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Saul "Canelo" Alvarez was a professional by age 15, a star in his native Mexico before the end of his teenage years and a junior middleweight world champion by the time he was 20. All of which makes his facing former three-division titlist and pound-for-pound ace Shane Mosley on May 5 in Las Vegas (HBO PPV, 9 p.m. ET) seem a reasonable stop along his skyrocketing career arc. But Mosley will be the highest-profile fighter Alvarez (39-0-1, 29 KOs) has faced and, even at 40 years old, likely the toughest challenge of the champion's young career. Is he ready?
ESPN.com enlisted HBO to ask Alvarez that very question, among others, during its close interactions with the fighter in the lead-up to the Mosley bout. As part of an ongoing feature ahead of Alvarez-Mosley, we will offer periodic updates with Canelo's responses.
On the junior middleweight division being in limbo and whether he'd consider moving up to middleweight, a class that his frame suggests he's bound for and that promises better fights:
I can't say where I'll be other than on [Saturday] when I defeat Shane Mosley. I am honored to be fighting someone of his caliber, but I will win. With the support of my entire team behind me, I am physically and mentally ready for this fight. Instead of thinking about future weight changes, I am feeling very comfortable at my current status. I think there are a lot of interesting and exciting fights in my future, and if that means changing things down the line, then I feel confident I will rise to the occasion to do just that.
But for now, the focus is [on Saturday]. I know that's a natural reaction to wonder what's next, especially at my age. The reaction I constantly receive is that people anticipate great things from me. It's flattering, but like I've said, the focus should be on the present, on now. At this moment in my career, I feel very comfortable in my weight, and that will be evident [Saturday]. After that, I know discussions will be had about what's next, but for now, how about I just go out there and fight the best I can? I think everyone wants that; I know I do, and that's what everyone will get.
I am sure that Shane is training for the best fight of his career. Viewers can anticipate two fighters who want to win. Who will that winner be on [Saturday]? Well, me, of course. I can't wait.
I don't tend to think of the future in those specific terms. Of course, I have a lot of personal goals as a fighter, as a man. But I don't tend to think about much besides the present and what I need to do now. Focus is something I pride myself on. It really is. I see in a lot of my peers a lack of focus on the fights themselves, and I wonder why some of them even fight. Sure, it's easy to get lost in the hoopla and the "What's next?" discussion, but if I don't box the best I can right now, then there is no next.
I am a professional boxer and my entire focus is winning these fights. I am training very hard and making immense progress. The determination I have in training now will propel me to a victory on May 5, not thinking about what I have left to do. I am 21, so I know many opportunities will be presented, and I look forward to them. But like I said, that doesn't affect me as a fighter right now.
I am proud of what I have accomplished so far and I will be proud to win on May 5. I've heard some people ask, "Well, what if you don't win?" The truth is, that isn't an option to me. I don't fathom any situation where I don't win; that's really it. But I know it won't be easy, and I embrace the challenge wholeheartedly.
|Canelo Alvarez, right, hopes to one day join the ranks of Mexican legends such as Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales and Julio Cesar Chavez.|
On the importance of representing Mexico on Cinco De Mayo in the Mayweather-Cotto co-feature:
Mexico is my home and always will be. I am very proud of my Mexican heritage and consider it a strong part of my identity. Marco Barrera and Erik Morales and Julio Cesar Chavez are just some of the Mexican fighters I know our community looks up to. I intend to be among those men. I don't lose, so no matter what day I'm fighting on, I'm giving my all to win. Even in my toughest fights, failure has never been an option.
I think this fight is especially exciting for all the fans. Being a role model for the Latino community is very important to me, and I am filled with pride each and every time I win. I grew up on my family's farm learning to horseback ride and otherwise keeping myself busy when I wasn't fighting. I am blessed to have had such a fortunate upbringing in Juanacatlan. Honestly, I can't imagine growing up anywhere else because it is that upbringing that has made me the man I am today. My family is what keeps me grounded and keeps me focused on what I have accomplished, as well as what I have left to do. They are a part of me as much as I am of them.
You know, I always enjoy fighting in Mexico, but right now I am focused on the May 5 match. I have never been so ready in my professional career. I have no doubt it will be a fight to remember and I will leave victorious.
On Mosley being the biggest name and most difficult test he has faced, and whether he's ready for the challenge:
This is exactly the right time in my career for this fight. I have been waiting for the opportunity to prove to the boxing world that I am a great fighter and I am ready for these kinds of matches.
The 2011 fight where I defeated [Kermit] Cintron in the fifth round by TKO was a big moment for me. I spent the necessary time in the beginning of the fight feeling out Cintron, assessing what I had to do to win it. I proved that my power and speed are what makes me ready. I have incredible energy, and the May 5 fight will prove just that.
I remember back in 2005, I fought Abraham Gonzalez in my professional debut and there was a lot of pressure on me. I went out there and won, and proved what I will prove against Mosley. People might like to use my age against me, saying I'm too inexperienced to fight this kind of match. The truth is that I have been a fighter my entire life and, if anything, my age is an asset. I look at other fighters my age and see pure aggression, but not tactical strategy. Look at any fight I've had with boxers and you'll see just that [attention to strategy].
I am greatly looking forward to this challenge on May 5, but in my head and soul, I know I will emerge the victor and put to rest any concern about who I am fighting. I want to fight the best fighters out there and win. I can do that.