Canelo Alvarez faces Josesito Lopez this Saturday night on Showtime from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and Marcos Villegas of The Boxing Channel got a chance to speak with promoter Oscar De La Hoya about criticism of the fight, what Oscar wants to see from Canelo going forward, and more.
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Marcos Villegas, The Boxing Channel: "Looking at Saul Alvarez, what do you think he as a fighter still needs to develop, still needs to improve upon, looking at his fights?"
Oscar De La Hoya: "Well it's a matter of just the experience and just the fights that he has. He's progressing, he's growing, he's maturing. Only time will tell. From what I see now, from what I've experienced, Canelo Alvarez is at the top. He's cream of the crop. He's the best of the best. He's a special fighter. He can go up against anybody, and when I say anybody, I'm talking about anybody."
Villegas: "What would you like to see incorporated more in his game? What are some, I guess, things that you personally would hope to see him incorporate more?"
De La Hoya: "Well I was a big fan of the jab. The jab today is a lost art. He's throwing more jabs. Double, triple, to the body, up on top. You know, mix it up. That jab is just very crucial. He's got a strong, strong, solid, fast jab. I just want him to use it more."
Villegas: "Looking at this fight with Josesito, you've got a lot of criticism, just Golden Boy as a whole for putting it on against somebody who's not naturally in his weight class. Do you think those criticisms are validated, that they come from the right place, or you don't agree with them?"
De La Hoya: "Well, I mean, criticism ... I was actually hoping we would get criticism, because when you don't have any criticism towards whatever you do, then something's wrong. Look, we've put on a tremendous, tremendous card. That's the bottom line. That's all there is to it. Especially the fact that it's on Showtime Championship Boxing, live, and not on pay-per-view, is an extra bonus. We're gonna be able to watch names like Maidana, and with Ponce De Leon and Jhonny Gonzalez, and Canelo with Lopez, it's gonna be tremendous, tremendous night of boxing. Opening up with Showtime Extreme, it's gonna be a fun night. September 15th, a lot of fans are going to be able to experience those types of festivities that go around September 15th, the Mexican Independence weekend, it's gonna be a lot of fun."
Villegas: "People have mentioned, because of the quality of opposition Saul has faced that it may hinder his growth as a fighter, because he hasn't fought elite, number one guys in his division. What do you think about people who say that?"
De La Hoya: "No, look, I mean, obviously on the contrary. Look, at the age of 22, Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez is right on track. He's actually exceeded our expectations. He's a tremendous, tremendous talent. I have a plan for him. And the plan is, or the plan was, to face him against Victor Ortiz. Those plans got derailed. Josesito Lopez knocked him out and broke his jaw. What can you do about that? When we first made Paul Williams against Canelo Alvarez, everybody loved that fight. Everybody loved it. The fact that he was stepping up, it was a tough fight, tough style, Paul Williams would be towering over him, nobody criticized him whatsoever. That fell off. Then another fight fell off, another fight fell off. Josesito Lopez actually is in a position where it was kind of like, wow, he can feel like this is meant to be. That can be an extra motivation for him. He is super motivated. That's the most dangerous opponent out there, is the guy who people feel has no shot whatsoever. That's the most dangerous opponent out there."