Mexican star Canelo Alvarez, a former unified junior middleweight titleholder, is deep into his training camp in San Diego as he prepares to challenge middleweight world champion Miguel Cotto on Nov. 21 (HBO PPV) at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
The fight is, by far, the biggest of the year outside of Floyd Mayweather’s historic bout with Manny Pacquiao on May 2.
But Alvarez, who knows what it’s like to be in a huge fight -- he lost a decision to Mayweather in 2013 in what was, at the time, the biggest grossing fight in boxing history before Mayweather-Pacquiao crushed the record -- is pumped up for another one against Cotto, who also lost in mega fights against Mayweather and Pacquiao and has been in plenty of big ones.
"I want to fight the big fights and am not afraid to take risks,” Alvarez said at his recent media day at his training camp. “I believe my fighting style and opponents over the years have shown that. I am here to prove I am the best and the best way to do that is fighting the best."
Said head trainer Eddy Reynoso: "Canelo is a serious fighter who doesn't take any opponent lightly. He is always ready and willing to fight the best fighters in the sport.”
Indeed, Alvarez has faced Mayweather, will face Cotto (40-4, 33 KOs) and has also faced top-level opponents such as Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout, beating both in fights his own handlers did not want him to take because of the danger they presented.
Those are fights that Alvarez and his team believe have prepared him well for Cotto, Puerto Rico’s only four-division world titleholder and a lock for the Hall of Fame.
"We are very prepared for this fight. It has been a great training camp we have been working on technique to make sure we are not surprised on fight night,” Alvarez said. “I have had great sparring partners for this fight, focusing on Cotto's style of fighting.”
"Every fight at this level has been difficult and the best that we can do is be prepared. You can't predict the outcome of a fight, but we make sure to leave not doubts in the ring.”
Alvarez (41-1-1, 32 KOs) is only 25 but on Oct. 29 he celebrated the 10th anniversary of his professional debut – a fourth-round knockout of Abraham Gonzalez.
"I think the best is yet to come with him,” said Golden Boy’s Oscar De La Hoya, Alvarez’s promoter, who was at his media day. “He has grown as a fighter every year, learning from victories and his losses. Legacy is important to him, and when all is said and done, I know he will be remembered as one of the best in the sport.”
The winner of Cotto-Alvarez will be mandated to face unified titleholder Gennady Golovkin, whose interim belt makes him the mandatory challenger. Golovkin against Alvarez or Cotto is a fight fans and media have expressed big-time interest in. As outstanding as the Nov. 21 fight figures to be, the prospect of Golovkin (34-0, 31 KOs) taking on the winner has also been heavily discussed during the build up.
Alvarez, as his actions show, is willing to tangle with the best but he was not interested in discussing the prospect of a showdown with GGG – at least not yet.
“I am not afraid of any fighter, but right now I am focused on Cotto,” Alvarez said. “Once this fight is over we can move on to the next big fight.”