With September being National Hispanic Heritage Month, former two-division world champion Canelo Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) will take back Mexican Independence Day weekend for Latino fight fans in his upcoming battle against WBO Junior Middleweight World Champion Liam “Beefy” Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs).
Right here, we have a collection of Canelo vs. Smith fight week kick off quotes, as well as photos from Oscar De La Hoya’s visit to Cowboys Stadium, where he watched the Cowboys-Giants game with Jerry Jones and George Bush, amongst others.
Reclaiming the distinctive weekend is a greater symbol of the arrival of Canelo Alvarez to the very top of the sport, as the last Mexican fighter who owned the action-packed weekend was Golden Boy Promotions’ Chairman and CEO Oscar De La Hoya.
The prized Mexican Independence weekend was a tradition started by the legend himself, Julio Cesar Chavez. Chavez’s relentless Mexican style of attack is what made holiday weekends worthy of gathering family and friends together to watch the matches – a legacy that all Mexican boxers strove to live up to. That legacy was officially passed on to Oscar De La Hoya in a career defining match on September 18, 1998, where De La Hoya met with Cesar Chavez in the ring for the WBC World welterweight title. From that point on, the “Golden Boy” was in charge of headlining on the two biggest dates for the Latino fan base – Mexican Independence Day and Cinco de Mayo weekends.
Though some of boxing’s biggest and most talented fighters come from all over Latin America, the September 17 weekend is not just for Mexican fight fans – but all Latinos who share a passion for boxing.
Here is what Chairman and CEO Oscar De La Hoya and Latino Fighters of the Canelo-Smith card had to say about fighting on the historic weekend:
Canelo Alvarez, Former Two-Divison World Champion
“Getting to fight at the AT&T Stadium in Texas is a huge privilege for me and my career. Fighting on this weekend is powerful because it tells the story of Mexicans all over, making a win even more important. This fight is going to be historic; from the venue, the title, to the fans who are going to show up – I take all of this into consideration as I train hard for this match.”
Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions
“Mexican Independence Day has always been a huge weekend in boxing. Boxing’s biggest giants have all fought on the historic weekend, and to have a talented Mexican boxer like Canelo Alvarez take it back for the Latino community is amazing, and a huge win for us Latinos, especially as we enter Hispanic Heritage Month.
“Some of my biggest fights were held on the historic Mexican Independence Day weekend – from Julio Cesar Chavez, Bernard Hopkins to Shane Mosley and Felix Trinidad just to name a few. I remember the fights I had in the ring on this historic weekend; the emotions, pride, and excitement from the crowd becomes contagious and gives you the fuel needed to give a top level performance.
“Fight fans should expect a night of explosive talent on September 17, as these fighters will be stepping on to the mat with thousands of fanatics cheering them on, representing their Latino roots. It will be a night that Latinos will be proud to see someone like Canelo representing them in the sport, an event no Latino should miss. This is our turn to dominate boxing once again.”
“King” Gabriel Rosado, Former Middleweight World Title Challenger:
“I’m proud being Latino from Puerto Rican heritage. I grew up speaking Spanish. My culture is a way of life, it’s who I am.
“Fighting on Mexican Independence Day is an honor for me. I have a big Mexican fan base! So I’m looking forward to putting on a show in Texas. I think that’s a very big date for Boxing. To headline a card itself it’s a huge deal, but doing it on Hispanic heritage month it’s a bonus. I admire and look up to the most is Roberto Duran. He came from nothing like many other fighters do, and had a legendary career. I try to take his aggressive smart pressure. He was a master at breaking down his opponents.
“September 17 fans can expect a hungry warrior willing to do whatever it takes to be victorious! I want to give the fans a Knock Out win…Team KGR is working hard!”
Willie Monroe Jr, Former WBA-NABA and WBO NABO Middleweight Champion:
“It’s big to me because I have Cuban blood. To have Independence in a country like America, It makes you proud to have Latino Independence. I remember, Chavez, Canelo and even Mayweather having big fights on this weekend. I love Guillermo Rigondeaux, Felix Trinidad and ironically Fernando Vargas – since I am now fighting his pupil, Gabriel Rosado.
“I plan on headlining Cinco de Mayo weekend next year. What would be a better fight then me and Canelo? I hope Canelo calls me into the ring after he fights.”
Joseph “Jojo” Diaz, Jr., NABF Featherweight Champion:
“Knowing that September is Hispanic Heritage Month makes me feel more confident to go out there and be the best I can be for my people! It’s an honor fighting on Mexican Independence Day weekend. A lot of great fights have been on this special day, and I’m ready to put everything on the line to give the fight fans another fight to remember.
“Hopefully one day I can be a main event fighter on Mexican Independence Day weekend. This would mean a lot to my career because it’ll show everyone that I can be the next big Mexican American star. I admire Oscar De La Hoya Canelo and Chavez Sr. as these great fighters have done a lot for the sport and are great at it. I hope to be as good as them one day.
“Fight fans can see a very determined Joseph Diaz that is going to give it his all for all the fans tuning in. Especially, because it’s Mexican Independence Day. I will be ready for whatever my opponent brings to the ring.”
Andrew “El Chango” Cancio, Super Featherweight Contender:
“I am proud to be Mexican-American every day. I appreciate that in the United States we dedicate a month to celebrate Hispanic heritage and Mexican independence.
