During a recent workout in advance of Saturday’s RING championship bout against Austin Trout, WBC junior middleweight titleholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez expressed confidence that he is “100 percent ready for Trout” and will emerge victorious.
“If I want to win this fight, I have to move fast. I have to watch out for Trout’s left,” said Alvarez, 22, who is 41-0-1 with 30 knockouts.
“I’ve been studying his style, and I can definitely adapt to it. It’s going to be tough, but I know I can beat him. I trust I have what it takes to beat him.”
Alvarez watched in frustration as Trout unanimously decisioned his then-34-year-old brother, Rigoburto Alvarez, in February of 2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico, and is motivated by the notion of revenge.
“On Saturday, after defeating Trout,” said Alvarez. “I will raise my hand and my belt and will be thinking of my brother. That belt is his.”
Alvarez was also ringside in December as Trout unanimousdly decisioned three-division titlewinner Miguel Cotto (37-3, 30 KOs) at New York’s Madison Square Garden, ending Cotto’s unbeaten run at The Garden at 7-0 with four stoppage wins, and Cotto’s overall record in New York at 9-0 with five stoppages.
“We just want to up the intensity from the Miguel Cotto fight. Even though they’re not the same fighter, they have similar styles. We want to up the intensity, because Canelo is a bit more intense of a fighter than Miguel Cotto,” said Trout.
“He’s an all-around fighter, and he doesn’t have many faults, but he’s not as strong in some areas as others, and we’re going to exploit that. We’re preparing for the total package. Canelo’s a world champion, so he has to have what it takes. They wouldn’t have given him the belt otherwise.”
OMAR FIGUROA-ABNER COTTO PRIMED FOR ALVAREZ-TROUT UNDERCARD BOUT
“When I have to fight, I’m always ready to fight at my best,” said Abner Cotto, a 25-year-old boxer from Caguas, Puerto Rico. “I’ll be representing my people from Puerto Rico on Saturday at the Alamodome, and I won’t let them down.”
Figueroa is a 23-year-old slugger from Weslaco, Texas.
“I’m excited for the fight. This is what I’ve been waiting for. It’s a good matchup featuring two undefeated fighters,” he said.
“Neither of us has a blemish in our record. The main event is a super-mega fight, but I am going to do my best to give the fans their money’s worth.”
MARCOS MAIDANA-JOSESITO LOPEZ HEATS UP FOR JUNE 8
Although the June 8 main event at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. features welterweights Marcos Maidana (33-3, 30 KOs) and Josesito Lopez (30-5, 18 KOs), it is only one part of a triple-header that is shaping up to be potentially among the year’s deepest cards.
It also features hard-hitting junior middleweight Alfredo Angulo (22-2, 18 KOs) against savvy southpaw Erislandy Lara (17-1-2, 11 KOs), as well as a super middleweight matchup between Cameroon native Sakio Bika (31-5-2, 21 KOs) and Mexico’s Marco Antonio Periban (20-0, 13 KOs) for the WBC’s belt formerly held by RING and WBA champion Andre Ward.
“Josesito Lopez is a tough challenge,” said Maidana, who has scored two straight knockouts. “But I’m ready for everything he will bring to the ring on June 8. Beating him is the next step to getting a world title shot and I know I’ll get the victory.”
Lopez is coming off a fifth-round knockout loss to Alvarez in September that followed his own ninth-round stoppage victory over Victor Ortiz in June.
“I fight my best at home, and with the fans in my corner on June 8, Maidana doesn’t have a chance,” said Lopez, of Riverside, Calif. “He’s going to push me hard from start to finish, but that’s when I truly shine. I promise this will be a great fight for the fans.”
Lara is coming off a technical draw with Vanes Martirosyan last November.
“Angulo hits hard and is a tough fighter, making this a classic boxer versus puncher matchup. I’m really excited for this fight,” said Lara.
“Come June 8, I’m going to put on a boxing display and finally get the ‘W’ over a top fighter that has been taken from me in my past fights.”
Angulo has won two straight since being knocked out in the sixth round by James Kirkland in November of 2011.
“Lara is one of Cuba’s greatest talents, but I’ll have the California fans on my side,” said Angulo. “I’m determined to do whatever it takes to win. This is the most important fight of my career, and I will perform like it when the bell rings.”
