LAS VEGAS — Thursday’s final press conferece at the MGM Grand’s Hollywood Theater began with Golden Boy Promotions’ CEO Richard Schaefer displaying a red-haired doll given to him by the late boxing writer Burt Sugar, who likened it to rising WBC junior middleweight beltholder Saul Alvarez.
Later, Alvarez was called “a hero” to crime-ridden Mexico by WBC President Jose Sulaiman, who also called the 21-year-old his Godson.
“He’s a rock star,” said Golden Boy Promotions President, Oscar De La Hoya during his introduction of Alvarez (39-0-1, 29 KOs). “I saw that first-hand myself when we promoted a fight in Mexico. We both got out of the car, and everybody rushed to him, and I was there standing on my own by myself.
“I said to myself, ‘First of all, this feels nice,’ but I admitted to myself, ‘It’s over for me.’ He’s fought the likes of the Matthew Hattons to win the world title, and Alfonso Gomez. He’s coming off a win over Kermit Cintron. For this fight, he trained at Big Bear, and as we know, that’s Sugar Shane Mosley’s home.”
On Saturday night, at the MGM Grand, Alvarez will defend his belt against Mosley (46-7-1, 39 KOs), a 40-year-old veteran who has a son, Shane Mosley Jr., who is the same age as Alvarez.
Alvarez is said to be approaching super star status in Mexico, and a win over Mosley, who has twice beaten De La Hoya, would only improve that.
“Alvarez is already a star in Mexico, and they brought him over here to America to make him a superstar,” said Mosley’s trainer, Naazim Richardson.
“It’s difficult to prepare for him, but when he fought those other guys, he wasn’t fghting Shane Mosley. He’s been watching Shane before Shane even knew who he was, saying he’s going to get one back Mexico.”
Alvarez-Mosley is part of an undercard headlined by WBC welterweight titleholder Floyd Mayweather Jr. pursuing his eighth title belt in five weight divisions against WBA junior middleweight beltholder Miguel Cotto.
“What can I say about Shane Mosley. He’s a great champion and he’s accomplished so much in his career,” said Alvarez, whose nickname is “Canelo,” for “Cinnamon,” and, who, in victory over Mosley, has said he would favor a bout against the Mayweather-Cotto winner.
“I’ve trained hard for this fight,”I feel that I’m going to win this fight, and I’ll do it for all of Mexico and my whole team.”
Alvarez’s trainer, Jose Reynoso, was more direct.
“I’m not going to say much,” said Reynoso. “But on Saturday, Shane Mosley is going to be the door that Canelo’s going to walk through to enter the big leagues.”
Mosley, however, is not ready to concede victory.
“For this particular fight, I’m in great shape, and I’m ready to rock and roll. I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready. I’m really ready. I thank Canelo for the opportunity to be able to fight for the title,” said Mosley, who is 21-0 against fighters of Mexican decent.
“They didn’t really have to accept the fight. They could have fought somebody else and maybe had an easier time. But he wanted to test himself and see if he’s really among the elite fighters. This is, if you will, his golden opportunity.”
Also, Deandre Latimore will engage in a clash of southpaws with former welterweight titleholder Carlos Quintana, and junior welterweight prospect Jessie Vargas takes on former titleholder Steve Forbes.