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Canelo Alvarez chasing history, in no hurry to hang up gloves

Updated May 3, 2024 - 7:26 pm

Canelo Alvarez has accomplished everything he set out to do in two decades as a professional boxer.

Yet he doesn’t feel anywhere close to finished.

“I want to still make history with these kind of fights,” the Mexican fighter said before Saturday’s Prime Video pay-per-view main event against undefeated countryman Jaime Munguia at T-Mobile Arena.

Alvarez (60-2-2, 39 knockouts) has no timetable on how long he wants to keep etching his name in the sport’s lore, but he’s still enjoying drawing boisterous crowds to his annual Cinco de Mayo weekend bouts.

He is already wealthy beyond his dreams, as his 12 pay-per-view bouts have generated nearly 10 million buys. He has just two decision losses and two draws, and the four-division champion is the first fighter to unify all five belts at super middleweight.

But the 33-year-old said his body is as healthy as it has been in some time, and he believes he could fight for another five or six years.

That will probably depend on continuing to get positive results in the ring. Alvarez looked every bit one of the best fighters in the world when he battered Jermell Charlo for 12 rounds in October, but his three previous fights included a decision loss to Dmitry Bivol and pedestrian decision victories over John Ryder and Gennady Golovkin.

Munguia no pushover

Alvarez has a chance to continue the momentum against a capable opponent Saturday. And while he has plenty of respect for his opponent, he’s not measuring himself against Munguia.

“I don’t need to prove anything to anybody,” Alvarez said. “I just need to keep proving to myself I’m the best.”

That might include getting back to ending fights before the final bell. Alvarez has gone the distance in four straight fights and doesn’t have a knockout since he stopped Caleb Plant in the 11th round of a 2021 bout.

“Of course, I will (knock out Munguia),” Alvarez said. “I don’t know when, but I will.

“This is going to be a great Mexican war. Munguia and I both come to win, but I am going to win and win decisively. The fans are really going to enjoy Saturday night, and I’m proud to make history with two Mexican fighters fighting for all the belts.”

It’s as close to talking trash against his opponent as Alvarez has come during the buildup to the fight. He has saved his vitriol for Munguia’s promoter, Oscar De La Hoya.

A contentious legal battle that resulted from Alvarez leaving Golden Boy Promotions has bubbled over, as one of De La Hoya’s fighters is facing Alvarez for the first time since their relationship turned nasty.

De La Hoya and Alvarez had to be separated on the stage at Wednesday’s news conference after exchanging several vicious accusations and insults, but Alvarez insists his full attention is on Munguia.

“I’m the diamond in Golden Boy,” Alvarez said. “Golden Boy is not the same without me. That’s why he’s mad. I don’t give a (expletive) about him. But if he comes here in my territory, I have to say something.”

Relishes a challenge

His words have been far more measured when discussing Munguia, a Tijuana native who looked up to Alvarez as he came through the ranks even though he is just six years his junior.

“Munguia is a disciplined fighter who hits hard,” Alvarez said. “He’s a power puncher, and I like a challenge. I want to face fighters who are hungry like I am. He’s a fighter who can give the fans the show they deserve. But I’m a strong fighter, too, and I’m gonna show everyone again on Saturday night.”

Munguia (43-0, 34 KOs) believes it’s finally his moment to take the baton as the next great Mexican fighter. But Alvarez isn’t ready to give it up.

“On Saturday, we have undisputed versus undefeated,” TGB Promotions president Tom Brown said. “I can promise you one thing: This will be a great fight. But there will be no passing of the torch. Not on this weekend and not in front of this crowd.”

The four-fight pay-per-view card, which includes an interim WBC welterweight title bout between Fabian Maidana and former world champ Mario Barrios, begins at 5 p.m.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on X.

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