Bika lost to Ward by decision in November of 2010, and also suffered earlier losses against Lucian Bute and Joe Calzaghe. Bika is coming off February’s unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Nikola Sjekloca of Montenegro.
“Ever since I turned pro, my only goal was to win a world championship,” said Bika, “and on June 8, Marco Antonio Periban won’t be able to stop me from getting that belt.”
Periban’s last fight was a second-round knockout against Samuel Miller.
“I’ve trained hard, I’ve made many sacrifices, and I feel that my time is now to become Mexico’s next world champion,” said Periban.
“Sakio Bika will be my toughest challenge, but I have the skills, determination and heart to beat him. I’ll beat him and become the first Mexican super middleweight world champion and make history for all of Mexico.”
WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO EXPRESSES ADMIRATION FOR RIVAL FRANCESCO PIANETA
RING IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (59-3, 50 KOs) is preparing for his EPIX-televised May 4 bout at The SAP-Arena in Mannheim, Germany, against former sparring partner Francesco Pianeta (28-0, 15 KOs).
A cancer survivor, Pianeta underwent surgery in early 2010 following a unanimous-decision triumph over Evgeny Orlov, and returned to the ring with a first-round stoppage of Mike Middleton in December of 2010.
Klitschko represents the eighth fight since overcoming the disease for Pianeta, who is coming off November’s first-round knockout of Nelxon Dario Dominguez.
“Francesco has already won the toughest fight of his life: He beat cancer,” said Klitschko, 37, of his 28-year-old rival during a Wednesday media day in his training in Austria.
“I will definitely not underestimate him. I will do everything to defend the titles that I have collected in the years. Although I just turned 37, I feel better than at the age of 27.”
Klitschko has twice faced Tony “The Tiger” Thompson, a southpaw fighter of similar stature to the 6-foot-5 Pianeta.
Klitschko weighed a career-high 249 pounds when he stopped Thompson in the sixth round in July of last year. It was a rematch of their first clash in July of 2008, when a 241-pound Klitschko scored an 11th-round knockout of a 247 1/2 pound Thompson.
Klitschko will be fighting for the second time since the death of former trainer Manny Steward on October of 25 at the age of 68. Chief sparring partner Johnathon Banks, at Steward’s urging before he passed, served as trainer for the fight against Wach.
Born in Italy, but having lived in Germany since the age of 6, Pianeta battled to a draw with former contender Albert Sosnowski in April of 2009, and earned 10-round unanimous decisions over former titleholder Oliver McCall and former contender Frans Botha in May and September of last year, respectively.
Klitschko-Pianeta will be shown live and exclusively on RTL in Germany, while EPIX will broadcast in the U.S.
VIC DARCHYNIAN RETURNS TO THE RING UNDER TOP RANK ON MAY 11
Former two-division titleholder Vic Darchynyan (38-5-1, 27 KOs) will debut under the Top Rank banner on May 11 against Mexico’s Francisco Javier Gallo (18-6-1, 10 KOs) at the Uni-Trade Stadium in Laredo, Texas, the promotional company has announced.
Uni-Trade Stadium is the new, state-of-the-art home of the Laredo Lemurs of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball League, from which Darchinyan-Gallo will be televised live on UniMás as the main event of Solo Boxeo Tecate starting at 11 p.m. ET.
“Vic brings an all-action style of fighting to a very exciting boxing division,” said Todd duBoef, president of Top Rank. “I am looking forward to watching Vic bring it on May 11.”
The telecast will also feature two-time Méxican Olympian Oscar Valdez (3-0, 3 KOs), who, like Darchinyan, is managed by Frank Espinoza, in a six-round featherweight bout.
BRANDON RIOS SUPPORTS FUNDRAISING WALK TOWARD CURE FOR CANCER
Once-beaten junior welterweight Brandon Rios and his team members will participate in a fundraising walk/run on June 23 for the Annual Padres Contra El Cancer Stand For Hope 5k. The event will be held at the Pasadena Rose Bowl.
Rios is coming off last month’s unanimous-decision loss to Mike Alvarado, whom Rios knocked out in the seventh round of their first bout in October.
Photo by Gene Blevins, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Stephanie Trapp
Photo by Tom Casino, Showtime
Photos by Sörli Binder, SAP Arena.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com