On Monday, April 25, with just 12 days left until his big fight with Amir Khan at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, it was Canelo Alvarez, along with his promoter Oscar De La Hoya, plus the staff of the House of Boxing gym in Paradise Hills, San Diego, Calif. hosting the media for an impromptu Press Conference and workout. So with the cameras flashing and the assembly of media and fans following him everywhere he went, the middleweight champ and his team spoke about his upcoming fight and then tried to go through an abbreviated workout.
Alvarez’s official statement: “I always prepare 100 percent for every fight. The only thing that changes is my strategy. Every fighter is different, every fighter brings different skills and you have to adjust. For Amir Khan, we have focused on increasing my hand speed, counter punching and preparing for lots of movement and footwork. We believe Amir has adopted a similar style as Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Erislandy Lara; however, we have made certain that I am prepared for that style and anything else he brings to the table on fight night. I have my game plan and he has his. We are both preparing to the best of our ability to combat each other’s strengths. Yet, on fight night, things can be unpredictable. You have to adjust to what your opponent is doing and at the same time apply the pressure. I can not predict a definite outcome, but I can say that I am going to bring the best of me into the ring. I don’t like to talk trash just to be able to sell tickets. What I do is train hard and do my talking in the ring. I want people to respect me and to follow my career, not because of what I say, but because of what I do.”
Next, the Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions Oscar De La Hoya spoke: “On May 7, Canelo is going to go out there for the knockout. He will go out there and be aggressive and continue giving the fight fans what they want to see. It’s great for Canelo to have this fight on Cinco de Mayo because its important for the fight fans to carry on this tradition. It’s a tradition started by Julio Cesar Chavez. On this date, people want to see fights, people want to see action. People want to see great boxing and they will get that on May 7th because Canelo is an exciting fighter to watch. I think it’s important we have a fighter like Canelo own this Cinco de Mayo weekend because when he does, it’ll guarantee there will be action. It’s a win-win.
In their question and answer period, De La Hoya added, “When it comes to Khan and his speed, how do you beat him? One of my former coaches, Floyd Mayweather Sr. used to tell me, “The way you beat speed is with timing.” Our undercard is packed with terrific fighters and great match-ups – every one of them should be a barnburner. And yes, I did attend Kobe Bryant’s last game. I took my whole family. It was an unbelievable ending to a career that lasted 20 years and all with the Lakers. It was amazing. The way they won and he scored all those points – 60 in his final game.”
Alvarez’ head trainer, Eddy Reynoso:
“Canelo is a very intelligent fighter. He takes in everything very quickly and is always willing to learn. At this last camp, we have been making sure to focus on increasing his hand speed. We have made sure he is prepared to quickly counter punch when needed. Amir’s style is one of speed, both hand-speed and foot movement. We have made those adjustments in Canelo’s camp and made sure to select sparring partners with similar styles in order to prepare Canelo for fight night. Canelo is in the best shape of his career and the fans will be surprised at how fast and strong he is. We are 100 percent prepared for anything Amir brings on fight night.”
Alvarez’s manager and trainer: Jose “Chepo” Reynoso:
“We have seen Canelo grow as a fighter and every year he gets better and better. He is not at his peak yet. We will see a better Canelo in this upcoming fight, better than when he fought Cotto. We have made many adjustments in this training camp. Amir is going to be a challenge. For this reason, we had to make certain we were not surprised on fight night. One of the things we’ve been working on is to make sure he is faster and stronger.”
Canelo vs. Khan, a 12-round fight for Canelo’s WBC, Ring Magazine and Lineal Middleweight World Titles, is being promoted by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Canelo Promotions and sponsored by “Cerveza Tecate, Born Bold,” O’Reilly Auto Parts, Casa Mexico Tequila, DOOM®, Fight Like Hell on May 13, and Hands of Stone: The True Story of Roberto Duran, in theaters this August. The David Lemieux vs. Glen Tapia fight is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Eye of the Tiger Management. The Patrick Teixeira vs. Curtis Stevens bout is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Main Events. This mega-event, which will take place Saturday, May 7 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
Episode two of HBO’s reality series “24/7 Canelo/Khan” premieres Saturday, April 30 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT. Liev Schreiber narrates the 18-time Emmy-Award-winning series. Tickets for the Canelo vs. Khan fight priced at $1,500, $1,000, $800, $600, $400, $250 and $150, with applicable service charges are still available. To charge by phone, you can call (888-929-7849) or go on-line at www.t-mobilearena.com or www.axs.com.
Handicapping the undercard
Junior featherweight Diego De La Hoya and middleweight Jason Quigley, both blue-chip prospects, have been added to the non-televised undercard of the Canelo Alvarez-Amir Khan middleweight world title fight. Mexico’s De La Hoya (14-0, 8 KOs), 21, a first cousin of Hall of Famer and Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya, will face Rocco Santomauro (13-0, 1 KOs), 28, of Duarte, Calif. “I am looking forward to being part of one of the biggest boxing events of 2016,”Diego De La Hoya said. “This is my chance to perform in front of a big stage and give everyone a great fight against another undefeated top prospect.”
Santomauro’s comments: “I have Sugar Shane Mosley in my corner and he has trained me to make sure I keep my undefeated record. It’s going to be a battle to the end. I think a lot of people will be interested in the dynamic of this fight. I am going to use my new Mosley KO power. Just watch, the boxing world will know that I have arrived.”
Mosley, the former three-division champion, owns two wins over Oscar De La Hoya and said he views this as their third fight since his boxer is taking on De La Hoya’s cousin. “Mosley versus De La Hoya III is just around the corner,” said Mosley, who has been training Santomauro for just over a year. “We couldn’t be more ready to beat another De La Hoya. They underestimate Rocco because he has a non-existent KO record. But that was before he started training with the ‘KO King.’ I got him on point and the De La Hoyas have no idea what they got themselves into on this one, baby. Rocco is like a son to me. I am teaching him everything I know.”
Quigley (10-0, 9 KOs), 24, of Ireland, is taking a big step up in competition against James de la Rosa (23-3, 13 KOs), 28, of San Benito, Texas, in a 10-round bout.
Quigley: “This is exactly the platform I need to be able to show the world what I’m capable of and what I’m here to do. James de la Rosa is simply just another hurdle on my path to becoming a world champion and lifting them belts.” De la Rosa was supposed to face former middleweight title holder David Lemieux, another Golden Boy fighter, on March 12 but when Lemieux was overweight, that matchup was canceled.”I was looking forward to fighting a bigger name, but Jason Quigley is a strong young fighter,” De la Rosa said. “He doesn’t have half my experience as a professional, but I applaud his confidence for stepping up. I’ve been in camp since January, and although my last fight was canceled I am ready to face Quigley on May 7.”
Although neither bout will be part of the four-fight HBO PPV telecast (9 ET), both will be a part of the pre-pay-per-view “free view” and streamed live on HBO’s YouTube boxing channel, on Golden Boy’s website and Ring magazine’s website beginning at 7 ET.
Other fighters include: welterweight Rashidi Ellis (14-0, 11 KOs), 22, of Lynn, Massachusetts, junior lightweight Lamont Roach Jr. (10-0, 3 KOs), 20, of Washington, D.C., and David Mijares, 20, of Santa Monica, Calif., who recently signed with Golden Boy and will be making his professional debut.