RING No. 2-rated WBC junior middleweight beltholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez has a pretty good idea of how Kermit Cintron compares to his previous competition, and that on Saturday he might be facing the toughest test of his 39-fight career.
In particular, the 21-year-old Alvarez (38-0-1, 28 knockouts) knows that the 32-year-old Cintron (33-4-1, 28 KOs) boasts credentials that are far superior to those of Alfonso Gomez (23-5-1, 12 KOs), who caused problems for Alvarez before being stopped in the sixth round of their bout in September.
“First of all, for the fight with Gomez, I felt very good about it. I felt very good. I didn’t execute my gameplan 100 per cent, but I was comfortable in the fight. I felt good, and I got the job done,” said Alvarez.
“With regard to Kermit, he’s a better fighter. He’s at a higher level. He’s bigger, and he’s stronger, and, obviously, a former champion, so he’s a better fighter than Gomez.”
Cintron will definitely be bringing some world-class seasoning to the ring on Saturday. He has battled to a disputed draw with RING No. 3-rated pound-for-pound Sergio Martinez, and lost a controversial decision to former two-time beltholder Paul Williams. He was also the first man to defeat Alfredo Angulo, scoring a unanimous decision over the hammer-fisted contender in May of 2009.
“He’s a great ex-champion. But more than anything, I’m motivated because he’s a good fighter,” said Alvarez of Cintron.
“I’m fighting a very, very good fighter and a fighter that has a lot of experience. So the level of competition is actually what has me excited for this fight.”
Among the most notable wins for Alvarez was stopping former welterweight titleholder Carlos Baldomir with a sensational overhand right for a sixth-round knockout that left Baldomir lying face-first on the canvas.
In defeating Baldomir, Alvarez stopped a man who had gone the distance with Floyd Mayweather and the late Vernon Forrest. Baldomir had been stopped only once prior to facing Alvarez, and that was in the second round by Paulo Alejandro Sanchez in the seventh fight of Alvarez’s career, in May 1994.
“Carlos Baldomir said it best after the fight when he spoke to [Golden Boy Promotions President] Oscar [de La Hoya],” said Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, who promotes Alvarez.
“Baldomir said, ‘You know what? In all of the fights that I’ve had, I’ve never been hit as hard as I’ve been hit by Canelo.’ That statement, coming from Carlos Baldomir, shows you how special Canelo is.”
But Cintron believes that he has seen better.
“I have a lot of experience and I’ve fought a lot of good figthers. I’ve been through my ups and downs, and Canelo hasn’t had that. He hasn’t had that experience. I’ve always worked my way up to fight for world titles, and I’m coming in there to take the title away from him,” said Cintron.
“Canelo’s a good performer. He’s a world champion for a reason. I think that he’s a good fighter and he’s got a lot of skills. But I feeel that I’m a better fighter than he is. I’m strong as well and I can punch as well and I can box pretty good as well.”
“It’s a big fight, and this is probably going to be one of my biggest fights. I’m definitely looking forward to it. I’m definitely ready for Canelo and for whatever he brings.”
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com