By Marc Livitz: Now firmly cemented in boxing lore is the intrigue which surrounds the weekend closest to the Cinco de Mayo holiday. Almost without exception and especially in recent decades, Las Vegas has been the host locale for a high profile bout to highlight the festivities.
By Marc Livitz: Now firmly cemented in boxing lore is the intrigue which surrounds the weekend closest to the Cinco de Mayo holiday. Almost without exception and especially in recent decades, Las Vegas has been the host locale for a high profile bout to highlight the festivities. In terms of the 21st century, Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. drove the proverbial bus as the biggest names in the sport until a few years ago, at which time Saul "Canelo" Alvarez grabbed hold of the fifth of May and rightfully did so as a citizen of Mexico. Although the redheaded lineal middleweight champion from Guadalajara, Jalisco took part in Cinco de Mayo weekend contests in Las Vegas as a youngster, it wasn’t really until May of 2016 when he became the definitive headliner in Sin City. His sixth round stoppage win over Amir Khan excited the crowd inside the newly minted T-Mobile Arena on the Strip.
On Saturday, May 4, Alvarez (51-1-2, 35 KO’s) will take on the supremely talented Danny "Miracle Man" Jacobs in Vegas in a twelve round bout for a plethora of championship belts, most of which are in Canelo’s trophy case. Jacobs (35-2, 29 KO’s) captured the vacant IBF middleweight title last October by way of a hard fought split decision over Sergiy Derevyanchenko. The cancer survivor from Brooklyn has also shared the ring with a common opponent of Alvarez, former middleweight juggernaut Gennady "GGG" Golovkin. In the eyes of many, Jacobs did enough to get the nod against Golovkin in March of 2017, who was unbeaten at the time as well as thought as perhaps unbeatable. However, the boxing world was much in a state of clamor and anticipation for a showdown between "GGG" and Canelo Alvarez.
They’d get it, of course and Alvarez officially received a draw in their first contest and a victory in the second, although public opinion continues to endlessly debate. In a short time, the 28 year old champion has seen as well as gone through miles of experiences ranging from a yearlong absence from the ring due to a positive test for a banned substance to a quick sojourn to the super middleweight division last December. His third round knockout win over Michael "Rocky" Fielding for the WBA super middleweight title had many asking the question as to whether or not he’d stay at 168 pounds to effectively clean out that division in the same fashion as he sought to do as a middleweight. It was a hello and a goodbye, as he made the move back to the class eight pounds to the south. His return to the middleweight ranks will not be an easy one. On Tuesday, Canelo took part in an international conference call to speak to the media alongside his team of trainers made up of father and son duo Jose "Chepo" and Eddy Reynoso in addition to Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions Oscar De La Hoya.
Selected Highlights Listed Below
Opening Statements, Oscar De La Hoya: "Canelo introduced T-Mobile Arena to the boxing world and he’ll be making his fifth appearance there. Tickets are running out fast and we’re expecting a packed house."
Eddy Reynoso: "We’re working just as hard as always. We know that we have a tremendously talented fighter in front of us, but we’ll be ready."
Jose "Chepo" Reynoso: "Once again, we’ll give the fans the absolute best. These are the two best fighters in the division and we know this is a difficult fight in front of us."
Canelo’s thoughts on Jacobs’ bout with Gennady Golovkin: "I watched that fight. We’ve watched other ones as well to see how he adapts to different opponents. Based on that, we prepare for the fights. That fight was close and to me, Jacobs won that fight."
On if he’s hoping for a third fight with Golovkin: "First things first but as a team, we have a goal. We have a goal to win all of the belts and if Golovkin has a belt, then we’ll give the fans a third fight. We gave them two beautiful ones already. My goal is to win four titles. That’s my goal this year."
Canelo’s views of Danny Jacobs: "It’s going to be a very difficult fight, especially in the first few rounds until I make my adjustments to his style. He’s a complete fighter. He knows how to change from southpaw to orthodox. We know the risks, but a fighter of my talent must be able to make adjustments. He has a unique style. I have fought all styles and with my experience, it doesn’t matter what you put in front of me."
If he can handle the power and southpaw stance of Jacobs: "Southpaws don’t bother me. Jacobs can switch but it’s impossible that he’s better at southpaw than at orthodox. I’m very confident in what I can do. I have faced strong fighters out there before, so that doesn’t bother me."
On how he feels about fighting on Cinco De Mayo: "It’s like all of my fights. Of course, these dates in May and September are for my country and I love boxing. This is what I do. It’s important to be fighting on these dates and it’s a great responsibility. I want to be remembered as one of the greats and that’s why I continue to take these kind of fights."
Canelo on his time as a young dreamer: "When I first started as a young kid, I always dreamed of becoming a young champion. As I grew, I kept on challenging myself. When I won one title, I imagined winning more and I’m still learning about myself. I continue to learn and put it into practice."
On his popularity and fan support: "More than ever, everybody wants to fight me and beat me. We’re always exposed to that and in boxing, anything can happen. That’s why I train harder than ever, so it doesn’t happen. I’m very grateful for all of the support and that’s why I keep giving them these types of fights."
"Chepo" Reynoso on Canelo’s training habits: "He listened but also put it into effect. He wants to be remembered as one of the greatest ever to box. That’s why he continues to listen and learn."
Canelo on possibly moving up to light heavyweight: "Everything is possible. We’ve always been willing to take on all challenges. The door is open and it’s possible."