On July 12th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez returns to the ring in what is expected to be one of his toughest fights to date. The now 23 year old former champion is set to face reigning WBA light middleweight champion Erislandy Lara, and while there is no title on the line for the fight, the winner is expected to get the recognition as the best 154lb fighter in the world.
During a recent call with boxing media from around the world, I had a chance to speak with Canelo Alvarez and get his thoughts on the upcoming bout. Alvarez spoke on whether or not the animosity for this bout is real or if it’s just hype. Canelo also spoke on what it means to have his name up there with PPV stars like Mayweather & Pacquiao and gave his official prediction for the July 12th fight. Here is what Saul Alvarez had to say.
Jenna J: Saul, throughout the promotion of this fight, you’ve said that this fight has become personal. Do you have a dislike for Erislandy Lara or is that just for promotion?
Saul Alvarez: It’s real, for all the things that he’s said, all the insults he’s said to me and to Mexican boxing. I took all of that personal and this is a personal fight, I’m not playing or doing promotion. I don’t talk to promote fights.
Jenna J: Your last fight was the first time you headlined a Pay-Per-View event and it was a success. How does it feel that you’re now in talk with names like Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao as the top stars in boxing?
Saul Alvarez: I feel very happy because we have to show to the world that the Latinos and Mexicans can be at the top as well. It’s a real honor and I feel very happy to be on this level.
Jenna J: What is your official prediction for the fight and do you see this fight going the distance?
Saul Alvarez: The fight is very close and the only thing on my mind is winning, I’m visualizing the victory. As for a knockout, you can’t say if you’re gonna get a knockout or not, but I’m ready for anything.
ADDITIONAL CANELO ALVAREZ Q & A HIGHLIGHTS
How has Canelo’s training been going to this point?
Jose ‘Chepo’ Reynoso: We’re very happy and optimistic for the work that we’re doing and the results that we’re seeing. Saul is better each day, he’s worked very hard and he’s enthusiastic for this fight.
Erislandy Lara said that you fought a weaker Alfredo Angulo than he did. Was that a lesser Angulo or were you just more improved as a fighter?
Saul Alvarez: I think they can say a lot of things but the styles are different and I gave a great fight from the first round. Whatever they may say, it doesn’t bother me. I’m preparing myself for Lara, past fights don’t matter anymore, what matters is what’s ahead.
This fight will be fought at 155lbs, why weren’t you interested in fighting for the belt that Lara has?
Saul Alvarez: Because his title was an interim title at that point and we didn’t want to fight for that title, that is the reason. This fight is more about pride than a title and that’s why we decided that the fight wouldn’t be for the title.
Are you having trouble making 154lbs and is your future going to be at middleweight?
Saul Alvarez: No there’s no problem in making the limit for 154lbs. I feel comfortable at that weight and if my body wants to go up in weight then we will do it. At this moment I feel very good at 154lbs.
What are your thoughts on Floyd Mayweather taking fights on Mexican Holidays. Will something be done so that in the future you can headline on those dates?
Saul Alvarez: I think we should reclaim those dates for all the Mexicans because they are intended for Mexicans. Next year I want to fight on those dates.
Lara is a southpaw, what kind of issues can Lara’s southpaw stance present for you?
Saul Alvarez: Yes he’s a southpaw, he’s a dangerous fighter, he has very good boxing skills. The truth is, I adapt very well to southpaws, I’ve never had issues with southpaws and I hope this won’t be the exception.
You mentioned that you chose more dangerous opponents than both Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. Do you think that’s going to put you at a higher level in the future?
Saul Alvarez: What I said is that I always pick the hardest opponents. The question I was asked was that I’m in the position to pick my opponents like Mayweather and Pacquiao. My answer was that I pick the most dangerous opponents because it’s what the fans want to see, they want to see competitive fights and in the end we fight for the people.
As far as that taking me further in my career, that’s what I’m here for, to go far with my career. As for the difficult opponents, I feel good and I like tough challenges, that’s what’s important.