It’s like what our forefathers preached, “The most valuable asset you’ll ever have in life is a friend, and in order to have a friend or friends, you have to be a friend.” Those words seem so apropos when talking about the two-way street established between the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez/Golden Boy Promotions camp and the Barragan family who own and operate the local House of Boxing gym in Paradise Hills, San Diego, CA.
On Tuesday, just five days before the Alvarez camp had to pack up their things and head north to Las Vegas for their mega-fight versus Erislandy Lara, Alvarez, one of the most popular boxers of our day, participated in an open workout before hoards of TV cameras, print and internet reporters and boxing videographers at the House of Boxing Training Center in Paradise Hills.
It wasn’t long ago, that the 23 year-old Alvarez purchased an upscale home in Del Mar, a beach community in San Diego County. As a member of the boxing community, it was necessary for Alvarez and his people to reach out to the locals for an assist with sparring partners and the construction of a gym inside his new four car garage. Not to get too deep into what was done or for what price, but the Barragans lent their wholehearted support to see that everything went smoothly. Ever since that time, Alvarez and his people have never forgotten that kindness and that’s why Santos Saúl Álvarez Barragán keeps up their friendship. Like our forefathers, he understands the value of having a good friend.
Quotes from media day
“I’ve had a great training camp here in San Diego and I’m ready to go,’’ said Alvarez who now owns two homes, one in Del Mar, CA and the other in Juanacatlán, Jalisco, Mexico. “Every camp is different because we’re always training for a different opponent. And, as always, I’ve worked very hard in this one. But Lara has said so many things behind my back and on social media for such a long time now that, yes, this fight is and has become personal.
“He’s a good fighter but he talks a lot. He’s offended me. I’m going to have an answer for everything he has said. I’m going to shut him up once and for all.’’
Canelo spent more than two hours at the House of Boxing working up a heavy sweat during a spirited, 75-minute workout that consisted of jumping rope, shadow-boxing, hitting the heavy bag and double-ended bag plus showcasing his quickness on the speed bag. Before and after, he did interviews, signed autographs, posed for photos and mingled with his many fans.
The most interesting question asked: “Why isn’t Alvarez fighting for Lara’s 154-pound title?
“Titles are always nice, but for me this fight is bigger than a title fight. This fight is for my honor and glory to bring to the Mexican people. It is a fight for honor and it is a fight that people wanted to see. My fans are the best and I want to thank them for all of their support. I feel really comfortable fighting at 154 pounds (?) and will probably stay in this weight class my whole career.’’
If you recall, in Alvarez’s last fight against Alfredo Angulo, he had trouble staying under that 154 pound weight limit and in the end failed to make weight. That miscue cost him $100,000. Alvarez had to further agree to a weight check at 3 p.m. the following day at which time he could not weigh more than 168 pounds.
Then, the strangest thing happened. On the night of their fight, both boxers were weighed and Alvarez weighed 170 pounds (?) and Angulo 174 pounds (?). Where were the nutritionists when needed the most?
It will be interesting to see how heavy Alvarez weighs on July 11th at the weigh-in for this bout against Lara.
Regarding the pressure of fighting Lara:
“There is no extra pressure on me for this fight. I’m as confident and relaxed as I always am. I’m prepared for whatever Lara has to offer. At this level you have to be able to adapt and make the necessary adjustments. I know I’m coming to fight and I know he’s coming to fight. After that, whatever happens, happens.’’
Call it hype or call it bull, the quotes from Chepo and Eddie Reynoso, Canelo’s trainer and co-trainer, respectively, and Oscar De La Hoya, president and founder of Golden Boy Promotions were your typical secretive, diplomatic statements, like the answers you’d receive from a poker player when asked about his hole cards.
Jose “Chepo” Reynoso, Canelo’s trainer: “Canelo has a much different mindset going into this fight, his attitude is much better. His pride was hurt because of all of the smack Lara has been talking. (really?) He is totally focused on July 12, and wants to punish (strong word)Lara thoroughly. Canelo looks at Lara as an obnoxious little child that needs (a spanking?) to be put into his place.
“We train every day of the week except for Sunday. He spars Monday, Wednesday and Friday. San Diego has been much more peaceful and tranquil compared to past training camp locations (eluding to the training camps he had in Santa Monica and Big Bear). His gym is in the same place where he lives, so everything is very convenient. The only time he leaves his house is in the morning when he goes on his run. Besides that, he is very focused and able to train in the comforts of his own home.”
