Canelo Alvarez held a media conference call to discuss his upcoming fight against Liam Smith. Right here, you can find the full set of questions and answers from Canelo.
Good afternoon, everybody. Thank you, all, for being on the call. Thank you for the support for this fight, for supporting me. This is going to be a great event, and you don’t want to miss it. Thank you all for participating on this call.
Q. Canelo, I just wanted to ask you how much have you studied Liam Smith? And from your perspective, why is this the right fight for you at this time?
CANELO ALVAREZ: Yes, I have looked at him, and the style more than anything is what we like. He’s a good fighter, he’s a champion. He’s very strong. He’s got a Mexican style, you know, a guy that stands there and likes to exchange punches, so that’s one of the things that attracted us to the fight.
And, you know, part of the reason for choosing him is he’s a world champion. I want to win another world title in my weight class, 154. Then after that we’ll see what’s available.
Q. When you look at him, he does seem like he’s very aggressive. Do you think that aggression will exist knowing that he’s fighting you?
CANELO ALVAREZ (Via Translator): No, I don’t think he’s going to change his style. I think he’s going to do what he does best — be aggressive, throw combination, keep coming forward. That’s what he does best. But, obviously, for me, I’m always ready for any style. I prepare myself for any style and I’ll be ready for anything.
Q. It’s been a long time since a Mexican fighter has been the A side of the equation promoting a promotion on Mexican Independence. How do you feel, and was that your goal? And now that you’ve reached your goal, are you happy?
CANELO ALVAREZ (Via Translator): His answer was yes, I’m very excited. Very excited. I’m happy. It’s an honor for me to represent my country. This is what I wanted. These are the dates that are important for our country, for Mexicans, and I’m here and I’m going to take every advantage of it.
Q. First of all, did you see the Olympics, and what do you think about the critics? There are a lot of critics in Mexico that criticized a lot of the athletes for their performances. Do you think it’s something that’s right or do you think it’s changed?
CANELO ALVAREZ (Via Translator): Yes, it’s unfortunate, but that happens a lot in Mexico. They criticize the athletes. The athletes are the ones that pretty much put Mexico on the map internationally, and it’s a shame that some things they get criticized so harshly. It’s something that should change, and I think if we were all supporting each other, we’d be in a better place.
Q. Canelo, I wonder what your thoughts are about fighting in Texas again.
CANELO ALVAREZ (Via Translator): I feel very happy. For me, I’ve always been treated very, very well, a warm reception each time I fight in Texas. For me, the most important thing is to give them a good fight and that’s what I want to do. I want to give them a good fight. They’ve always treated me well in Texas, and I love being in Texas.
Q. Have you seen AT&T Stadium yet? What are your impressions of it?
CANELO ALVAREZ (Via Translator): It’s very impressive, very, very impressive how big it is. And the big screen, and it’s very, very beautiful. It’s impressive and it motivates me. It motivates me just imagining how it’s going to be on September 17th. It’s something that gets me really excited, and I can’t wait. I can’t wait to get out there and fight.
Q. Eric, you were just talking about the fans. Basically they’re tough on their own people over there in Mexico. So that’s kind of what I’ve always thought. Can you ask him when the decision was made for him to not fight Golovkin until September of next year, can you ask if he was concerned about how his fans might react, and has he received any negative feedback for not fighting Golovkin sooner?
CANELO ALVAREZ (Via Translator): Yeah, you know, there’s always going to be critics. They’re always there, and it’s something that’s part of it. It’s part of the business. Obviously there’s good critics sometimes and there’s bad critics. But the most important thing is it doesn’t faze me. It doesn’t faze me. That’s fine, I’m used to it now, and I’ve got to do what’s best for my career.
Q. Oscar, I think most people will figure that the decision to wait until next year for Golovkin was probably yours. How tough was it to make that decision knowing that — because we all know how people are, whether it’s fair or it’s not, with social media today, right away you’re going to have people saying, oh, he’s ducking Golovkin, blah, blah, blah. How tough was it to make the decision to wait another year?
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Well, it’s basically the team’s decision, you know? I mean, Canelo knows his body. His trainers know his body, and the bottom line is Canelo is a 154-pound fighter. The fact that he fought at 155, people expect him to go up and fight at middleweight, and that’s not the case. He’s a 54-pounder, and he’s going to go up to 160 when his body feels ready.
People will always talk and will always want the very best when you are on top of the world, and that’s what Canelo is right now. He’s on top. He is the star fighter in boxing, and people want him to fight the very best. And he has always fought the very best. And fighting a Golovkin is going to be no exception. He’s going to fight him, but when he’s ready to move up to 160.
Q. This is Liam Smith’s first fight abroad. Does it give you an advantage that you’re used to fighting in front of the big crowds in America?
