Canelo Alvarez said Floyd Mayweather Jr. is “very, very worried” while also “underestimating me the way that he’s talking,” even as Alvarez contends that the RING’s No. 1-pound-for-pound fighter “never has gotten under my skin” during the promotion for their Sept. 14 clash at The MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Showtime Pay Per View.
The RING and WBC junior middleweight champion, Alvarez (42-0-1, 30 knockouts) made his assertions regarding Mayweather (44-0, 26 KOs) during Tuesday’s international conference call.
Although Alvarez has reportedly experienced a revolving door of sparring partners due to injuries relating to their inability to stand up to his power, the 23-year-old Mexican star said that lightweight Karl Dargan and junior welterweight Keandre Gibson “did very good,” adding, “they have very similar styles to Floyd, and they helped me very much.”
Alvarez also said “it’s an honor to hear those comments from [Golden Boy President Oscar De La Hoya],” who has stated publicly that Alvarez can score a knockout in less than eight rounds against Mayweather.
Alvarez also vowed that he is “going to be a lot faster” as a result of the 152-pound catchweight for the bout with Mayweather, 36, who earned the RING’s 147-pound championship after defending his WBC belt with a unanimous decision over Robert Guerrero in May, and whose WBA 154-pound belt will be on the line opposite Alvarez.
“Counterpunching is going to help…Obviously, pressure as well,” said Alvarez. “But smart pressure. Going in there not carelessly, but being very smart about it.”
Below are several of Alvarez’s notable comments from Tuesday’s conference call.
Saul Alvarez on the notion that De La Hoya has laid out the blueprint for beating Mayweather, and whether he feels any pressure due to De La Hoya’s prediction that he will win by knockout:
“It’s actually an honor. It’s an honor to hear those comments from Oscar that I’m going to win. Obviously, I’m preparing myself to win, and I have a certain game plan, and going to look for the knockout. Obviously, if it comes, then it comes.
“I’ve got my game plan, and I’m going to stick to it. But I don’t like to predict anything. The only thing that I can predict is that I’m going to win the fight, and that’s what I’m focused on, and that’s what I’ve been working toward.”
On whether he feels any pressure given that he’s fighting on Mexican Holiday weekend with an entire country behind him, or whether that simply becomes motivation:
“Obviously, I’m very gracious. I’m very gracious to God for this opportunity and for this support, and to my fans and my people. I’m a responsible person, and this is all that I’ve ever wanted.
“I’m very focused on what I want and what I want to happen, so, obviously, for me, it’s a big responsibility, and I understand that, and I’m very gracious about it.”
On his revolving door of sparring partners, and the work by those such as Keandre Gibson and Karl Dargan in emulating Mayweather’s style and durability:
“They’ve helped me very much. I just have one more sparring partner left, and obviously, they both did very good and they’ve helped me. They have very similar styles to Floyd, and they helped me very much.”
On the catchweight:
“It’s not going to bother me at all. I feel very, very good. I’ve been able to make the weight in the past without any problem. In fact, in my most recent fights, I’ve been under, and the day of the weigh-in, I don’t do that much work.
“So I think that it’s going to be fine, and I feel very good right now. In fact, I think that it’s going to help. I’m going to be a lot faster.”
On Mayweather’s unique abilities, including his use of elbows and forearms:
“I’ve fought with all types of styles, but obviously, he’s different. He’s a very, very smart fighter. He’s very smart, and that’s basically the difference. I’ve fought guys that are similar. But with Floyd, he’s very, very smart, so it’s different.
“I’m not saying that he’s a dirty fighter. I’m not saying that. He’s not a dirty fighter, but he’s a fighter that has a lot of experience, and, obviously, yes, he does use his elbows and forearms.
“But that’s a tactic that he uses to get you off of your game plan so that he can counter you when you’re trying to pull out of that. So, obviously, he’s a fighter with a lot of experience, and he uses that to his advantage.”
On whether he can stop Mayweather with one punch:
“I’m working hard for this fight, obviously. One punch, yes, one punch can change everything. But I’m working hard and I’m doing my game plan for this fight, and anything can happen. You really don’t know.”
On the use of pressure and counterpunching against Mayweather:
“Counterpunching is going to help, so it’s going to be an important factor. But not only that, it’s going to be an all-around thing, not just counterpunching.
“Once I go out there, I’ll see what the first round is like, and I’ll realize what I’ll be able to do and what I’m going to be able to utilize for a game plan.
“Obviously, pressure as well. Pressure is going to help me in the fight, but smart pressure. Going in there not carelessly, but being very smart about it.”
On the notion that Mayweather is underestimating him:
“I think that the way that he’s talking, he’s underestimating me the way that he’s talking. But at the same time, I think that he’s very, very worried. But he’s always been like that. He’s always been a talker.
“That’s the kind of person that he is. But I don’t care. I don’t care what he’s saying and I don’t care what he’s thinking. What I care about is what I’m saying and what I’m thinking. I’m controlling it, and that’s what matters to me.”
On whether Mayweather has gotten under his skin:
“Not at all. He never has gotten under my skin. There is nothing that he can do to get under my skin. I’ve always been very, very strong, mentally, and obviously, I’ll prove everything up in the ring.”
Photos by Tom Casino-Showtime; Esther Lin-Showtime; Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com