Better Red Than Dead: Canelo Speaks!
Ulises Solis, whose jaw Canelo broke in a street fight five and a half years ago, might have something to say about Canelo being a “role model” …
On Saturday, May 6, at the T-Mobile Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, in a fight televised live on HBO Pay-Per-View, former two-weight champion Canelo Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs), the knockout artist from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, gets it on with former WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (50-2-1, 32 KOs), from Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico.
In anticipation of the bout, which will be a barnburner while it lasts, Canelo recently met with the press via teleconference call. Canelo normally speaks softly and carries a big punch. But at whatever volume he speaks, he tends to say nothing remarkable, and often says nothing at all.
But the fight with Chavez Jr. appears to have special meaning for the red-haired wunderkind. Perhaps because he and his opponent are Mexican, perhaps because the two men more or less vie for attention in their boxing-hungry homeland, Canelo is ginned up for this fight, based on what he had to say about the man he is about to face.
Canelo was asked, with all the subtlety of an anvil falling from a second-story window, if Chavez was the first of his 50 opponents whose head he wants to rip from his shoulders.
“No,” he said matter-of-factly. “He’s one more of the 50 of all my opponents that I’ve faced. I’ve wanted to rip their head off. I wanted to beat them. I wanted to them knock them out. This is a little extra. There’s a little bit more motivation, of course, because of the rivalry, but it’s another one of my fights.”
Neither man currently wears a championship belt. However much that might matter to some, Canelo is a big picture kind of guy and sees the fight as especially significant, whether there’s a title at stake or not.
“Titles are very important to me but this is above that,” said Canelo. “This goes above a title, any title. It’s for honor, for pride, and it’s very important for me. And to keep making history in my career.”
Chavez Jr. is less concerned with making history than with salvaging his career, which has taken something of a nosedive after quitting against Andrzej Fonfara three fights ago.
“As the great Bernard Hopkins once said, ‘Once a quitter, always a quitter,’” said Canelo. “So anything’s possible.”
But it looks like Chavez Jr. is taking this fight seriously, as well he might.
“I know that Canelo’s team may be thinking that it’s going to be an easy fight,” he said. “But it will be the other way around. It will be the most difficult of his career.”
“It doesn’t intimidate me,” said Canelo. “Look, I’ve been fighting professionally since I was 15 years old, so I’ve been fighting bigger and stronger guys. On the contrary, I’m very happy that he’s working hard, that he’s training hard and that he’s doing good, because you know what, that’s guarantees the people a great fight.”
Canelo and Chavez have history of a sort.
“This rivalry goes back about ten years, you know, to our time in Guadalajara,” explained Canelo. “They had the opportunity to make this fight years ago. They had the power to make this fight back then. They didn’t want to.
“As a person, you know, I don’t know him well, but just from what I hear from his actions and all, it’s like a guy that just doesn’t sustain what he says. You know, he just says a lot of things. It’s almost like he’s a little kid.”
Others have leveled that accusation at Chavez Jr. and it contains more than a grain of truth. But Chavez didn’t have to fight. Being the son of a legend could not have been easy. There are, after all, other if less profitable ways to earn a living.
Canelo, by contrast, “started from nothing, from the bottom up, from zero, and have worked my way up with a lot of sweat and sacrifices.
“He has his fans, as well. But I think a lot of his fans are more his father’s fans than his, and his fans follow his father, what his father says, because he’s shown a lot of ups and downs in his career, and he himself has not had a real disciplined career. He is not a role model for the young children and the young fighters.”
Ulises Solis, a flyweight champion whose jaw Canelo broke in a street fight five and a half years ago, might have something to say about Canelo being a “role model.”
Canelo is a superstar. He’s a multimillionaire. He’s also a darn good fighter. He doesn’t need to gild the lily.
When asked what concerns him most about Chavez Jr., Canelo said, “Look, I mean, obviously we have a strategy and I can’t say it now. Sometimes you build on that: Bell rings, the first round and that goes out the window and you’ve got to adapt to something else. And that’s what we’re doing.”
Canelo Alvarez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will be televised live on HBO Pay-Per-View starting at 9:00 PM ET/6:00 PM PT.