CANELO ALVAREZ (Via Translator): I really don’t think about that. It’s something that really doesn’t cross my mind. I’m preparing for the best possible Liam Smith there is. I don’t think about the crowd. I don’t think about people cheering. I just go up there, and my focus is to get the job done.
Q. Do you think that for Liam Smith it benefits him to stand toe to toe and fight you toe to toe, knowing that you’re a very big puncher yourself, very powerful? Do you think it’s something that will be an advantage, or do you think he should maybe change his game plan?
CANELO ALVAREZ (Via Translator): No, that’s his style. That’s what he’s going to do. He’s a guy that’s very strong as well. He’s a strong puncher and throws combination and he’s aggressive. So I’m preparing for the best possible Liam Smith there is. I’m going to go with my game plan. He can go with his game plan, and may the better man win.
Q. What do you think about the story about the bronze medalist out of Mexico? He won the bronze medal in boxing. He told a story about having to raise money for himself to go to Brazil and there wasn’t really too much support from the government.
CANELO ALVAREZ (Via Translator): It’s very sad, it’s very sad, but it’s common in Mexico. The support for boxing itself is not very good, and boxing has given Mexico many world champions. It’s got a great history, but it’s sad. It’s unfortunate. It happened to me when I was an amateur. That’s part of the reason I became a pro because the support wasn’t really there. So it’s very, very sad and hopefully it can change.
Q. There’s always a tendency to criticize your opponents. It doesn’t matter who you fight. They’re always criticizing, whether the guy’s too big, he’s too small, he’s not at your level. They’re always criticizing him. Do you get tired of that?
CANELO ALVAREZ (Via Translator): No, look, it’s always going to be there. I’m used to it. All I can do is worry about winning the fight and studying my opponent so there are no surprises, and that’s what I worry about.
Q. Obviously you’re fighting this fight with Liam Smith, if you win the fight, are you planning on defending the title or will you start making your move to 160 and start preparing for Golovkin?
CANELO ALVAREZ (Via Translator): I can’t keep fighting this fight thinking about Golovkin. I’m preparing for Liam Smith. That’s what’s important to me. My train of thought is not to see what’s down the line. I’ve got to get ready for the fight. This is a real fight. I’m not the one that has to prepare for Golovkin. He better prepare for me.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Yes, that’s correct. This is a tough fight with Liam Smith. It’s not a walk-over fight. It’s a tough fight. And first things first, we’ve got to get past him and then we’ll deal with future fights. But as of right now, everything is geared to fighting against Liam Smith and being successful.
Q. Oscar, if you could clarify what the building is scaled for, what AT&T Stadium is scaled for? Is it going to be full capacity? Is it scaled back a little bit? Do you know the exact number?
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: I don’t know the exact number. I do know that the building can be scaled for as many as over 80,000 people. So, like I said, ticket sales are going incredibly well. We’re outpacing the last two Manny Pacquiao fights that were held at AT&T Stadium. So Jerry Jones is extremely happy. The fans are happy. We’re happy. And I’m sure that Canelo and Liam Smith are going to be really happy when they see the turnout at the arena.
Q. Oscar, if you do a number better than the Pacquiao fights, which would be a very big number, how encouraging would that be for you to go back maybe immediately to Cowboys Stadium for the next fight?
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Well, I mean, look, it would be very impressive. But at this point nothing surprises me with Canelo. Like I said, he’s only getting better. He has a tremendous fan base, and ticket sales show it. He has millions and millions of fans around the world, and ticket sales are proving that.
So I believe that it’s not if he outsells the Pacquiao fights at the AT&T arena. I think the question is going to be when he outsells the Pacquiao ticket sales at the arena. I strongly believe that at the age of 26 years old, Canelo is a bigger star and a better fighter compared to any fighter out there today.
Q. Oscar, would you say if Canelo sells out AT&T, would that be kind of a passing of the torch basically from you to him as the certified Mexican star?
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Well, the passing of the torch has already taken place. With Mayweather being retired and Pacquiao being retired, Canelo is the face of boxing now. He’s proven it with ticket sales. He’s proven it with Pay-Per-Views, and he’s going to prove it once again by outselling Manny Pacquiao at the AT&T arena.
So I believe this is just the beginning for Canelo, and he has a long future ahead for himself. We can’t wait to be part of it.
Q. What is it about Texas that does good business for y’all? Because I’ve been going to fights since the Trout one before he even fought Mayweather, and he sold that out. So I’m looking for the 85,000. What is that connection? Can you talk about the connection that Canelo has with the Texas people?
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Well, Texas loves Canelo. Texas loves boxing. I mean, just like any other part of the world, people love Canelo and they want to see Canelo because he brings excitement to the sport. He brings exciting fights.
And this fight here with Liam Smith is going to be a toe-to-toe, “right in the center of the ring” type of action fight. That’s why people love Canelo. He works hard, he’s a serious fighter, and he brings a lot of action to the table.
