– Eoin Mundow speaks exclusively with Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez –
I met you prior to your fight with Shane Mosley at Big Bear. I’m not sure you remember? But in the midst of a blizzard you were very accommodating and agreed to get out of bed and do a photo shoot and interview at 8am when you were snowed in at Big Bear. So first of all I’d like to apologise for the inconvenience and thank you for your time back then.
Not worries at all.
It seems like a lifetime ago. But how has life changed for you since being the so called prodigy to now being recognised as boxing’s biggest star?
I don’t see myself as boxing’s biggest star. I still feel like I have a lot to accomplish and every step of the way to get to where I am at my career has taken a lot of hard work. I am trying to build my legacy in the history books doing what I love to do and am very flattered that people hold me at a high esteem. I only hope to keep giving the people exciting fights, they are my motivation to continue fighting.
Marvin Hagler famously said that “Its hard to get up and run at 5am when you are wearing silk pyjamas” – What drives you forward as a fighter now that you have attained superstar status?
Again very flattered that people hold me to high esteem, but I love boxing, it’s my passion; and delivering a great performance for all my fans and providing for my family are the big motivators in my career. I only hope to continue to perform at a high level and give fight fans great fights.
You performance against Amir Khan was seasoned and emphatic. Did the knockout victory give you a lot of satisfaction? And what positives did you draw from the encounter?
Every fight at this stage of my career is dangerous and you cant take any opponent lightly. I knew the type of fighter Amir was going to be and I needed to go into the ring with that mentality. That he was coming into the ring to take something away from me. The knockout was just something that happened I was not looking for it specifically, but my objective that night was to win and give fans a great fight.
What did it feel like when you landed that right hand on the chin of Amir Khan? You showed a lot of compassion towards Amir after knocking him out. Did you have any major concerns for his welfare?
I didn’t expect to knock him out at the time and at first it was very exciting but then I was very concerned. I know as a fighter to you have to have a be very focused in the ring, you think that the opponent is there to do the same thing to you. But in the end it’s not personal. I like Amir he is a great person and of course I was concerned about his safety. Every fighter knows the dangers when you step into the ring but I doesn’t mean you don’t understand that moment of fear and doubt. He is a fellow boxer and I was very concerned about him. I am glad that he was able to get up and everything turned out fine in the end. My respects to him.
The Reynoso family have been instrumental in your success. Do you believe continuity and loyalty are fundamental to your development? And how do you maintain a a fresh approach to every training camp?
The Reynoso family is my family. They have been part of life for a very long time and have taught me everything I know. We have grown together and continue to grow together. Every fight is different and every fighter is different so our approach to training camp is very much part of that process. We training to prepare for that specific fighter and their style of fighting. Over the years we have added different techniques to training camp that have made me a better athlete, like a nutritionist, a physical therapist a strength and condition coach all of these things keep us up to date to training, surrounding ourselves by other professionals who have new and better insights to training and recovery.
A lot of people in America are sleeping on/under estimating Liam Smith. Do you pay much attention to the fans/critics who were demanding a marquee name?
No I do not pay attention to the criticism. Liam is a world champion for a reason, he didn’t get there without hard work and people should respect him as a fighter. This is his first fight in the U.S. and his first big introduction to the U.S. boxing fandom. There is a reason he is undefeated and has won his last eight fights via knockout, he is a dangerous fighter. I know he is coming to the U.S. to make an impact and I am definitely not taking him lightly and the fans shouldn’t either. Like I said before, every fight at this stage of my career is dangerous and I have to be prepared for everything on September 17.
You won the WBC middleweight championship by beating Miguel Cotto. Was it ever your intention to fight for middleweight championship of the world so early in your career? Or did it just make great financial and marketing sense to challenge a pay-per-view star such as Cotto?
I really look up to Miguel Cotto, he is a great fighter and true professional. Fighting him was something that was brought up a couple of times in my career, we have fought in similar weight classes I actually held the WBA Super Welterweight World Title in 2013, he had held the same title from 2010 to 2012. So fighting Cotto was something that was always talked about, we were in the same weight class at 154. So when he moved up to middleweight that was still something that was discussed because he was naturally a fighter who fought at 154 and something we both felt comfortable doing. For me facing a fighter like Miguel was not only an honor but a professional accomplishment. As a fighter we want to fight the best and he is definitely one of the best, luckily for all the fans our teams were able to come to an agreement and make this fight happen.
After the victory against Khan you stated “Like we say in Mexico, we don’t fuck around. We don’t fight for belts and stuff like that. I don’t fear anyone. We don’t come to play in this sport”. When I sat on the press bus back to the MGM Grand the consensus amongst the media is that we would have to wait for the fight. And so it is what it is now.
Do you pay much attention to the parodies on social media that portray you as a fighter who ducks a challenge, despite your strong rhetoric?
I still stand by this and I can say for my team and myself that we did have conversations with their team the next day. Unfortunately, there is more to making a fight happen than just the fighters wanting to face each other. I want to face Golovkin and I know I can beat him, I am not afraid of any fighter. However, there are terms to agree to and everyone has to feel comfortable with the terms and that is what happened here the negotiations didn’t go through.
You sparred each other at The Summit and I gather you have cordial relationship. Did you take anything away from that sparring session that you believe give you an insight into Golovkin’s strength, power and technical ability should you face one another?
I am very confident in my skills and knowledge and I feel confident that I can beat Golovkin. I respect him as a fighter and what he has been able to accomplish but that does not faze me.
When or if if you fight with GGG, do believe this is a fight that will define your legacy?
At this point of my career every fight is important and one that will shape by legacy as a fighter. Facing GGG will just be another fight.
You are 26 now. Do you feel you are reaching your peak? Or can you develop further as a fighter?
I am in the best shape of my life and still growing into my power and potential. I have many more years to come and I am looking forward to growing and continuing to cement my legacy in the boxing world.
What did you learn from the Mayweather fight? And if the opportunity presented itself to rematch, what would you do do differently?
Fighting Mayweather was definitely a learning experience and I have no regrets. I have grown so much from that experience and feel like a stronger and more skilled fighter. I have since them faced fighters with similar styles and have been able to adjust. I’m very open to a re-match, I think fans would really enjoy watching it again. And this time I feel like I would be the better fighter, I have the power and the skill to face him.
What can we expect from Canelo in September against Liam Smith?
This fight will be very exciting for all the fans we are both strong powerful punchers and not afraid to come forward. This fight will have a lot of action for the fan that loves to watch fighters that are not afraid of each other.
You are becoming very accustomed with the UK fans, do you think you would ever fight in London or the UK in the near future?
Of course, would love to fight in the UK. I love going to London, every time I’ve gone for press conferences the fans have always been very fantastic! They are big fight fans and to be embraced by them is a great honor for me. I am very looking forward to fighting in the UK at some point in my career.
It is a long shot. But if Kell Brook beat Gennady Golovkin would you be happy to challenge him for the Middleweight title?
I am not opposed to fighting anyone.
Known for his power and dominance in the ring, Canelo Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) will look to win his third title in the junior middleweight division when he challenges undefeated heavy-hitter Liam “Beefy” Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs) for the WBO Junior Middleweight World Championship on Saturday, September 17. A battle between two power-punchers, Canelo vs. Smith promises action between two fighters willing to take a punch in order to secure the next Knockout of the Year. The event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.