By Marc Livitz: The stage is all but set, the lights are just warming up and the eyes of millions will once again focus in on Las Vegas on Saturday, September 14. It’s as close as a big night at the fights can possibly get to Mexican Independence Day weekend and so why not stage the biggest name in boxing against the one of the sport’s brightest and up and coming stars?
Only time will tell or more to the point, up to thirty six minutes in the ring whether or not Saul "Canelo" Alvarez creates a new constellation of his own or if he’s ultimately a supernova who may have flown too close to the sun. His assignment is by no means impossible, yet no fighter with the same task has been able to top Floyd Mayweather, Jr. throughout his seventeen year career.
The two unbeaten fighters will face off at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and Canelo’s multiple super welterweight titles will be at stake when he battles Mayweather, Jr., an eight time, five division world champion.
The event which has been billed "The One" has already smashed the live gate record set in 2007 when Mayweather bested Oscar De La Hoya in the bout known at the time as "The World Awaits". In terms of a "Money" Mayweather defeat, the world is still waiting. His record is still a perfect 44-0 (26 KO’s). Canelo may be somewhere near the pole position in terms of Mexico’s prominent fighters. His compatriot, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. lost last September for the first time and has had numerous external issues and the great Juan Manuel Marquez just reached forty years of age, yet he still is among the absolute best.
One has to wonder what a victory over the sport’s reigning pound for pound best would do for Canelo Alvarez (42-0-1, 30 KO’s). Would it catapult him into the boxing stratosphere and land his name among such legends as Chavez, Sr., Ruben Olivares, Salvador Sanchez, Marco Antonio Barrera and others? He’d certainly be the first Mexican fighter in some time to beat "the man", while still giving Juan Manuel Marquez’s December 2012 savage knockout of Manny Pacquiao heavy consideration.
Canelo and members of his team spoke to the media today on an international conference call. Selected highlights are listed below. Stay connected with SecondsOut.com for tomorrow’s report on Floyd Mayweather’s time with the boxing media.
Oscar De La Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions: "We are getting very close. Nerves are getting a bit rattled and we feel "the one" is going to break all records. All the indications we are receiving tell us that "The One" will be "The One". It’s going to be a great fight week as well. Our two participants agreeing to step inside the ring has made all of this possible. Canelo is the most popular athlete in boxing today. He last fought in front of over 39,000 people. I don’t think any other fighter could attract that many people.”
Canelo opening statements: "I’m very happy the day is almost here. I am ready for the fight and we’re very close to the date itself. I’m in Las Vegas and I’m ready to go."
(Alvarez on why the fight is such a hot topic)
"The people are the ones who are interested in this. It’s the one they asked for and the one they wanted. It’s not an easy fight for either one of us. It’s going to be a great fight and the fans know it. No one cares that Mayweather is taking part in his second fight in this year. It’s all because of the fight itself."
(De La Hoya on the same subject)
"People have hope and they strongly feel that Floyd is going to lose. That’s why this fight is catching fire. Saul is like a seasoned veteran. He knows what he’s doing and he’s in the best shape of his life."
(Canelo on the chances Mayweather could hurt him)
"Any fighter can hurt another one at any given point and that’s why you have to be ready for it. If you get caught with a solid shot from any fighter, then that could be it for you."
(On the differences between Floyd and his previous opponents)
"I’ve fought with all types of styles, but he’s different. He’s very smart and that’s the major difference."
(The 152 lb. catchweight for the fight)
"It’s not going to bother me at all. I can make the weight without any problem. I’ve actually been under the weight at times."
(Whether he’ll pressure Mayweather or look to counter)
"Counter punching will help but it won’t be the only thing. I’ll realize what I’ll be able to do in the first round. I can’t be careless. I have to be smart."
(On De La Hoya’s prediction that he’ll win by the 8th round via KO)
"I’m preparing to win and to stick to my game plan. It’s an honor to hear those types of comments, of course. I’m not going to look for the knockout. I don’t like to predict anything other than a victory for me."
(Distractions during fight week in Las Vegas)
"I’m a responsible person and this is all I have ever wanted. I understand what I have to do. I’m always grateful for the support and the love from everyone."
(De La Hoya on Canelo’s chances of winning)
"I can see it and I can envision it because I know what he’s capable of doing in the ring. He hasn’t shown his full potential. I strongly feel on the 14th, we will see the young, fast, strong and smart Canelo Alvarez. He hasn’t put it all together because he hasn’t fought the best in world. Floyd Mayweather will bring out the best of Saul Alvarez."
(Canelo on his preparations for the fight)
"I’m just doing the best job that I can. I’ll be ready for everything because I know that one shot is all it takes. Any way I can win is what I’ll do. I’ll just go with my game plan and try to win the fight."
"I have prepared for a long time and I know I have the qualities to win. I’ll fight smart, but I can’t say that I have that many advantages. I just know that I’m going to win. I feel great physically and mentally. It’s the best preparation I’ve done for any fight."
(Is Mayweather underestimating Alvarez?)
"I think so. The way he’s talking tells me that he’s very worried. Still, I don’t care what he’s saying or thinking."
(Is Mayweather declining as a fighter at the age of 36?)
"No, not at all. He maintains himself very well and I still think that he’s at his peak. He’s still there and he’s still Mayweather."
September 3, 2013