Robert Diaz believes that Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s superior experience will prove the key to victory on Saturday over Jaime Munguia.

The Mexican rivals contest Alvarez’s undisputed super-middleweight title at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, on the occasion of Cinco de Mayo weekend, at a time when it is increasingly being suggested that Alvarez’s 33 years and 64 fights mean that he is in decline.

At 27, Munguia is bigger, younger, fresher and more aggressive than Alvarez, but despite their shared victories over Liam Smith and John Ryder, he remains inexperienced for a fighter entering his 44th fight, and Diaz believes that that – and Alvarez’s cultured streak and intelligence – will ultimately prove decisive.

Diaz repeatedly worked with both fighters during his 15 years as an influential matchmaker at Golden Boy Promotions, and he said: “As the fight goes on, I think we’ll see that the experience of the high-level fights, of, ‘I know what I have to do if this comes at me’, but the experience of, ‘I know how to set you up; to put traps to make you do something that’s gonna get you in trouble’… I think that’s what we’ll see, and towards the end – eight, nine or 10 rounds, I can see Canelo stopping Munguia.

“Is Canelo at the point where it’s over, or it’s coming to an end? Munguia’s the bigger guy. We gotta remember, Canelo, really, height-wise and size-wise, is close to a welterweight who’s moved up because of his talent. He’s a wide guy; muscular; so he’s been able to ‘cheat’ the divisions. There’s reasons why there’s divisions and weight classes. He’s been able to cheat that, because very few fighters in the past – “Sugar” Ray Leonard; Manny Pacquiao; [Oscar] De La Hoya; [Floyd] Mayweather – based on talent, can get away with fighting above their weight class. Canelo’s one of them. 

“But, Saturday, is it now where father time takes over? Munguia’s young; fresh; hungry; comes in and puts on the performance of a lifetime? Those are all questions we will see. If you ask me my opinion, I believe we’re gonna have a hell of a fight; I think Munguia will come out cautious as he gets comfortable with the rounds going by or as he gets hurt. Early on, third or fourth round, when Canelo lands that big punch and Munguia says, ‘You know what? Balls to the wall – lets go’, that’s where we gonna get a fight that is gonna be remembered for years.

“As far as a decline in him – it’s not so much that we see a decline as obvious as other cases. One, obviously age – he’s been a pro since 15; 60, 70 professional fights. Not only that, the sparring sessions; the camps; year after year the rounds of sparring; the injuries; the time. It’s age. Also we’ve seen some dance partners – some opponents – not bring out the best [in him], just go in there and survive. It’s boring to the fighter when the dance partner doesn’t bring it out in you; doesn’t wanna engage. 

“I think this Saturday night you definitely have a great dance partner. You definitely have a partner that’s coming to win; that’s hungry for victory; that knows what a win signifies for his career, because ‘I’m now here; I’m now the people’s champ; I’m now the one for people to consider pound-for-pound’.”

Diaz, who worked with Marco Antonio Barrera throughout his career-defining rivalry with fellow Mexican Erik Morales, envisions a fight in which Munguia enhances his legacy regardless of suffering his first defeat.

“No shame [in that],” he said. “When you lose to the best and you go out there and try to match their skills you learn and grow even more. Munguia will walk out of the arena on Saturday night still as the hero to many, but Canelo’s hand will be raised in victory.

“I can guarantee one thing. The fans are gonna win. Boxing’s gonna win. We will see an amazing fight while it lasts. It takes two to dance; you need a good dance partner. Saturday night, Canelo will have a good dance partner.”