Alvarez, Mosley Both Expect Victory
Old warrior, young lion ooze confidence at final presser
By:Mike Sloan in Las Vegas: The main event of Saturday’s blockbuster fight card at the MGM is obviously Floyd Mayweather versus Miguel Cotto. That part the world knows and fully understands. But unlike far too many super fights of the past twenty years, Saturday’s HBO Pay Per View-televised card actually has a substantial undercard with quality bouts comprised of talented fighters.
The chief support act to Mayweather-Cotto is the ultimate crossroads battle between unbeaten superstar-in-the-making Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and grizzled old veteran “Sugar” Shane Mosley. Alvarez, with his red hair and freckled face is the future of boxing, many experts believe, and what better stage than Saturday to make his mark in front of millions of boxing fans? A win over Mosley, especially an emphatic victory, would catapult him into the upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere because Mosley is a future Hall of Famer and is recognized by more than just the casual fight fans. Nobody has ever stopped Mosley in his career and Alvarez has enough potential and skill to possibly pull off what no other professional could do.
A quasi living legend of the sport, Mosley has seen it all and knows every trick in the book. The 40-year old multiple-time champion is expected to be young Canelo’s toughest test and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Mosley has one last stand in him.
“He is one of the greats in the sport,” remarked Oscar de la Hoya at the final press conference. “He believes in himself like no other fighter and he trains like no other. I’ve known Shane Mosley for years and he’s here to win. He’s one of the greatest champions we’ve ever had, who we still have.”
Leonard Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather Promotions who is helping to co-promote the event, echoed De la Hoya’s sentiment.
“Shane Mosley has been a tremendous champion throughout the years and has faced everyone,” Ellerbe stated. “And I mean everyone. He’s been such a great champion.”
As great as Mosley has been throughout his career, though, he hasn’t looked anywhere near like the man who used to destroy the scene from 130 pounds to 147, capturing world titles and conquering everybody in his path. He’s shopworn and has looked sluggish in his most recent bouts, a trait of an old, shot fighter ripe for the picking against a young beast like Alvarez.
“On the other hand you have a 21-year old fighter who trains very hard and believes in himself just like Sugar Shane Mosley,” added De la Hoya, who squashed the rumors that he wants to fight the winner. “He knows how important this fight is. He understands his popularity and now is the time for him to shine in front of the entire world.”
The groundswell underneath Alvarez is remarkable, akin to what the boxing world was like when De la Hoya was a young Olympian. Considering how popular the unbeaten Mexican already is, there is almost as much anticipation for his fight as there is for Saturday’s main event.
“Usually people will ask me what time the main event starts,” HBO Sports senior vice president Kerry Davis interjected. “But this is the first time where people have been asking me what time the Canelo Alvarez-Shane Mosley fight starts. This has never happened before, where so many people are showing this much interest in the undercard. It’s one of those things where Shane Mosley has been such a terrific, legendary champion and Canelo is this young, great fighter who has that ‘it’ factor.”
Alvarez certainly has it and most expect him to be around for a long time after Saturday night.
“Canelo Alvarez is a great, strong young champion and this is a tremendous test for him” Ellerbe added. “He’s going to be a great champion for years to come.”
But before everybody begins singing his praises and tolling the death knell for Mosley, Alvarez first has to defeat his opponent, something that should be more difficult than many are making it out to be. With Naazim Richardson -- a trainer who is fast becoming one of the best in the business -- in his corner, Mosley has much more than just a miracle-like chance of winning. In fact, by all accounts Mosley looks like a reborn fighter in training.
“There’s no such thing as turning the clock back; that doesn’t exist,”Richardsonsaid, scoffing at the notion that Mosley has somehow regained his youthful vigor and skillset. “What you can do is reinvent yourself. You can be older and been through a lot of punishment, or you can learn from your experiences. Shane never took a lot of punishment but he’s gained a lot of knowledge.”
ButRichardsonalso understands how dynamic a fighter Alvarez is and knows all too well the hunger that burns inside the young man’s belly.
“You’ve always known that Julio Cesar Chavez was the king for a long time,” he added. “Who dethroned him? Oscar de la Hoya. Then Oscar was the king of boxing. Who dethroned him? The man to my left; Shane Mosley. So all Canelo knew growing up was that he has to dethrone Shane, to get one back forMexico. He’s a great fighter and we expect him to be at his best.”
With all the buzz surrounding the two combatants, both Mosley and Alvarez kept things terse, opting to speak with their fists on Saturday rather than spill a trove of clichéd palaver to the media.
“This is going to be a great fight,” a subdued though confident Mosley said on the dais. “I’m in great shape and I’m ready to rock & roll. I sound like a broken record because I keep saying that I’m ready but I am.”
Mosley looked like his usually self with his beaming smile and relaxed confidence. He’s been through the meat grinder a dozen times, an advantage he should enjoy come fight night. But Alvarez was brimming with confidence as well, and heeds that the world is expecting him to topple Mosley.
“I’ve prepared very well for this fight with Shane Mosley,” he said through an interpreter. “What can I say about him other than he’s a great champion and a great person? But I am confident that I am going to win on Saturday night. It will be a great fight but I am ready to beat him.”
And Mosley welcomes that with open arms, like he’s done so many times before.
“Canelo is a great young fighter who is ready to test himself against the elite fighters,” Mosley added. “And this is a golden opportunity for him. This is a great opportunity for me, too, so it’ll be a great fight.”
It should be a great fight, one that will answer virtually all the questions about both Canelo and Shane.
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