CANELO ALVAREZ says victory over arch-rival Julio Cesar Chavez Jr will mean more to him than any title.
Mexican pride is at stake when the two long-time foes and countrymen meet at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas this Saturday night, live on BoxNation, in what is one of this year’s most eagerly anticipated fights.
Taking place on the holiday weekend of ‘Cinco De Mayo’, two-weight world champion Canelo, who will be fighting for the 50th time as a professional, is well aware that this is a fight he simply can’t lose if he hopes to hold his head high in his home country.
“He’s one more of the 50 of all my opponents that I’ve faced. I’ve wanted to rip their head off; I wanted to beat them; I wanted to knock them out. This is a little extra though. There’s a little bit more motivation, of course, because of the rivalry, but it’s another one of my fights,” said Canelo.
“Titles are very important to me but this is above that. This goes above a title, any title. It’s for honour, for pride, and it’s very important for me. It’s also important to keep making history in my career,” he said.
Canelo’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya, who has faced and overcome similar feuds in the past as a fighter, most notably his rivalry with nemesis Fernando Vargas, believes both men will find something extra to push them even further in the ring.
“These are the types of fights that take you to a whole new level in terms of your boxing abilities inside the ring. It makes you obviously train harder. It gives you that extra motivation,” said De La Hoya.
“If you want to go run ten miles today, well, guess what, you’re going to run 11 or 12 because you’re just so amped, because this fight is so personal. Both fighters are going to be in the best shape of their life.
“But for some strange reason, there’s something extra that comes out in you. Canelo and Chavez Jr are going to find out that, wow, I didn’t know I can do this move; or I didn’t know I can throw this combination at such a fast pace; or, you know, that extra motivation, it’s going to be all instinctual.
“It’s going to be all because of that pride, because of what’s at stake. We’re going to see two completely different fighters, fighters that we’ve never seen before inside the ring on Saturday, and it’s all because of that pride that’s at stake,” he said.
26-year-old Canelo, who has knocked out 34 opponents in his 48 wins, is hoping to end the fight in spectacular fashion once again.
“There’s a very high percentage this fight could end by a knockout, because of our styles, obviously the weight, the size of each other.
“And obviously a knockout is spectacular, for the fighter, for the fans, and we’ll see. We’ll see what’s going to happen come fight night. I’m going to give it 100 percent to do everything possible to give the fans what they want,” said Canelo.