Monday, May 27, 2024

Why Canelo Álvarez will fight Jaime Munguía after years of refusing fellow Mexican boxers

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Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez said he wouldn’t fight another Mexican boxer, but he will now face Tijuana-born fighter Jaime Munguía over Cinco de Mayo weekend, Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Álvarez (60-2-2), who is the undisputed super middleweight champion, said he wants to continue making history for Mexico, and that’s why he’s taking on undefeated (43-0) Munguía, 27.

“I think it’s the best fight out there. I think he’s the most interesting fight right now and he comes in with good wins and I think he deserves it,” Álvarez, 33, told USA TODAY Sports during an April interview. “I feel very proud about two Mexicans in the Mexican weekend in Las Vegas. Everybody’s gonna be watching, so I feel proud about it. So it’s gonna be a big fight for Mexico.”

Now that he’s a global superstar, Álvarez continues to use his platform to celebrate his Mexican heritage. Last year, Álvarez took on Great Britain’s John Ryder for his homecoming fight in Guadalajara. He returned to Las Vegas for his next fight against Jermell Charlo. For that matchup, he walked out with Santa Fe Klan and Tornillo, two rising artists from Mexico who performed “Por Mi México,” a song by Sonoran rapper Lefty SM, who was shot and killed just weeks before the fight.

“It was very emotional and I was very happy,” Santa Fe Klan told InsideFighting through an interpreter in Spanish after Álvarez won.

“They have a really good song, they mention Mexico and I really like it,” Álvarez said of wanting the duo to walk him to the ring. “And I just called them and I said, you know, ‘I want you to come with me and walk me to the ring.'”

Álvarez has had many cinematic ring entrances throughout his career, including walking with Colombian superstar J Balvin to face Avni Yildirim and having a full mariachi band perform as he entered the ring against Billy Joe Saunders. But the one with Santa Fe Klan and Tornillo stands out.

“I think it’s one of the best (entrances) in my career,” he said. “I really enjoy it, I really loved it.”

Outside of the ring, Álvarez is building his portfolio as an entrepreneur. Beyond his extensive list of partnerships and founding his own beverage companies, he is an executive producer on the new movie, “The Long Game.” It’s a film about Mexican caddies in the 1950s who built their own golf course to learn the game.

The boxer is an avid golfer himself and said this venture combined two of his passions.

“I love golf and I love (to) help my people,” he said while watching the live stream of the Masters. “And I think this is a perfect moment to raise our voice and say, ‘We are here.’ We are here, and that’s why I support this movie. Because I think it’s good for us.”

Looking back on his legacy in boxing, Álvarez admits to wishing he could have had a rematch against Floyd Mayweather. The 2013 fight was his first loss of his career and came when he was only 23.

Álvarez said he’s thought about a rematch, “but it never happened and it’s fine. I take that loss like I learned a lot from that fight and that’s it. … I wish many times, but it is what it is.”

Something he said he tries not to think about is other boxers, but he has joined in on criticisms centered on taking the sport seriously. Álvarez has been among those questioning what Jake Paul is doing, calling his upcoming fight with Mike Tyson “more show than a fight.’’

“I don’t really pay attention (to) that because they have their own business. They are their own minds and it’s fine for me,” he said. “But I don’t pay attention to that and that not motivate myself, really. I’m just here to make my own career, my own history, my own fights and I think I did really good.”

Álvarez said that he has his own motivations for continuing to fight.

“I love what I do and I still enjoy it a lot, so that’s why I’m here,” he said. “I wanted to continue to make history and the most I think is because I love boxing. I love what I do and I enjoy this.”

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