Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez has dismissed the notion of feeling under pressure at being Mexico’s leading fighter during ‘Cinco de Mayo’ week in Las Vegas.
The WBC middleweight champion, who makes the first defence of his title against Amir Khan at the new T-Mobile Arena on Saturday at a catchweight of 155lbs, has inherited the role of being the proud boxing nation’s leading fight figure.
Alvarez follows a generation of fine fighters including Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, Julio Cesar Chavez and more, and upon his arrival at the MGM Grand on Tuesday was greeted by numerous fans wearing the red headband Chavez made famous but which was embossed with the name ‘Canelo’.
Mexico’s Cinco de Mayo public holiday is also a time of great significance to the nation, and Alvarez is also widely expected to convincingly win Saturday’s fight – but, asked about the pressure his status brings, he responded: “No pressure.
“It’s a great responsibility, but no pressure, I’ve learned to assimilate it with hard work, and fight by fight you gain that experience to continue on.
“It’s a responsibility. (The Mexican greats), they’ve written their story, their history, now I have to do mine. With that, it gives you that motivation to work harder and give it that extra mile.”
Earlier on Tuesday Khan had spoken of studying Alvarez’s fights with Floyd Mayweather, which brought his only professional defeat and in a convincing manner, and Erislandy Lara – who many believe he lost to.
The 25-year-old’s only other blemish came in his fifth professional fight when aged only 15 he drew with the little-known Jorge Juarez, but even with Khan insisting parts of Saturday’s fight will be “like a chess match” and that Mayweather and Lara exposed his flaws, he does not believe Khan will show anything new.
“I’m not worried or concerned about that,” he said. “Amir Khan’s never been in a boring fight so I don’t think it’ll start now, he’s always been in exciting fights.
“(And) let’s not forget about the courage he has: when he’s been down he’s got back up. He’s very courageous and you’ve got to respect that.”