Canelo Alvarez might be the biggest name in boxing and he might have more money than he will ever know what to do with, but that does not mean he is ready to stop fighting just yet.
He also admits he is bracing himself in the knowledge that for a man who preaches ‘no boxing, no life’ as a mantra, that when he eventually hangs up his gloves, his passage into civilian life from that of a superstar will be difficult.
“It’s going to be hard,” Canelo acknowledged. “It’s going to be hard after boxing because I’ve done this my whole life but I have my business, I have my family I need to enjoy and right now I’m enjoying boxing because I’m young, I’m fresh and I feel fucking good.”
The 33-year-old 63-fight veteran has been talking with a renewed vigour and desire, with rumours of his career decline the topic of many a conversation ahead of his Saturday superfight with unified 154lbs champion Jermell Charlo.
Canelo, unified champion at 168lbs, has said he has felt disrespected by Charlo calling him out in the past, and that has provided him with motivation to train hard in Lake Tahoe at altitude in preparation for the T-Mobile event. But that doesn’t mean he has not been motivated for recent fights.
“I always motivate myself because I love boxing,” Canelo added. “And this kind of fight motivates me more because he [Charlo] never believed in my skills and I always motivate myself because I love what I do, I love boxing.”
According to Canelo, it is not a lack of motivation that has hindered him but a hand injury that he has been suffering with since the training camp for his fight with Caleb Plant in November 2021.
He now says it is finally ready to go again, having impeded his training and performances against Dmitrii Bivol, Gennadiy Golovkin and John Ryder.
“I’m so happy and excited because I’m able to train 100 per cent and I have that confidence again because of my hand, I can throw my hand 100 per cent and that makes me feel confident,” Canelo explained.
“Before, I couldn’t throw my hand hard. I just trained to get conditioned as much as I can but I didn’t hit hard and when you go in the fight and you try to hit hard you get tired, right, and right now I feel I’m 100 per cent. Just wait for Saturday.”
Of course, he said he’s had one of the best camps. That is standard fare for a fight week press conference, but there is a clear desire to prove to people – specifically Charlo – that he is as good as ever.
“He always chatted about me, he was always calling me out, he would always say I’m not the fighter they show and everything,” Canelo explained.
Charlo had earlier pointed to Canelo being stung against Jose Miguel Cotto, back in 2010, to illustrate that the Mexican great is more vulnerable than some believe. Canelo scoffed at that, as though Charlo is trying to cling on to something he can draw hope from.
“I’m a different fighter to then, and he’s going to feel that on Saturday night,” Canelo continued. “I don’t know [why Charlo is bringing up the Cotto fight]. It’s the only fight he can say that because it’s the only fight I had that struggle. I’m different now. I’ve fought with everybody, with the strong guys, the skilled guys… I don’t know what to say.”
Overall, though, the build-up has been respectful. Charlo has been known to talk smack, but that has been absent for the Canelo fight.
“I’m happy [that Charlo has been calm],” Canelo smiled. “I’m happy he respects me.”
Canelo was not entertaining questions about possible future opponents, but he was happy to discuss his hopes for Saturday night.
“Every fighter prepares themselves for a knockout, if they say no it’s a lie,” Canelo went on. “Always prepare yourself for a knockout. Sometimes it comes, sometimes not but I will try.”
Has he thought about how it might end?
“Everything, body, head, sometimes you can’t hit the body and you need to try other things, but I’m ready for everything. You’re going to see Saturday night.”
Canelo-Charlo has been on tap for years, though it was often thought Jermell’s twin Jermall would be in the opposite corner. Canelo has enjoyed a lucrative spell on DAZN, but stepping back across to Showtime and signing with PBC opened the door to the Charlo fight.
When asked why it had taken so long to get the contest signed, Canelo added: “Sometimes a fight takes a long time to make and the fight needs to be big. I feel this is the right moment and the right time.”