Indeed, Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez has all of Mexico on his side heading into his showdown with pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr on Sept 14 at MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas. He's young, he's fly and he's certainly the biggest star for the boxing-crazy country..
Juan Manuel Marquez
Meanwhile, Juan Manual Marquez is hailed an icon whom many of his compatriots look up to. His sensational knockout victory against Manny Pacquiao in the sixth round of their fourth fight in December 2012 catapulted him into the Olympus of legendary Mexican boxing warriors alongside perhaps the most polarising fighter ever from Mexico - Julio Cezar Chavez Sr.
Canelo and Marquez are two great fighters in their own rights. Yet, at this point of their career, the 23-year-old Alvarez is simply everyone's 'Apple of the Eye.' For the first time since Oscar de la Hoya's retirement, the boxing world finally has a fighter possessing both superb boxing game and that irresistable Latino charisma. Golden Boy had it before, now it's Canelo's time to turn everything into gold.
On the other hand, Marquez found himself snubbed and even forgotten as the bandwagon continues to roll into Canelo's favor. Apparently, Dinamita is not happy about it.
In an interview with Boxing Scene.com, Marquez believed Canelo has no chance at all to beat Mayweather because the American is much quicker and way too skillful defensively.
Maybe Marquez is just being realistic on Canelo's chances against Mayweather. After all, he tried once to hand Mayweather his first loss, but realised that his explosive counter punching ability is not enough to outwork the Grand Rapids native's tremendous all-around boxing acumen.
"Defensively speaking [Mayweather] is the best. He makes it very difficult to land your punches, he is very elusive. You start to get desperate and he leverages this desperation to connect [his counters]. Canelo is not going to be any exception."
"Anything can happen above the ring. We already saw this with Jhonny vs Abner Mares, where nobody expected Jhonny to win. We hope the Mexican [fighter] can win. He needs a little bit more of experience. He has the opportunity to show that he is a great boxer. I can tell you that upsets are sparse and based on that I don't think Canelo can get [the upset]," Marquez told Boxing Scene.com.
Then again, there was also a shade of jealousy in Marquez's comments. In what would be the biggest fight for Mexico in 2013, Marquez decided to side with Mayweather over a fellow Mexican. A normal fighter would pick his compatriot despite the big odds ahead of him, but Marquez's ego was on display here. He thinks he' still the best Mexican boxer out there and no one, not even Canelo, will dethrone him from his title until he retires.
It's not the first time Marquez take a shot at Canelo, but he has all the right to be jealous. Dinamita has done a lot for Mexico in terms of representing his country inside the ring. He has beaten a lot of big names in boxing over his 62 professional fights. But most of all, Marquez ended the country's long-due heartbreak at the hands of the Pacman by literally putting him to sleep on the canvass roughly nine months ago. However, all of his sacrifices and success went overlooked right away all because of the emergence of a younger, more marketable Mexican, who has not proven himself yet.
Canelo might be today's superstar, but there will always be 'Juan' greatest Mexican boxer of all time - and that's Marquez.
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