Canelo Alvarez believes he's the man who will stop Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Yahoo Sports

View gallery


Canelo Alvarez doesn't seem to be fazed by the increased media attention. (AP Photo)

Canelo Alvarez speaks the words that every underdog in every sport speaks before facing the most significant opponent he or she has ever faced: I'm different. What's happened in the past won't happen to me. I'm willing to do anything to win.

The reality of what it will take for the 23-year-old upstart to hand Floyd Mayweather Jr. the first defeat of his legendary career will soon be upon him, however.

In exactly a month, he'll be standing across from Mayweather at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, a crowd screaming deliriously, millions of fans around the world watching intently.

It will be the biggest moment of his professional life, and perhaps one of the biggest in boxing history, if he does what he says, almost insists, he's going to do. Alvarez is utterly convinced that on Sept. 14 he'll be the one to end Mayweather's perfect record at 44 fights .

It's largely overlooked that Alvarez is also unbeaten, with only a draw in his fifth pro fight when he was barely 16, marring his 42-0-1 mark.

But not all unbeaten records are the same, and when it comes to quality of opposition, Mayweather has a significant advantage. He's beaten the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Diego Corrales, Jose Luis Castillo, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, Jesus Chavez, Carlos Hernandez and Robert Guerrero, among many others.

The majority of the opponents on Alvarez's record are perhaps best described by the phrase Greg Haugen once derisively used to describe the caliber of opposition that the legendary Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. had faced: Tijuana taxi drivers.

Alvarez can be a gregarious, outgoing guy when he wants to be, and he seems to have a better handle on things than the average 23-year-old. Alvarez sincerely believes he's in the right place at the right time, much as a 21-year-old Mayweather was in 1998 when he faced the great Genaro Hernandez for his first world title.

And while Mayweather has been down this road so many times before, Alvarez isn't at all concerned. He's studied Mayweather for years, and he believes he knows what he is in for. And judging by what he has seen, he is utterly convinced he'll come out on top.

There were those who wanted to put Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, into the hospital and not allow him to fight Sonny Liston when he began to hyperventilate at the weigh-in.

But Ali went out and easily handled Liston, stopping him in six one-sided rounds to win the heavyweight title.

Alvarez said he's working on what he needs to do to win, and is not allowing the hype, Mayweather's taunts or anything that isn't productive to creep into his circle.

"I'm a strong-minded fighter," Alvarez says in such a way that you get he believes it to his core. "I'm not going to fight the fight he wants me to do. I will fight the fight I need to fight to win."

So many of the legendary Mexican fighters have called, or stopped by camp in Big Bear, Calif., to share some wisdom or provide some advice.

It's all appreciated, but he said he's not going to allow himself to lose sight of what is important.

View gallery


Alvarez defeated Austin Trout in April, but Trout is no Floyd Mayweather Jr. (AP Photo)

He and his coaches have been preparing for this moment for the last several years. He's not going to shift his attention away from that work to do something that someone who doesn't have much invested in the fight suggests he do.

"There have been numerous tips and numerous people offering advice," he said. "I appreciate it, because it all comes with good feelings from the heart. But some of it we'll apply and some things we won't. We know what we need to accomplish."

A large part of his potential success will center around his ability to deal with all the distractions that are a natural outgrowth of fighting Mayweather. There are cameras everywhere, and beginning on Aug. 24, his story will be broadcast nationally as part of Showtime's "All Access" series.

That will only bring more attention to him. He'll have to answer the same questions hundreds, perhaps thousands, of times. He won't be able to go anywhere without someone shoving a camera in his face, a pen and a magazine toward him, without people wanting to pat him on the back and wish him well.

Mayweather lives his life inside that fishbowl and thrives upon it. Alvarez has had far more attention in his young career than the average 23-year-old, though, and he might be the kind of guy, just like Mayweather, who not only deals with it, but improves as a result of it.

He is friendly enough, but he seems to have a bit of a chip on his shoulder that compels him to want to prove something to the doubters, be they real or imagined.

"Every fight brings out something different in me, and it will be no different in this one," Alvarez said. "I have learned and gained from all of those experiences. And as I've often said, the public hasn't seen the best of me yet. I need someone like Mayweather to bring that out of me."

Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
Sergey Kovalev KO highlight reel
Brandon Rios ready to make the most of opportunity against Pacman
Manny Pacquiao out to prove he still packs a punch

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.
    • Jameis Winston's elementary school appearance marred by misstep

      Jameis Winston's elementary school appearance marred by misstep

      Since being drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, quarterback Jameis Winston has been making an effort to rehab his public image. After a career at Florida State that was marred by a rape allegation, accusations of stealing crab legs from a … More »

      Shutdown Corner - 23 minutes ago
    • Mark Buehrle's No. 56 will be retired by White Sox

      Mark Buehrle's No. 56 will be retired by White Sox

      Nobody has worn No. 56 for the Chicago White Sox since Mark Buehrle left the team in 2011 and now nobody ever will. The White Sox announced Thursday that they’ll retire No. 56 this season in honor of Buehrle, who played 12 seasons on the South … More »

      Big League Stew - 42 minutes ago
    • Can Bruce Cassidy unlock Boston Bruins' creativity?

      Can Bruce Cassidy unlock Boston Bruins' creativity?

      Boston Bruins interim coach Bruce Cassidy didn’t see any major systematic issues with the team when he took over on Feb. 7 for fired former bench boss Claude Julien. “I think the Xs and Os were solid here, that’s been proven,” Cassidy said. What … More »

      Puck Daddy - 48 minutes ago
    • Charles Oakley is going to a Knicks game again, just not in New York

      Charles Oakley is going to a Knicks game again, just not in New York

      Charles Oakley reportedly plans to attend another New York Knicks game this season, but it’s not exactly an omen that the cold war between the bruising forward and his former team is thawing. Oakley won’t attend Madison Square Garden again anytime … More »

      Ball Don't Lie - 55 minutes ago
    • World Baseball Classic 2017: Boycott hurts Chinese Taipei's chances

      World Baseball Classic 2017: Boycott hurts Chinese Taipei's chances

      From now until the World Baseball Classic begins on March 6, we’ll be helping you get to know each team involved in baseball’s global tournament. Today’s team: Chinese Taipei. The team from Chinese Taipei had high expectations when they competed in … More »

      Big League Stew - 1 hour 12 minutes ago