Old school trainers might disagree with the philosophy of getting “too comfortable” during your preparation for a major fight.
Chepo’s son and Canelo’s co-trainer, Eddie Reynoso:
“After the last fight we only took 15 days off and then we went right back into training. We have had a great training camp that I believe will work in our favor.
“The biggest difference from this training camp compared to others is that the fighter we are opposing has a completely different style. One is a righty and one is a lefty, so we must train for our opponent specifically. One is more courageous and goes to the front and the other retracts and pushes back.
“Going into the Lara fight we have seen that Lara defends a lot and gives up his offensive moves. He is always on the defensive and we must attack him. Canelo has his combinations and strength that will work in his favor. Canelo just needs to win a decision; he doesn’t necessarily need a knockout to show the world what he is capable of. Since this is Canelo’s most important fight, it is all that he is focusing on.”
Oscar De La Hoya: “It’s going to be a great fight; I don’t want to predict anything. Lara has been doing a lot of trash talking that has been fueling Canelo. I see him at an entirely different level and it’s exactly where he should be. He’s at a level of determination where he really wants to get this guy. It’s personal.
“Canelo is a young fighter who is improving at a rapid pace as every fight goes on. The fact that Lara has made this fight personal, it gives you extra motivation that you need to train harder, run faster and do everything almost perfect so that you can go into the ring and destroy your opponent.
“The fact this fight is personal, it is the first time (first and only time?) that I have seen Canelo with that extra determination. He has looked perfect in training camp. He wants to destroy Lara. This is exactly where he needs to be. I can see it in his eyes, his focus says it all.
“The presence of social media has taken this fight to an entirely new level. When you have a fighter like Canelo who a lot of people follow, then social media is a key component to make sure that this PPV fight will be a guaranteed success. There is much anticipation leading up to the fight, I expect the MGM Grand Garden Arena to be completely sold out.
“Every fighter in the ring has a chance. With fighting, one punch can change the entire dynamic of a fight. I’m expecting a great fight from top to bottom, but obviously I’m with Canelo 100 percent.”
The loyal opposition, the Erislandy Lara backers:
Lara, who believes he is the better fighter, says he isn’t discounting the fact that Alvarez has also been putting in the hard work to maintain his arsenal of punches to include the damaging shot to the liver, kidneys, the big overhand right to the left side of Lara’s head and possibly a punch that comes from down under – a devastating uppercut.
“I know Canelo is training hard for this fight, as am I,” begins Lara. “But unfortunately for him, there is nothing he can do to surprise me. He’s going to find out on July 12 that I’m the superior fighter. His insecurities as a fighter will surface on fight night — that I can guarantee.
“My sparring partners are pushing me with numerous styles and I’m adapting to all of them comfortably. I’ve told them to come at me extra hard to prepare me for the pressure Canelo is going to bring. I feel great and my timing is right on.”
Anonymous: “Lara, who last fought on December 7th, domintated Austin Trout while Alvarez was effective but not nearly as impressive in his win over Trout. While Trout landed just 20% of his total punches against Lara, the exact number landed by Lara’s last six opponents, Lara was busy landing 41% of his power shots. Besides, the current posted Las Vegas betting odds attest to the fact this fight is expected to be much, much more competitive than that Alvarez vs. Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo bout back in March. In that one, the odds favored Alvarez (-900) and Angulo as the dog received +600. In this one, Alvarez versus Lara, we see Alvarez as a -170 favorite while Lara is +140.
Shane Mosley: “Lara, who moves well, will give Canelo problems.”
Austin Trout: “Lara is the better boxer. Canelo may be strong but I don’t think he’ll be able to land on Lara. I’ve got Lara winning by an unanimous decision.”
In the co-main event, Abner Mares will be facing Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Oquendo in a 10-round featherweight clash. In the opening bout, it will be Johan Perez defending his interim WBA Junior Welterweight World Title against Mauricio Herrera in a 12-round matchup. Also, Juan Manuel Lopez is set to go 10 rounds against Francisco Vargas for the WBO International Super Featherweight Title.
The show, produced and distributed live by Showtime PPV will begin at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and can be heard in Spanish using secondary audio programming (SAP).