Golden Boy President Oscar De La Hoya said he believes that Saul “Canelo” Alvarez will not only be the first man to defeat Floyd Mayweather Jr., but that he will do so in less than eight rounds when they meet for Alvarez’s RING and WBC junior middleweight belts on Sept. 14 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Showtime Pay Per View.
“Fighting on Mexican Independence Day is such an honor,” said De La Hoya, during a two-hour open workout on Tuesday for Alvarez at Shane Mosley’s jam-packed home gym in Big Bear, Calif. “You know both guys are going to be in great shape, and it is going to be an exciting main event. But I’m betting on my horse. I feel it could be time for the changing of the guard.”
The first time Mayweather (44-0, 26 knockouts) competed in the junior middleweight division was against De La Hoya, whom he dethroned by split-decision for the WBC’s 154-pound belt in May of 2007.
But having turned 36 in February before ending a nearly one-year ring absence with a one-sided unanimous decision over Robert Guerrero for the RING’s 147-pound championship in May, Mayweather could be facing his most dangerous opponent on Sept. 14 in Alvarez (42-0-1, 30 KOs), a man who is 13 years younger than he is.
THE RING’s No. 1-rated pound-for-pound boxer, Mayweather is facing Alvarez at a catchweight of 152 pounds, even as he rises to challenge a junior middleweight for the third time in his career at his most advanced age.
“I’ve always said that I’ve never fought to my potential, but that’s because I’ve never had an opponent to bring it out. I feel that maybe Mayweather will be the one to bring it out. I’m not coming just to fight, I’m coming to win,” said Alvarez, 23, who scored a knockdown during a unanimous decision victory over previously unbeaten Austin Trout in April that marked the biggest win of his career.
“Actually in some ways I’m in my best shape, or will be. Before I fought Austin Trout, I’d been off longer than I will be for this fight. I needed a lot of time to prepare for Trout. So, in some ways for this camp, my work has been easier. I think a lot of people underestimate me, but those people are mostly critics, reporters. You never hear anything from the guys I fight. It’s only from those outside the ring that think I am beatable.”
Prior to facing Guerrero, Mayweather fought for only the second time as a junior middleweight, scoring a unanimous decision over Miguel Cotto in May of 2012 that earned him the WBA’s “super” belt prior to being incarcerated at the Clark County Detention Center starting in June and ending in August.
“I’ve studied tapes of the fights he [Mayweather] had trouble in, like those against Miguel Cotto and Jose Luis Castillo,” said Alvarez of Mayweather, who emerged with a bloody nose from the most physical fights of his illustrious career after ending Cotto’s streak of three straight knockout victories.
“I’m looking for ways to penetrate Mayweather’s defense like they did. Cotto had success, but couldn’t maintain it. I plan to maintain it. I don’t think it’s important to get off to a fast start and just win the early rounds. I want to win all the rounds. All the rounds are important, from the first to the last and I want to win them all.”
De La Hoya has said that he expects Mayweather-Canelo, billed as “The One,” to surpass the record numbers drawn by his loss to Mayweather, which holds the all-time pay-per-view record with more than 2.5 million buys.
Tickets at the MGM Grand were sold out in less than 24 hours for Mayweather-Canelo.
“It’s already a record-breaking event,” said De La Hoya. “Now we’ll see if it breaks the [pay-per-view] record. With all the social and media outlets out there, chances are that it might.”
ANTHONY OGOGO OFF MAYWEATHER-CANELO CARD DUE TO INJURY
English 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Anthony Ogogo (3-0, 2 KOs), who is coming off last month’s fifth-round knockout of Gary Boulden, will not appear on the Mayweather-Canelo undercard, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer confirmed.
“I’m obviously hugely disappointed to have to pull out from this card. It was a huge honor for me to be included and it would have been a fantastic experience to be involved in one of the biggest cards in recent history. However, going into a fight fully fit and firing on all cylinders is of paramount importance to me,” said Ogogo.
“This fight just came a little too soon for me and I wouldn’t have been doing myself, Golden Boy or the card justice if I fought when I wasn’t 100 per cent. The support I have received since turning professional, particularly from the British fans, has been incredible and I’d like to thank everyone for their continued support. I’m now looking forward to getting myself in the best shape possible and getting back in the ring as soon as possible.”
LUCAS MATTHYSSE, TIM BRADLEY TRAIN TOGETHER
RING No. 1-rated junior welterweight Lucas Matthysse (34-2, 32 KOs) sparred with RING No. 8-rated pound-for-pound fighter and WBO 147-pound beltholder Tim Bradley (30-0, 12 KOs) on Monday, and could do so often over the next few days, according to The Desert Sun.
