Canelo Alvarez doesn’t have to say a word anymore. Even if he remained on his silk sheets for most of the day, never left his house, or even retired from the sport, his name would remain on the lips of practically every 168-pounder. Add Padraig McCrory to that list.

The 35-year-old isn’t the most popular fighter around but he believes he’s earned his stripes. In just a few short weeks, he’ll attempt to solidify himself as one of the top dogs in the super middleweight division when he takes on Edgar Berlanga.

Winning might seem like a long shot to most, but for McCrory, he’s confident that Berlanga will be used as a tenuous stepping stone on his way to the next level.

Taking on Berlanga is one thing but fighting Alvarez, a pound-for-pound star and future Hall of Famer, is something else entirely. But, despite Alvarez being viewed as one of the best fighters that the sport has to offer, McCrory, if given the opportunity, loves his chances in that fight.

“As a fighting man and as a boxer, I fully believe I can beat the man,” McCrory told recently.

Unfortunately for McCrory, an Alvarez showdown is more or less a pipe dream. The list of opponents wanting to fight him is a mile long so he’ll have to grab a ticket and wait for his shot.

Traditionally, the undisputed champ fights twice a year. Even if McCrory upsets the odds and hands Berlanga the first defeat of his career, David Benavidez, Jermall Charlo, Jaime Munguia, and even Terence Crawford are ahead of him. Still, Alvarez has thrown out a few curveballs in years past. In 2018 and 2021, Alvarez sandwiched quick wins over Rocky Fielding and Avni Yildirim between a pair of high-caliber fights. So while it’s unlikely, McCrory is hoping that history repeats itself.

Unlike Fielding and Yildirim who were both ironically stopped in the third round, McCrory isn’t worried about suffering the same fate. At the age of 33 and with nearly 20 years of experience under his belt, Alvarez is still a great fighter. But is he what he once was? McCrory doesn’t believe so.

“I think he’s elite, I think he’s a superstar but he’s shown that he might not be the same fighter that he was.”