SAN DIEGO, November 1, 2015 – Floyd Mayweather is officially retired (so he says). Manny Pacquiao’s days in boxing are numbered. Sergio Martinez has retired, and Juan Manuel Marquez has his best days behind him. Wladimir Klitschko says he will carry on for several more years, but he hasn’t ever been a worldwide star like heavyweights named Tyson, Ali, Frazier, or Foreman.
Boxing now looks to the next generation for its new stars, names that generate fresh excitement among the fans and insiders. It is betting big on the 25-year-old redhead from Mexico whose baby face belies his veteran standing.
See video from the Canelo Alvarez tenth anniversary party and media workout at the House of Boxing in National City, California with trainer Eddy Reynoso.
Those who know Saul “Canelo” Alvarez believe he has everything it takes to be boxing’s standard-bearer. Alvarez has been a star in Mexico for some time, a country that takes its boxing seriously and its stars to its heart. Alvarez’ stock went way up after his most recent victory over American James Kirkland, a spectacular knockout victory in just three rounds in front of 30,000 screaming fans in Houston at Minute Maid Park. It was Alvarez’ first fight for HBO after being part of the Showtime stable. The network was very pleased with his debut.
His reward is a pay-per-view match-up testing his drawing power in the biggest bout of his career, a showdown with lineal middleweight champion Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico for his title in Las Vegas on May 21. This fight checks off all the requirements: big stakes for both boxers, personalities with loyal followings, a Mexico versus Puerto Rico rivalry, and two guys willing to get it on with fan friendly action in the ring.
Alvarez seems ready and more than able to embrace his role. At his recent media workout, Alvarez said, “I am not afraid of any fighter, but right now I am focused on Cotto. Once this fight is over we can move on to the next big fight.
“Every fight at this level has been difficult and the best that we can do is, be prepared. You can’t predict the outcome of a fight, but we make sure to leave no doubt in the ring.”
Alvarez’ work ethic has always been at the heart of his ability to perform well under an increasingly bright spotlight. He says it’s an honor to fight for his country and his countrymen. His manager and trainer Chepo Reynoso says of him, “Every day we are pushing Canelo and he does everything without question. He is a dedicated and hungry fighter who takes his career seriously. On November 21 we will raise our arm in victory for Mexico.”
Cotto (40-4-0, 33 KOs), at age 35 is ten years older than Canelo Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 KOs). Cotto is enjoying a career resurrection, winning his middleweight title from an injury diminished Sergio Martinez, followed by an impressive fourth round TKO over Australian Daniel Geale. Under the direction of Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, Cotto is enjoying a rare second act in boxing.
Alvarez celebrated his tenth anniversary as a professional boxer at a ceremony prior to his media workout at the House of Boxing in National City, California hosted by promoter Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Boxing. Alvarez viewed a tribute video including rare footage of his first professional fight on October 28, 2005 at age 15, a fourth round TKO victory over Abraham Gonzalez in Jalisco, Mexico.
De La Hoya understands what being in the media spotlight at a young age is like for an athlete. He won an Olympic gold medal and his first professional title at age 20 himself in 1992.
“Canelo has been fighting for 10 years now, but he’s still only 25-years-old,” said De La Hoya. “I think the best is yet to come with him. He has grown as a fighter every year, learning from victories and his losses. Legacy is important to him, and when all is said and done, I know he will be remembered as one of the best in the sport.
“Every fighter has learned from their experiences and Canelo and continues to progress as a fighter. He is only getting better and is a different, stronger, fighter compared to few years ago,” added De La Hoya.
With Marquez close to retiring and Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. falling from grace, Alvarez has stepped up as the flag bearer for Mexican boxing. “I have seen Canelo grow as a fighter his whole career and I believe he is ready to become the future of boxing and beating Cotto will prove it,” said Chepo Reynoso.
Alvarez has always possessed the power punching style typical of a Mexican boxer. In recent years he has evolved into the boxer-puncher, training to add sophisticated skills including better footwork and movement.
At his workout for the media, Alvarez showed impressive new hand speed and unexpected swiftness for his size during mitt work with trainer Eddy Reynoso for media at the House of Boxing in National City, California, not far from Canelo’s home base for training in northern San Diego County. Alvarez is naturally larger than Cotto, who is truly a super welterweight and admits he’s not a middleweight in actual size.
It appears to be a calculated decision for Alvarez to favor speed first, size and power second in preparation for his bout with Cotto. Make no mistake though, Alvarez still hits hard, behind only middleweight rival Gennady Golovkin and a few larger men like light heavyweight Sergey Kovalev.
Should Alvarez beat Cotto and take his middleweight title (and he is a three to one favorite among oddsmakers – I don’t disagree), the chess pieces move into place for Alvarez to take on the fearsome Golovkin. Alvarez has said repeatedly he is not afraid of Triple G, and said as much again at his media workout.
“I want to fight the big fights and am not afraid to take risks. I believe my fighting style and opponents over the years have shown that. I am here to prove I am the best and the best way to do that is fighting the best,” said Alvarez.
Having an undefeated record is admirable, but it is this kind of attitude that endears boxing fans to fighters like Alvarez and ensures their legacy in the sport.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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