Mike Alvarado isn't exactly coming in hot for Saturday night's HBO showdown with Juan Manuel Marquez, but the 33-year-old Denver native is looking forward to what is really his biggest career opportunity to date, following a brutal loss to Ruslan Provodnikov last October.
Alvarado (34-2, 23 KO) has been in a series of exciting and action-packed fights in his recent career, but now has a chance against the 40-year-old Marquez (55-7-1, 40 KO) to not only score his biggest career win, but if he does, potentially retire one of the great fighters of this era.
"Retiring a legend is going to be huge," said Alvarado. "I respect Marquez and his great career but now is my time. This is one of those opportunities that you cannot miss and I will give everything in the ring to get the win. It'll be a great fight and I have to fight without any mistakes to beat Marquez.
"This is a huge step in my life to redeem myself and I know that this is only going to make me a better person, a better fighter and a better man in my life. I respect Marquez fully, he's a legend in this game, he's already made his mark. This is the perfect opportunity for me to redeem myself and even retire as a legend," he said.
Alvarado says that the pressure of the fight won't be a problem for him, and that he's going to look to impose his will on the naturally smaller Marquez, who will be giving up significant height in the 143-pound catchweight fight.
"When Top Rank called and offered a fight with Marquez I started jumping around - I was so excited because I have the opportunity to get into the ring and retire a Mexican legend," he said. "I'm great under pressure and I'm going to fight like the 'Old Mike' and use my power and my will to beat Marquez. I made a mistake of looking past Ruslan Provodnikov. He jumped on me and got me in a bad situation. He had such an awkward style," said Alvarado.
"The difference against Marquez will be my power. I am going to train super hard for my biggest fight. I am very excited."
Does Alvarado's size and power pose a serious threat to Marquez on Saturday, or will the crafty JMM just be too good? Is Marquez at danger of simply getting too old at this stage of his career?