Lem Satterfield

Q&A: Alvarez challenges Chavez: “Let’s see who has the most followers”

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RingTV.com caught up to unbeaten WBC 154-pound titleholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, who will make a Showtime-televised fifth defense of his belt against Josesito Lopez on Sept. 15 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The Mexican star, who turns 22 on July 18, will fight Lopez in the main event of a doubleheader that starts with WBC featherweight beltholder Jhonny Gonzalez  pursuing his 13th straight win and his 12th knockout during that run in his fifth defense against former 122-pound titleholder Daniel Ponce de Leon.

Alvarez-Lopez takes place on Mexican Independence Day weekend on the same night that his rival countryman, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. defends his WBC middleweight crown against RING champion Sergio Martinez in a Top Rank-promoted show from the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas on HBO Pay-Per-View.

Alvarez (40-0-1, 29 knockouts) is coming off the fourth defense of his belt against ex-titleholder Sugar Shane Mosley, whom he defeated by unanimous decision on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Miguel Cotto pay-per-view card in May.

In vanquishing Mosley, Alvarez ended a winning streak of 21 consecutive bouts against fighters of Mexican decent, including two each over Oscar De La Hoya and Fernando Vargas and another over Antonio Margarito. Mosley knocked out Vargas and Margarito.

Lopez (30-4, 18 KOs) is coming off an upset ninth-round TKO over former welterweight titleholder Victor Ortiz (29-4-2, 22 KOs) on June 23, and will be making his 154-pound debut against Alvarez.

Lopez fought at a career-high 144 and three-quarters pounds against Ortiz when he entered a clash weighing more than 140 pounds for only the eighth time as a professional.

Alvarez shared his thoughts on Lopez, Chavez Jr. and Mayweather, among other things, in this Q&A.

Translator: Ramiro Gonzalez

altRingTV.com: So what are your thoughts on the fight?

Saul Alvarez: Look, it’s going to be a very interesting fight. Josesito is a tough fighter, and he wanted the opportunity after beating Victor. I honestly think that this will be a very entertaining fight for the fans.

RingTV.com: Do you feel any more pressure as the overwhelming favorite, and the fact that there will be some critics who say that Lopez is too small for you?

SA: The critics will always be there, whether it’s in life or in sports. They will be everywhere. The fact is that Josesito Lopez won the opportunity to face me by beating the fighter that I was supposed to fight.

I was supposed to fight Victor Ortiz on Sept. 15, and Josesito beat him. I don’t dwell on those things. Someone is always going to criticize this or criticize that. 

But in boxing, anything can happen. He destroyed the dreams of Victor Ortiz in order to fight me. He destroyed all of the opinions of the experts. Everybody.

So I’m here to fight Josesito Lopez because he earned the right to be where he is. It’s very simple, Josesito Lopez won the opportunity.

RingTV.com: How satisfying was your victory over Mosley, ending his winning streak against Mexican fighters?

SA: I was and I am still very happy about that victory. Mosley taught me a lot of things throughout that fight, and I am a better fighter as a result of that.

I didn’t go into the fight thinking about the consecutive victories that he had over Mexicans, but I was just doing my job and preparing well and properly for that fight.

Honestly, I feel that it was a great performance, and I don’t think that anybody dominated Mosley throughout his career like I did in that fight on that night.

altRingTV.com: Do you agree with Mosley’s assessment that you are “up there” on a level with Mayweather and Pacquiao?

SA: Look, I appreciate what Shane Mosley said, but I am still learning. Honestly, I don’t want to go that far, but I respect what Mosley said.

I still need to improve more, in fact, and I know that I will. There will be a time when I am there, but I need to work more and more.

There are so many of the finer details that I need to improve on, and on my skills. But eventually, what Mosley said about me will come true. I’m going to show you what Canelo can truly do.

RingTV.com: Will you be disappointed if you do not score a knockout against Lopez?

SA: You know, in boxing, nothing is written in stone. You can’t just say, “this is definitely going to happen.” No, no, no, no. Starting in the first round, I’m going to see what the situation is.

If the knockout comes, then it will come. But you have to work for the knockout, because it won’t come just like that. And Josesito has a big heart and a good chin and he’s a good fighter.

But I’m going to go out there and work hard like always, and I’m going to go into the ring and to my 100 percent best to win. I don’t feel like I have to say that I have to knock him out.

I’m not a man who likes to make those types of predictions. Things happen for a reason. Like I said, anything can happen in boxing. But I’m going to win the fight.

RingTV.com: Your thoughts on the fact that you and Chavez are fighting on Mexican Independence Day weekend on the same night in the same town?

SA: You know what? I like challenges. Life is full of them. I like the challenges of the sport. Chavez has his pride, and I have my pride.

So let’s see who has the most followers. He has his followers, and I have my followers who want to come and see me fight. Chavez has his own fans.

I don’t want to worry about his fight. That’s fine. Like Chavez, I like challenges in life, and I like challenges in sports, and on Sept. 15, this is going to be one of them.

RingTV.com: Given that fans are clamoring for a fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao that has not yet happened, do you ever see a fight between yourself and Chavez coming to fruition?

SA: Anything can happen. There are a lot of things about that fight and maybe we can make that fight. Who knows? We’re in the same sport and he has his own legion of followers and I have my own.

Even though we’re in a different weight, because I’m at 154 and he’s at 160, I think that is okay and that doesn’t matter to me. I think that it’s up to our promoters to make the fight.

If the fans are asking for it and requesting for the fight to happen, then, yes, I will fight him. We would have to do whatever it takes to make that fight happen.

But I’m not dreaming of that right now because there are a lot of fighters who want to fight me in my own division. cotto vs mayweather_1But when the times comes to make that fight, then I will do it. Why not?

RingTV.com: How badly do you want a fight with Mayweather?

SA: Honestly and sincerely, that’s the fight that I want. Why? Because he’s the best pound-for-pound in the world, and he’s presently fighting in my division.

That’s the real fight that drives me and that’s the fight that makes me think a lot. So that’s the fight that I really, really want.

 

 

Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions

Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank

Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions

Lem Satterfield can be reached at lemuel.satterfield@gmail.com

 

 

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