“I am glad to be part of such a big event. As a Mexican-American fighter, it was one of my goals to one day fight on this stage and now I am here and will make the most of it. One of my favorite fights on this weekend is Oscar De La Hoya v. Fernando Vargas. I would like to one day headline such big events in boxing. At this point in my career it would be a great accomplishment to headline any big event in my career. Some of the fighters that I admire are Juan Manuel Marquez, Marco Antonio Barrera, and Erik Morales. What I like about them is their versatility. They could brawl, box, and counter punch. As I develop as a fighter, I try to implement some of their techniques that fit my style.
“The fans can expect a war. It will be a fight to be remembered during the Mexican festivities. I will leave it all in the ring. I guarantee it. I am here to win to move to bigger things.”
Diego De La Hoya, WBC Youth World Super Bantamweight Champion:
“September is the month of our independence, fighting away from my country in this special date makes me want to make my Mexican people proud. I know Mexicans will be very excited to watch all the Mexican fighters that day.
“Like I have said before, it’s going to be a very intense fight, but I feel ready. One of my favorite fights I watched that was on Mexican Independence Day weekend was Julio Cesar Chavez vs. Hector Macho Camacho because of the rivalry between Mexicans and Puerto Ricans.
“It would be something very great in my career being the main event on a Mexican Independence Day weekend, and even more representing my hometown city Mexicali. Like all Mexican fighter our idol Julio Cesar Chavez, gave a lot of accomplishments to our Mexican boxing fans and there will never be someone like him, because his style is unique.
Luis Orlando “Orlandito” Del Valle, Super Bantamweight Contender:
“It feels incredible to fight on this weekend. The Hispanic community is like a big family. There’s nothing like being a part of that community and the celebration of our heritage. That sense of pride gives me HUGE motivation. Feels great to be a part of the event and celebration.
“My favorite Mexican Independence Day Weekend fight has to be Felix Trinidad vs. Oscar de la Hoya in 1999. It was a huge celebration that weekend for my beloved Puerto Rico. I’ve already headlined an event the night before the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York and that was a huge accomplishment and honor. I am looking forward to doing it again on a bigger stage.
“Fighting in Texas during Hispanic Heritage Month and Mexican Independence Day weekend will be a great platform!
Felix Trinidad. Just an amazing fighter and a role model. He is my favorite fighter, I love everything about him.”
Eddie “E-Boy” GomezIBF North American Welterweight Champion:
“It makes me feel proud to be Hispanic and proud that I’m able to step in the ring and represent Hispanic heritage my country and all Hispanics around the world. I feel very happy and motivated to be fighting on such a big weekend in the history of boxing.
“My favorite fight held on this big weekend from the past would have to be De la Hoya vs Vargas. I would love to fight during Hispanic heritage month/weekend especially since I’m from Honduras. I would like to represent my country while being the first Honduran world champion, being giving the opportunity to showcase my talent and represent for my country during Hispanic heritage month would mean the world to me.
“I admire Roberto Duran and Oscar de la Hoya. I like how they represent their heritage. They put their country high and represent where they’re from each time they step foot in the ring.”
Hector “El Finito” Tanajara, Jr.Lightweight Contender:
“I’m proud to be Mexican American and proud to represent my heritage every time I step in the ring. Fighting on arguably the biggest weekend in boxing is an honor for me and gives me motivation to one day headline my own cards in San Antonio on this weekend.
“My favorite fight from this weekend has to be De La Hoya-Vargas. Nothing compares to that type of rivalry and that type of atmosphere on such a big stage. I would love to headline an event on this weekend. Not only headline such a big card, but make sure I headline it in San Antonio. Without a doubt my two favorite Mexican fighters are “Finito” Lopez and Erik Morales. Finito’s flawless style and Morales’ charisma and heart are what stand out the most to me.
“The fans can expect a great show this weekend from me. This is my first pro fight in Texas and I want to make it a memorable one.”
Joshua “El Professor” Franco, Bantamweight Contender:
“I’m proud to be Mexican American and proud to know that that our heritage is represented well during the two biggest weekends in boxing. One fight that stands out from this weekend’s history is Vargas De La Hoya. That’s still one of my favorite fights ever even though my family and I were big Fernando Vargas fans.
“I’m very happy Golden Boy gave me the chance to fight on Mexican Independence Day weekend. I’m working even harder to showcase my skills in such a big event. It’s every Mexican or Mexican American fighters dream to headline a card during this weekend in boxing. It’s a great tradition that I one day hope to leave my mark on as well.
“My favorite Mexican fighters are Marco Antonio Barrera because of his calm demeanor but relentless style in the ring. Julio Cesar Chavez because of the way he put pressure. It was an all action type style but he had great reflexes and a great defense. Fernando Vargas. He accomplished a lot at such a young age and never backed down from any other top fighter.”
Zachary “Zungry” Ochoa, Super Lightweight Contender:
“Hispanic Heritage Month makes me feel more thankful for my family and ancestors that led the way for us to be here in the US and express our culture! I feel moved and excited to be in an atmosphere so electric.
“Canelo-Mayweather was my favorite fight held on the Mexican Independence Day weekend because that same day my nephew was born. So I went from the hospital to running home to watch the fight.
“I would love to one day headline an event this big or bigger on an important month like this. Accomplishing this would mean a lot to my career, opening many doors to new opportunities and more fans.”
Alexis Salazar Super Welterweight Contender:
“I am proud to be Mexican, representing Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico. I remember growing up and watching Oscar De La Hoya and Canelo Alvarez as some of the heaviest hitters and the biggest combatants.
“To be able to fight on the special weekend – especially as a Mexican fighter, it would be a dream come true. I admire Canelo Alvarez for his discipline, for all his accomplishments despite his young age, and over everything the value he has representing Mexicans, especially those from Jalisco.”