WBC middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez is set to put his title on the line against Amir Khan on May 7th. And as is recent tradition for HBO, the two fighters met up with HBO's Max Kellerman for a "Face Off." Here are some excepts of the video below.
Canelo n why he chose to face Amir Khan when there's a lot lose for him:
"Inside a boxing ring nothing is easy. There's no easy opponent. You don't know what's going to happen. Any rival is difficult. I see Amir Khan as a tough rival. I'm going to train 100% because I know what he brings. And of course I have a lot to lose...in any fight I have a lot to lose. A loss, my pride, my country, everything I've been doing, I always have something to lose but I never focus on losing. In my mind, a defeat never exists. I always prepare to win. My mindset is to always win and on May 7th that's all I can think of, to win. But I know it's going to be a difficult fight."
Khan on being the heavy underdog when he's usually the star of the show:
"It doesn't upset me, It just makes me work even harder to be honest with you because it's the first time i"m going into any fight since I've turned professional [as an underdog]. I'm a big fan of Canelo, I think he's a great fighter - he's young, he's explosive, and he's powerful. But it's my time to show how good I am. Being the underdog is only going to drive me even harder.
"Normally when you're the guy to win the fight the pressure is always on you. But this time it seems to me that I don't have that pressure on me."
Khan on turning down a more lucrative fight with Kell Brook to face Canelo:
"Yeah, you know, the way I saw this fight is it's a great opportunity for me to fight Canelo. He's a big name in boxing and for me to reach where I want to get to in my career I need to fight the biggest names in boxing. And I have to say Canelo is up there with those big names."
Canelo's trainer Eddie Reynoso on whether Canelo has to impose his size advantage on Khan by fighting more aggressively:
"I think every boxer has an aggressive quality. He's a fighter that likes to go forward. Mexican boxers are always aggressive counter punchers. In this case with Amir, we speak about an Olympic medalist with a vast amateur career that say's a lot about Amir's resume. We know that he's a great fighter. In boxing anything can happen. There are always favorites, but when the bell rings, to me, that doesn't exist. Amir is a professional fighter, he has a great team. Like I told you, he's an Olympic medalist. He deserves all of our respect and careful training and what we want most is to win the fight."
Khan on boxing fans/media expecting him to get squashed:
"I find it a little disrespectful where people might be saying 'Amir is going to get hurt in this fight, he's going to get knocked out in this fight.' I know I'm fighting a tough guy in front of me, and if I didn't believe in myself, and if I didn't think I was gonna win this fight I would never take it. Yes I can get hurt in a fight like this, but I'm not going to go in there and make the mistakes I used to make.
"I mean, those days when I did get beat and I got stopped, I was young, I was only 23, 24, 25. I'm 29 now. I'm at the peak of my career. I'm more educated a fighter, having a great trainer like Virgil [Hunter] in my corner. He's educating me, he's telling me using my fists all the time and my speed. I'm now throwing punches at the right time, when it makes sense to throw them shots instead of just throwing them without even thinking about them."
Khan's trainer Virgil Hunter on what made him think Khan could move up to face a big, strong fighter like Canelo:
"If I'm not mistaken Saul started at 140 himself. He had to grow into a middleweight also, himself. He's a magnificent fighter, personally I love his counter punching skills because that's going to ensure that he has a long career. You can't walk everybody down, even those who might not be as strong as you.
"The thing about Amir is, you clearly see the punches that he's throwing and landing. Amir can bring several different punches out of his arsenal and then some that are not even taught. So I think that would be a big indicator [to the judges] and also having the weaponry to offset a counter puncher. He is going to have to adjust his speed, but I'm not in agreement with his speed, I'm more in tune with his quickness as opposed to his speed - speed in the body, quickness in the mind. So I'm more interested in his processing ability and to perform quickly as opposed to fast. So that's our goal in the fight."
Canelo on speculation that he may enter the ring on fight night at 180lbs:
"No, no, never in my life have I entered the ring at 180lbs. Never in my life. In fact, I don't know, always at 167. Sometimes I've gone up to fight at 170. But never, never that high. We always try to due things right after the weigh-in. I really don't know how much I am going up, but where I feel good, where I feel strong, fast, because sometimes you do everything right and after the weigh-in you do something wrong and you lose the fight.
"We are going to do our best and hydrate like we always have. Whatever my body gains, it's fine."
Khan on what he expects to weigh on fight night:
"I feel more comfortable at, probably, 160+ I will be walking into the ring at."
Virgil Hunter on the size difference:
"The media makes more of an issue of it than fighters. Because [Canelo] is a skillful fighter I've never seen him use his weight to fight in that particular manner. I would like to be a fly on the wall though, and see that incredible transformation how you're able to put on 25lbs in 24 hours - that's a lot of eating and drinking..."
Max Kellerman: "Well it sounds more like 15lbs from what we're being told..."
Virgil Hunter: "[Laughs at the notion]...I believe he'll come in lighter [for this fight], I think he will."