Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012 | 12:05 a.m.
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Saul “Canelo” Alvarez showed he had all the components necessary for a boxing superstar Saturday night.
He displayed vicious power that knocked down Josesito Lopez three times in nine minutes; a strong following that attracted a sold-out crowd of 14,275 to the MGM Grand Garden Arena and even a flair for the dramatic that silenced the post-fight press conference for a few seconds.
Asked if he was now ready for Floyd Mayweather, Jr., a foe he’s vocalized a desire to fight multiple times, Alvarez took a deep breath and surprised everyone in the room.
“I’m not ready,” Alvarez said in Spanish before softening his posture and smirking. “I was born ready.”
Alvarez set his sights on bigger bouts, and even bigger paydays, immediately after strong-arming his way to a fifth-round TKO victory over Lopez to stay undefeated at 41-0-1. The WBC light middleweight champion’s first comments while still inside the ring were the customary salute to his fans.
It wasn’t much longer after when the focus shifted to the 22-year old’s future. Wasting the platform wasn’t an option.
“I want the big fights now — Cotto, Mayweather,” he said. “I want them all.”
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer said he would meet with Alvarez in the next few days to figure out the fighter’s next move. Alvarez could fight again as soon as December — (not so) coincidentally when Mayweather is looking to return to the ring — if he wants.
Options abound for Alvarez’s next opponent, stretching beyond just Mayweather. Miguel Cotto, the other fighter Alvarez called out, is not available as he’s scheduled to fight Austin Trout on Dec. 1 in New York.
But fans mentioned both Victor Ortiz and James Kirkland, two fighters Alvarez was scheduled to meet Saturday before they fell through, as possibilities.
If Alvarez faces anyone other than Mayweather, Lopez’s mind is made up on how the fight will play out. The experience of sharing the ring with Alvarez was enough.
“He was much stronger,” Lopez said. “He’s a much better fighter than Victor. He has a lot of skill and he’s very smart. He’s the total package.”
Lopez thought he assembled a game plan to catch Alvarez off guard. It involved attacking from the opening bell.
Lopez threw 279 punches in the 15 minutes the fight lasted, but the 89 that landed didn’t seem to bother Alvarez. Canelo would brush them off and fire a combination or two of his own that Lopez couldn’t get away from.
Lopez went down due to body shots in the second and third rounds and an uppercut in the fourth. He drew praise for lasting as long as he did. That’s how much better Alvarez looked.
“I had a big responsibility to my fans and everyone watching around the world,” Alvarez said. “I feel I made them happy.”
Turning into the ultimate crowd-pleaser, Alvarez knows his legions of fans won’t be satisfied unless he takes an even more prestigious fight after headlining his first bout in the Fighting Capital of the World. That’s why he wants Mayweather.
According to his promoters, Canelo gets what he wants.
“I think you saw that today he sold out the MGM Grand Garden, I’m sure it was huge ratings on Showtime,” Schaefer said. “Canelo Alvarez is a superstar and he doesn’t care who else fights when. When he decides to fight, he fights.”