“It was shocking. I think it was shocking to everyone that was in the gym — shocking to my father, shocking to my team that I was coming back and sparring such a big name and a tough kid, a guy who punches so hard and knocks out everyone. It was a shock to everyone,” said Bradley to The Sun, regarding Matthysse’s presence.
“[Trainer] Joel [Diaz] didn’t set this up, it just kind of happened. It was just a spur of the moment type of thing. He came down, ‘Hey, why don’t we get in the ring and spar.’ I didn’t expect to spar Matthysse today. I really didn’t expect him today. He was like, ‘Hey let’s get some work, we might as well get some work while we’re here.’”
Matthysse will be in pursuit of his seventh straight knockout when he attempts to dethrone RING junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia on the Mayweather-Canelo undercard.
Meanwhile, Bradley will face four-division titlewinner Juan Manuel Marquez on Oct. 12 on HBO Pay Per View from Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
In his last fight in March, Bradley rose from a 12th-round knockdown to secure a unanimous decision victory over Ruslan Provodnikov to retain the WBO 147-pound title he won from Manny Paquiao by disputed split-decision in June.
“I think I overcame any fear I had that I wouldn’t be ready for the Marquez fight. I took some hard shots today and it was nothing. I didn’t get rocked, didn’t get dazed,” said Bradley, of his session with Matthysse.
“I was fine. It was like I told you guys I was good. I told you guys, I’m not crazy. We’ll, I’m a little crazy, but I got my wits about me.”
In Marquez, Bradley faces a man who is coming off a sixth-round stoppage victory over Pacquiao in the Boxing Writers’ Association’s Fight-of-The-Year. Bradley said Matthysse will provide good preparation.
“He has all that punching power in both hands, especially the left hook. Marquez loves to throw that left hook a lot. I know that’s the punch they’ll be looking to throw for this fight. Matthysse definitely made me aware of it early in the sparring session,” said Bradley.
“He does things that Marquez likes to do and he’s making me aware of it right now. Sparring this guy will help me psychology for what’s ahead. It was a really good look, it boosted my confidence and it was good to see this guy.”
DIEGO DE LA HOYA SIGNS WITH JOEL DE LA HOYA, OSCAR’S BROTHER
Diego De La Hoya, the cousin of Oscar De La Hoya, has signed with JDLHmgmnt in advance of his professional debut on Sept. 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on FOX Sports 2 and FOX Deportes. A silver medalist as a featherweight in the Mexican Olympic Nationals, Diego narrowly missed qualifying for the 2012 Olympics in London.
“I am very happy to have signed with the best company in boxing. This is a great opportunity for me, and I have to take advantage of it. I feel very happy and very motivated for Sept. 12, which will be my debut, and my opportunity to show people that another De La Hoya has arrived in boxing.”
“I’ve watched Diego grow up in boxing, and we’re very excited for this signing. This is another great addition to the management company,” said Joel De La Hoya.
“It makes it even more special that he’s family. My job is to take him to the top, and between Golden Boy Promotions and myself, I think we’re going to be able to do that for him.”
Diego has relocated from Mexicali, Mexico to California, and will be training with Joel Diaz at Joel Diaz Boxing in Indio.
“It’s an honor having the kid here. He has a good resume. He was part of the Mexican Olympic Team,” said Diaz. “He wants to learn, and likes to work. He has a lot of potential, and has a devastating left hook. I like working with a kid like that.”
CENTENO TO HOST ‘ASK ME ANYTHING’ ONLINE FORUM
Centeno (19-0, 11 KOs) will be host an online forum that can be accessed by clicking here at 1 p.m. PT on Sunday in advance of his Sept. 12 junior middleweight clash with Julian Williams (13-0, 7 KOs) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
CARLOS IVAN VELASQUEZ FACES RICO RAMOS ON SEPT. 7
Puerto Rican 2004 Olympian Carlos Ivan Velásquez (15-0, 11 KOs) will face ex-beltholder Rico Ramos (21-3, 11 KOs) on the Sept. 7 undercard of the Seth Mitchell-Chris Arreola heavyweight bout at at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif., in a non-televised bout with the possibility of having its highlights shown.
“I’m ready for the next chapter of my career,” said Velásquez, 29. “Rico Ramos is a world class fighter, and I’m looking to put on a great show for the fans.”
VIRGIL HILL JR. TO MAKE PRO DEBUT ON FRIDAY
Virgil Hill Jr., the 23-year-old son of the fomer light heavyweight champion and 1984 Olympic silvermedalist, will make his professional debut as a super middleweight on Friday night at The 4 Bears Casino and Lodge in New Town, N.D.
A 6-foot-3 former baseball player, Hill’s mother is former Olympic sprinter Denean Howard.
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com