LAS VEGAS — WBC junior middleweight titleholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez gives a blunt assessment of former three-division champ Sugar Shane Mosley, against whom he will make the fourth defense of his belt on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
“You really can’t compare him to anybody I’ve fought. I think that he’s a complete fighter,” said Alvarez, who, at age 21, is 19 years younger than Mosley. “He’s fast, he’s strong, he’s got everything, so you can’t really compare him to anybody. I’ve never faced anybody like him.”
Although Mosley is 0-2-1 in his past three fights and has not experienced a victory in more than three years, Alvarez (39-0-1, 29 KOs), nevertheless, stands by his belief that he is facing his most difficult challenge to date.
“He’s a veteran fighter who can still beat a lot of young guys,” said Alvarez. “Despite his age, he’s taken very good care of himself, so I’ve prepared for the best Mosley ever.”
Although Alvarez was troubled by early pressure from Alfonso Gomez before stopping him in the sixth round last September, Mosley offers a completely different challenge.
“I’m going to have to be smarter than him and going to have to be able to take advantage of certain situations tbecause he’s so different. He’s a complete fighter. The key for me in this fight is not to get desparate and to take my time. I have to stick to my gameplan,” said Alvarez.
“Sometimes, you can take him out of his element and he can lose control a little bit. I feel that any of the fighters that I face, they’re all a part of certain steps that you take to advance your career. This is another gate that I have to walk through. Mosley being who he is, he’s going to lead to much bigger fights.”
Alvarez wants the winner of Mayweather-Cotto next in the fall.
“It would be an honor for me to fight Mayweather. That’s within my plans,” said Alvarez. “It would also be a great honor to fight Cotto. He’s a great fighter and I would be delighted to fight him.”
In addition to a potential shot at the Mayweather-Cotto winner, Alvarez embraces the chance to end Mosley’s success against Mexican fighters, to whom he never has lost.
“On May 5, the only thing that I want is to end that streak. That’s a motivation. Very much so,” said Alvarez. “My fans, a lot of people around me, people on Twitter, they all have all told me, ‘please, put a stop to him.’ Hopefully, on Saturday, I will be able to do that for them.”
MOSLEY: ‘I’M NOT THINKING ABOUT THE FIGHT GOING TO A DECISION’
In Alvarez, Mosley (46-7-1, 39 KOs), who turned 40 in September, is facing a man who is the same age as his 21-year-old son, Shane Mosley Jr.
Mosley is back at the MGM Grand for the first time since suffering his past two losses to Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao on May 1 and May 7 of 2010 and 2011 respectively.
But Mosley said injury factored into those losses, claiming that he is fully prepared for Alvarez.
“There were some physical problems in the Pacquiao and the Mayweather fights, but Mayweather and Pacquiao both won the fight. But that’s in the past. This is now,” said Mosley.
“I’m healthy as can be. So the motivation is to fight the way that I know that I can fight. Alvarez is not really a slugger and he’s not really a boxer and he’s a good fighter. He does leave himself open a little bit.”
“I live in Pamona, California, so I’m sort of part Mexican. There are a lot of different gyms and Mexican gyms that I’ve trained in. That’s where I get that grit and that hard-nosed fighting style,” said Mosley.
“So if he’s supposedly the next Mexican hero, there is going to be a big toll to pay. I’m not a stepping stone or a guy that they’re going to walk over. They’re going to have to pay a hefty price in the ring.”
Mosley also has gone the distance in losses to Pacquiao, Mayweather, the late Vernon Forrest and Winky Wright.
“I think that my experience is going to make a lot of difference and that the speed and power is going to make a lot of difference,” said Mosley.
“Just overall, my speed and dealing with it is going to be a problem for him. I’m not trying for a decision. I’m not even thinking about the fight going to a decision.”
JESSIE VARGAS TAKES ‘STEP UP’
In undercard fights, junior welterweight prospect Jessie Vargas takes on former titleholder Steve Forbes, and Deandre Latimore will engage in a clash of southpaws with former welterweight titleholder Carlos Quintana.
Vargas (18-0, 9 KOs) is facing perhaps his most determined rival in the 35-year-old Forbes (35-10, 11 KOs), who has held a major 130-pound title, was the runner up in the second season of The Contender series, challenged ex-beltholder Andre Berto for a welterweight title, and went the 12-round distance with Oscar De La Hoya in a junior middleweight bout.
“This guy is a step up. He’s in shape. He was Alvarez’s main sparring partner, and he worked with Jorge Linares before that. So he’s been busy and he’s been in shape. It’s going to be a competitive matchup,” said Vargas, 22.
“I think that my promoters have a lot of trust in me and a lot of confidence and they know my potential. They’ve been putting in with good opponents. That’s saying a lot. I’m stepping up.”
Vargas is coming off wins over Lanardo Tyner and Josesito Lopez in February and September, respectively, but also owns a knockout of former titleholder Vivian Harris.
“The Tyner fight was my first fight at 147, but I like a challenge, and my promoters know it. But that’s what I want,” said Vargas. “I want someone who is going to come and try to beat me. I like competitive fights. This is what I call fun. I don’t need 30 fights to fight for a title. Hopefully, by the end of the year, I’ll be ready.”
In addition to Latimore (23-3) and Quintana (28-3, 22 KOs), there are four other fights on the card.
Antonio Orozco (13-0, 9 KOs), of San Diego, against Dillet Frederick (8-5-3, 5 KOs), of Fort Myers, Fla., and Keith Thurman (16-0, 15 KOs), of Clearwater, Fla., versus Brandon Koskin (16-0-1, 8 KOs), of Hannibal, Mo. will be featured in eight-round welterweight bouts.
Another eight-rounder has Omar Figueroa (15-0-1, 12 KOs), of Weslaco, Tex., facing Robbie Cannon (12-6-2, 6 KOs), of Pevely, Mo., in a lightweight matchup, and there is a six-round featherweight clash between Braulio Santos (5-0, 5 KOs), of Carolina, PR., and Juan Sandoval (5-8-1, 3 KOs), of San Bernardino, Calif.
MAYWEATHER VS. PAULIE MALIGNAGGI? M&M
Should newly-crowned WBA welterweight beltholder Paulie Malignaggi (31-4, 7 KOs) gain an unlikely shot at Mayweather, the promotion could be interesting.
“Let’s see what happens this weekend. Who knows? Maybe we’re going to see Mayweather and Malignaggi, and we can call it M&M,” quipped Golden Boy Promotions CEO, Richard Schaefer. “With Mayweather and Paulie, you would have two talkers and it would certainly be the most talked about fight of all time.”
Added Malignaggi: “And the most talked about 24/7 of all time.”
Photos by Naoki Fukuda.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com