because the native of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico is young and fresh and steeped in experience, in part from his one loss, to Floyd Mayweather, according to Alvarez’s head trainer Eddie Reynoso.

“There’s so many things, the experience that he gained from the fight. There’s so many things. There’s not one specific thing in general. But he’s more of a complete fighter. But the experience was a big part of it that he learned, and he got a lot of experience out of that fight, and there’s different things that we’ve worked on in the gym. But he’s more of a complete fighter now. And he’s 100 percent of a different fighter than the fighter that faced Mayweather that night.

Canelo concurs.

“I’ve definitely learned a lot,” said Alvarez, who last fought in May and dominated Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. “I have more experience now. I feel more confident. I’m more of a mature fighter now. Obviously not just that fight, but the fights that followed have got me to this point. But yes, I’ve changed and I learned from it, and I just feel I’m more of a complete fighter now. I have more experience, and the confidence is probably the one thing that I can point out the most.

“Obviously in that fight with Floyd, I think the only reason he beat me was because of experience. He had more experience. He had more championship fights under his belt. And this fight, it’s going to be different. I have a lot of experience now. And I’m not going to let that happen again in this fight because I have more confidence and I have more experience.”

De La Hoya said 2013 was the wrong time for Alvarez to face Mayweather, though he’s developed substantially in his seven fights since then.

“Well, obviously Canelo is an ambitious person, ambitious fighter,” the promoter said. “Yes, he did take that fight too soon, but the progress that he has made has been incredible. I mean in terms of his punching power, his boxing abilities, you know, him doing his combinations. His jab has improved tremendously.”

Speaking of Mayweather, Alvarez believes it’s beyond unlikely that he will lose to Conor McGregor, though it would create some interesting possibilities for a fight between the Mexican boxer and the Irish MMA star.

“If that miracle was to happen, then it’s a different conversation,” he said. “You know, if that miracle was to happen. But I doubt it very much.”

Though the fight next month will be Alvarez’s third fight in a row at a different weight, the differing weights have no effect on training or his body, he insisted.

“I feel really, really good,” he said. “My speed is still there. I still have the same speed. If anything, I feel maybe a little stronger. Even the exercises and the preparation, I feel a little bit stronger, a little more power in my punches. But I’m maintaining my weight, right around 172, 175, around there. That’s what I train at. And I’m feeling really good.”

All the while, though, Alvarez acknowledges that what he does takes a toll, all the more reason to enjoy it all now, when he’s still three years from being 30 and a lot of boxers have been retiring and talking about it.

The thought of saying farewell to fighting with sound mind and sound finances has been there, Alvarez acknowledged.

“Obviously it’s crossed my mind,” he said. I’ve thought about it. It’s crossed my mind. But when it crosses my mind, I’m thinking, you know, when I’m 34, 35 years old. I can’t help but think about that. But no, right now, obviously I’m concentrating on fighting. I’m still fighting and I’m going to keep going. Anything can happen. Your body may not react the same after some time, but that’s yet to be of concern. As of right now I’m continuing to fight.

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