LONDON - Canelo Alvarez is using the story of ‘The Greatest’ Muhammad Ali to help inspire him to make his own boxing history starting this weekend.
The cinnamon haired superstar will be going toe-to-toe with countryman Alfredo Angulo as they lay their Mexican machismo on the line in front of a packed crowd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas this weekend.
It is a significant fight for both men, particularly the 23-year-old Canelo, who will be under close scrutiny to see what effect his first defeat last September against pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather has had on him.
Hotly tipped as the man to take over the throne of Mayweather, Canelo was soundly beaten over twelve rounds but is refusing to let that setback stop him from following in the footsteps of his idol Ali and becoming one of history’s very best.
“I consider myself a person with a strong mindset and that's how I moved on from the loss against Mayweather. I always train to win, like everybody else and unfortunately last September that was not the case,” Canelo recalled.
“I'm training to make history and to be one of the best in boxing history. One defeat is not everything. The biggest boxers in history have been defeated. For instance, Muhammad Ali was defeated and he came back and made history.
“So, here I am, making history, moving forward. I fight to make boxing history. That is why I fight,” said Canelo.
The former WBC, WBA and Ring Magazine light-middleweight world champion has jumped right back in at the deep end and refused to take an easier comeback fight than the one the hardened Angulo presents.
Having knocked out 18 opponents in his 22 wins, the 31-year-old Angulo has earned a reputation as one of boxing’s most exciting and dangerous fighters.
Canelo is under no illusions, however, and knows he will need to be on top of his game to tame the man known as ‘El Perro’ - ‘The Dog’.
"Angulo presents a difficult challenge because he's a fighter who can punch and take a great punch. I know I have to prepare and establish my game plan early. But you know how it can be with game plans. Sometimes, once a fight starts, you have to do what you have to do to win and that's what I am going to do on Saturday,” Canelo said.
“Obviously a knockout would be beautiful; that's what the fans like, an impressive knockout. But I never go into a fight looking for a knockout. If it comes, it comes.
“Everyone says Angulo is the stronger guy, but I think I'm the strongest,” said a confident Canelo.
A fan favourite himself, inside and outside the ring, Canelo is keen to build on his budding reputation having broken pay-per-view records in his last fight with Mayweather.
The attractive eye-catching style of Angulo was one of the main reasons that Canelo opted to take the fight in a bill that has quite aptly been dubbed ‘Toe-To-Toe’ due to the exciting all-action affair many are expecting.
“Of course that was very important [the style of Angulo]. What the fans want to see is attractive fights, very good fights, and that was a big reason for doing this fight,” said Canelo.
“It's a very, very different style [to Mayweather]. So the whole camp has been different, the sparring partners have been different. But it's a style that's going to be attractive and it's going to make for a very good fight,” he said.
BoxNation viewers can see the premiere of episode two ‘All Access: Canelo vs. Angulo’ this Saturday at 6.30pm. Before live boxing action from Liverpool where rising bantamweight star Paul Butler faces tough Argentine Oreste Nieva for the vacant WBA intercontinental title.