Canelo Alvarez has a lovely singing voice. It’s both playful and passionate. But there is showmanship to his crooning that is similar to his boxing. He’s there to entertain after all; and today it’s for an assembled crew in a warehouse in East Hollywood who have gathered to film a Tecate commercial as part of their”Born Bold” campaign in which Alvarez stars alongside Sylvester Stallone.
I imagined the words appearing on the crawl on an ESPN broadcast: “Canelo puede cantar. Se retira del boxeo.” But when the director calls “action” he is quick to transition from singer back into one of the most punishing boxers in any weight class – pummeling the speed bag and shadowboxing in the ring with a precision and tightness of a finely tuned race car. However, in this case, the race car sings instead of hums.
Alvarez’s upcoming bout against fellow Mexican fighter, Julio Caesar Chavez Jr, on Cinco de Mayo in Las Vegas promises to be the biggest spectacle in boxing this year outside of the long gestating fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor (with which the soft spoken Alvarez has a big opinion).
During a break in action – after Canelo has pantomimed being attacked by a swarm of bees – we gather in his trailer to discuss a variety of topics.
What was life like growing up in Guadalajara?
I come from very humble beginnings [and] a hardworking family. I don’t really like to talk about my upbringing or my past because everyone – somewhere somehow – went through the same situation. A lot of people change when they become successful. But not us. We’ve always been the same.
Where was there a piece of advice – either boxing or life advice – that really shaped you?
There was no advice that really motivated me to get into boxing. It was just something that happened and that I got into. Some of Chepo’s words (Canelo’s trainer) were, “You can get to wherever you want to get to.” Those are the words I can recall as a child.
Would you describe you and Chepo’s relationship…
Like a family.
A lot of people when they think of boxers and their trainers think of Cus D’Amato and Mike Tyson. Is it like that?
They’re like my family. They always have been. They’re not my blood family but sometimes they seem even closer than that.
Whether people take up boxing for fitness or as a profession, fear seems to play a role at some point. Does that ever go away?
I love what I do. I love the sport of boxing. I think the sport of boxing isn’t made for people who are going to be scared or cowards.
As a Mexican fighter with fans all over the world – especially in Mexico and the United States – do you think boxing has the power to unite people?
The sport of boxing is very powerful [and can] bring people together. Not necessarily the only one, but I see it as being one of the biggest to do so. Especially in these hard times with what is going on in the world – and the country of Mexico – it has the power to unite.
There’s so much in the news in regards to boxing versus MMA. Do you have any feelings about this whole Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. thing? Is it even something you pay attention to?
I think it’s hurting the sport of boxing. I see it as a joke. It’s a big circus and a joke because when a fighter from boxing gets into MMA or a fighter from MMA gets into boxing it’s just a big joke. People don’t take it serious.
- All Images Via: Tecate