Three days, and we will be able to get confirmation that Canelo Alvarez is far and away the fighting pride of Mexico among active pugilists…or, we will be having to get help to get our jaws off the floor, because Canelo’s foe Julio Cesar Chavez Jr had just pulled off the upset of the year.
You dispute that?
Because you think Junior is maybe the bigger guy, naturally, and he will be able to exploit the fact that Alvarez hasn’t met anyone as strong as he?
I doubt it; but to make sure, I will be tuning in and watching the Cinco de Mayo special taking place at T-Mobile in Las Vegas and on HBO PPV Saturday.
The hypes drums got banged Wednesday, at T-Mobile, as Golden Boy boss Oscar De la Hoya, who helps the Canelo trajectory, presided over a presser to help gain more interest. No, there was no eruption of any behavior which spoke of bad blood, of rising tempers heated up during the weeks of back and forth trash talking.
Oscar was in promoter mode, for sure, when he noted, because of the bad blood and the timing, this fight is the biggest fight in all Mexican boxing history. That’s debateable, of course. But what isn’t, is the stakes, and the immensity of the ripple if Canelo loses. He’s expected to win by KO, sending him to a September scrap against middleweight ace Gennady Golovkin.
Tix are sold out at the arena, and even closed circuit tix are selling briskly, said ODLH, who also noted that you an watch a legal stream, because his company is keeping on pushing into the digital age.
The promoter boasted of the brisk sales and then said he supports Canelo’s stand not to accept a WBC belt for this faceoff.
(I asked WBC boss Mauricio Sulaiman about this deal.
The fighters had their say, too.
Oscar said that Canelo (48-1-1) is “captivating” and only getting stronger and better. He’s only 26 and has already fought a who’s who, he stated. The red head at the podium said that he is ready for “a great fight…I’m going to do everything on my side so this fight can become one of the most historic fights in the history of Mexico. We’re ready. Enjoy Saturday night.” It was a most brief speech.
“I came here to win, not just fight,” insisted Chavez Jr, who holds a 50-2-1 record. “I’m here to win this great fight,” he said, ending a quite brief speech. Sunglasses covered his eyes durig the entire presser, for whatever that is worth. He did take the glasses off when at the mic.
Some of Oscar’s themes included how boxing is on an upswing, or, as he put it, “a chance” to exit a “hiatus.” “We had Joshua versus Klitschko, which sold out an arena, 90,000 people,” he said, and mentioned this fight, and his reserved September date, as well as Ward versus Kovalev 2. He thanked “especially the media” who help in carrying the message.
Chepo Reynoso, who helps manage and train Canelo, said camp was great. “This has been brewing and cooking for many years,” he said. He is confident that Canelo gets the W.
Eddy Reynoso, Canelo’s trainer, had the mic. He thanked all for coming, and also camp was stellar, he said. “We’ve done all the hard work and we’re just ready for the fight,” he said.
Oscar handed off to Julio Sr, who he called his “hero.” Pop in Spanish said that he’s happy Saturday is close and this is one of the biggest moments in his life. He said the fight could be won, “everything is possible in the ring.”
The boxers took live press questions after the principals had their say.
One media person asked what message each man had to rooters and haters in Mexico, especially to those experiencing hard times. Canelo said that his message to fans, lovers and haters, is for Mexicans to be proud because two Mexicans are repping. Critics will always be there, just continue to be proud, he said. Junior repeated that message.
Senior was asked about the fight and he said he thinks it is quite possible his kid wins, and he believes he shall. He is nervous, he allowed.
They did a staredown and then Canelo took questions from the Golden Boy interviewer Jessica Rosales.
Canelo was asked about Junior’s level of committment for this fight. He has heard Junior is well prepared and that’s good, because it will help make a better fight.
How does he feel about the strong and positive response to this fight. “I’m happy with the support and the love,” and that’s why he will give something extra Saturday.
As for that weight, 164 1/2, does that mean we will see a new Canelo? He feels great and wants to show that Saturday.
Rosales then talked to Junior. “I feel ready for the fight,” he said, in English, and then offered Spanish. And what can watchers expect Saturday? “It’s going to be a great fight, because of styles, and because of the weight class it will be easier, and the fans will be the winner,” he said.
Bernardo Osuna asked questions of Junior for ESPN. He hasn’t always worked so hard, but this time? This time I did and that’s why I’m extra excited, the son of the legend said.
Junior said he will get docked a million dollars a pound for being over, so he knows knows knows he must be 164.5 or less.
Asked about having Nacho Beristain with him, he said he’s happy to have had Nacho, and also Heredia, on board.
He’s happy to be fighting for Cinco de Mayo and sharing the honor with another great Mexican.
Osuna then queried Canelo. How will he make sure this one is an all-time Mexican classic? He understand what it means for Mexicans, and “I will make history against Julio Cesar Chavez.”
And how and why did this become personal? Canelo said it has been simmering for years, both have wanted it. “Yes, it is personal,” Canelo said.
He said he doesn’t read much into staredowns, and then that he is exceedingly proud to be repping Mexican.
Two Mexicans headlining the day, that is super special, he said.
Beto Duran, Doug Fischer and Steve Kim chatted for RING watchers. Kim and Doug thought Junior looked fidgety, and Kim says the weigh in will be severely crucial. Doug said the styles will make for a fun fight.
SPEEDBAG Nevada commission day to day boss Bob Bennett went hard on the subject of the excellence of the chosen judges and ref. Not sure why he was so insistent on this subject, if he was respondng to someones’ negaivity on choice of officials.
—For the record, Oscar has come a long, long way at mastering the art of presiding over a presser. No, he’s not the showman Bob Arum is, but he’s more comfortable now, by far, than when he started.
—Once again, Oscar called Dominic Britsch “highly regarded.” Sometimes he steps over the hype line, lol…
—Nacho Beristain, age 77, is a wizened fistic tutor. He’s seconding Jr in this tango. The elder sage stayed seated during his time at the mic, and a mic was brought to him. Then Memo Heredia and Chavez Sr stayed seated to have their say.
—Controversial speed and strength coach Memo Heredia spoke and said Junior worked very hard and he thinks it will be a good fight. Neither he nor Nacho promised a win for Junior.
—Not sure the ryhme or reason of when Tony Walker, and not Peter Nelson, takes to the mic and reps HBO. Walker got the nod for this, probably just because he is a PPV expert. He said it is remarkable that someone, in this age of excessive entertainment choices, can consistently get fans to order PPVs, as fans do with Canelo. Also interesting…Walker plugged the HBO digital fare, indicating that HBO is working on trying to catch up to Showtime in the digital realm.
—Bernard Hopkins got some mic time. Oscar called him a legend. The ex hitter, now 52, is retired, and is an exec at Golden Boy, and also works as an analyst for HBO. He said he foresees a “brutal” fight.
—Yes, Junior is with Al Haymon, who got I think one low key mention.