Teenager Saul Alvarez Nearing Main Event Status
LAS VEGAS -- Mexican-born, welterweight (147 pounds) Saul Alvarez took a record of 22-0-1, with 15 knockouts into his December of 2008, clash with hard-hitting Raul Pinzon, of Barranquilla, Colombia, at the Miccosukee Indian Gaming Resort, in Miami.
Alvarez, then 18, was coming off of an October, 10-round, unanimous victory over Larry Mosley, and was going in against a fighter in Pinzon who was 16-1, with 15 knockouts.
Pinzon's only previous loss had been by a 10-round, majority decision to then, undefeated, Euri Gonzalez, who entered their bout with a mark of 14-0-1.
Alvarez, who had fought almost exclusively in Mexico, blasted Pinzon out of the fight in just one round, sensationally illustrating what the building, national fuss had been all about for the youngster among his countrymen.
"First of all, you look at him, and you know that this kid is different and that he's special. I call him 'The Mexican James Dean,'" said Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, which has signed the red-haired, freckle-faced Alvarez to a promotional contract.
"Plus, he's very charismatic, very good looking, and he can fight, of course," said Schaefer. "Saul is undefeated. And the Mexican and Mexican-American people have embraced him as a potentially great superstar."
So confident is Schaefer in the talents of Alvarez, that the 19-year-old has been cast in the role of the co-main event for Saturday night's megafight between 33-year-old, six-time, champion, Floyd Mayweather (40-0, 25 knockouts), and, 38-year-old, WBA welterweight titlist, Shane Mosley (46-5, 39 KOs), whose crown is not on the line.
Alvarez, whose bout will take place at The MGM Grand, will meet 32-year-old, Jose Miguel Cotto (31-1-1, 23 KOs), of, Caguas, Puerto Rico, who is the older brother of 29-year-old, former three-time, world champion, Miguel Cotto (34-2, 27 KOs).
"Televisa, which is covering fight here, has been with Saul Alvarez the entire week. They're doing specials and feeds every day. The ratings that he gets are 15, and, 16 shares, which are similar to what the Mexican national soccer team gets, which is like, 17, and, 18 shares," said Schaefer.
"That means 16 percent of the entire nation is watching his fights," said Schaefer. "He usually fights in Gudadalajara, Mexico. He's been selling out 15,00-seat venues with people lining up outside."
Alvarez is 31-0-1 with 23 KOs. Alvarez has 27 straight wins, including knockouts in eight of his past nine fights, but none had as much exposure as the teenager will experience on Saturday night.
"I have listened to Saul's management team, and they're an experienced management and they know what they're doing. They feel that he's ready for that stage -- to be on one of the biggest cards of the decade and right before the main event," said Schaefer.
"I think that this is an experience which will help him. He wants to fight Manny Pacquiao. He wants to fight Floyd Mayweather. He has told me those things," said schaefer. "To be right before Mayweather-Mosley is an amazing platform, and he knows that. And I hope that his nerves won't fail him and that he's going to deliver, which we think that he will."
The only blemish on record of Alvarez (pictured below, at left, with Jose Miguel Cotto)_was a draw in his fifth fight as a professional, when he fought Jorge Juarez as a 15-year-old in June of 2006.
After that, Alvarez reeled off eight consecutive stoppages over an 11-month span -- including four in the second round, and, two in the fourth -- from July of 2006, through, June of 2007.
"Saul Alvarez is not weak in any one department. He sets things up with a jab. He's not in a hurry. He has power in both hands. He has good balance and good timing," said Doug Fischer, Co-editor of RingTV.com.
"He sets up punches and he blocks well, but could work on his defense," said Fischer. "I would say that his weakness is handspeed and lateral movement, and I base that off of his fight with Larry Mosley. Mosley basically out-boxed him, but Alvarez wanted it a little bit more."
Jose Miguel Cotto is coming off of December's sixth-round knockout of Ilido Julio, and has not lost since suffering a 12-round, unanimous decision setback to Juan Diaz for the WBA lightweight (135 pounds) title in April of 2006.
In his past five fights, Jose Miguel Cotto is 4-0-1, with four knockouts, including three straight stoppages.
"I didn't come here to be a stepping stone for anybody. This is an opportunity for me to, once again, show that I'm one of the best fighters out there," said Jose Miguel Cotto. "I came here to have a great fight and a great win. I belong among the big leagues of boxers, and I will demonstrate on Saturday what Jose Miguel Cotto is all about."
Alvarez did not back down when he heard Cotto's comments during a press conference on Thursday, instead, directing this salvo at his rival.
"The only thing that Cotto has going for him is his last name," said Alvarez. "Maybe it's better for him to remain in the corner and to help his brother."
Schaefer expects Alvarez to have remained unbeaten when he leaves the MGM Grand.
"Saul Avalrez really has captured the imagination of the Mexican people," said Schaefer. "He's an entertaining fighter, and an exciting fighter, and we think that he has a bright future. I really can't wait to see him on Saturday night."