Q. Canelo, do you feel super comfortable when you fight in Texas? Because it seems like your best performances, couple of your best performances I’ve been here, with the Trout fight and the Kirkland fight, and it seems you don’t mind getting into the toe-to-toe war and giving us what we want, a spectacular knockout. Is that your mindset heading into this fight with Smith September 17th?
CANELO ALVAREZ (Via Translator): I feel happy. I feel very happy and comfortable fighting there. Yes, I’ve had some very good performances. September 17th is not going to be an exception. I’m looking for another great performance. I just feel very happy with the reception I get in Texas. It feels very good being there.
Q. Oscar, I know that there have been some recent Pay-Per-Views that have struggled, talking about Crawford-Postol, and even going back to Mayweather-Berto, didn’t really do that well. What do you expect for this show in terms of Pay-Per-View numbers? Do you think it will exceed Canelo’s fight against Amir Khan, which did about I think like 600,000 Pay-Per-Views?
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Well, we can’t really tell how many.
ERIC GOMEZ, Senior Vice President of Golden Boy Promotions: Well, first of all, that number’s wrong, Mitchy. It wasn’t that much for the Kahn fight. But go ahead, Oscar.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: We really can’t say how many Pay-Per-Views he’s going to sell, but we’re expecting a big number as always. We strongly feel that Canelo’s star power is only growing. And as we get closer to the fights, we’ll have a better indication.
But we always gauge our numbers by how many tickets we’re selling in the arena. And as you know, we’re outpacing Manny Pacquiao in ticket sales at the AT&T Arena. So we expect a really strong number come September 17.
Q. Liam Smith, a lot of people stateside don’t know him or haven’t heard of him, so he doesn’t really have a big name, though we know he’s a champion and undefeated. Are you preparing differently for this fight knowing that you’re fighting a guy like that?
CANELO ALVAREZ (Via Translator): Look, whether people consider if he has a name or not, he’s still a very good fighter. He’s a champion and he’s undefeated for the right reasons. So I’m preparing like I always do, 100%. I’m getting ready for this fight. I’ll be prepared for everything. I just don’t want any surprises, but this is going to be a tough fight.
Q. What are the plans right now, if there are any, involving Billy Joe Saunders?
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Well, there are no plans right now. The only plan that we have is to stage an exciting event September 17th. Like I said before, if everything goes well, then September 18th we’ll start getting to work once again to see what’s next for Canelo.
Q. I understand that the focus is always on the fight right in front of you. But Gomez had said that the hope was still to go forward with Billy Joe Saunders for a future fight. So, again, I ask you, is that still the plan after this fight, to go forward with Billy Joe Saunders as the next fight?
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: There is a possibility, but right now the focus 100% is on Liam Smith.
Q. Okay. What in your mind is the difference between Canelo, who you said is a 154-pounder right now, and being physically ready to fight Billy Joe Saunders next, and not Gennady Golovkin?
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Well, like I said, our focus and Canelo’s focus is fighting at 154, and after this fight his team and ourselves will sit down and discuss future opponents.
Q. Oscar, we talked a little bit about the Pay-Per-View, and Golden Boy always has this standard for great undercards with their shows. With a lot of the struggles with Luis Ortiz and Billy Joe Saunders, do you guys feel this undercard will give the fans more than they can expect with fights like Gabriel Rosado and Willie Monroe being put together? Do you feel this undercard will be able to hold up to the standard of regular Golden Boy undercards?
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Absolutely. We at Golden Boy pride ourselves in giving the fans the most exciting and the best fights possible, and that’s exactly what we’ve put together. See, the fight fans in Dallas, Texas, or across the globe want to see action, and that’s what Canelo brings to the table. Canelo brings action, excitement, and our undercards are obviously no exception. Our undercards are always full of excitement and great fights.
Q. Canelo, fighting in Texas has been a lot of great Mexican fighters, Oscar himself, Julio Cesar Chavez, Juan Manuel Marquez. You yourself are the next great Mexican fighter up. Is there any added pressure for you, not just fighting in Texas, but living up to the Mexican tradition and performing well and delivering a great fight in Texas?
CANELO ALVAREZ (Via Translator): I don’t feel any pressure whatsoever. The only pressure I have for any of my fights is just to prepare 100%. That’s it. That’s been my mindset, to be ready and prepare 100%. That’s where I get my confidence. But none of that stuff really pressures me. I want to do my best and give a great performance.
As far as being the next great from Mexico, no, I don’t really think about that. It’s no pressure whatsoever, as long as I’m doing my job.
THE MODERATOR: We are ready for closing comments.
CANELO ALVAREZ (Via Translator): I just want to thank everybody for participating on this call. Thank you for the support as always, and I’ll see you guys September 17th. We’ll see each other really soon.