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Canelo Alvarez acknowledged the obvious at Wednesday’s final news conference before he defends his 168-pound championship against Jermell Charlo on pay-per-view Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“I have to prove that I’m still on top,” he said, echoing the thoughts of everyone who has followed his career.
Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KOs) has struggled in his past three fights, a unanimous decision loss to Dmitry Bivol at 175 pounds and uninspiring nods over faded rival Gennadiy Golovkin in their third fight and John Ryder.
The Mexican superstar has attributed his subpar performances to injuries, including one to his left wrist that was surgically repaired late last year. He insists he’s healthy now and will prove he’s not in decline, as many have suggested.
He certainly understands the importance of this fight.
“I don’t know what animal I need to be, but I’m that animal,” he said. “Tune in on September 30. It’s gonna be good, believe me. I never overlook any fighter. I know what he’s gonna bring and I’m ready.
“I’ve been in there with all types of fighters. He hasn’t experienced this kind of level of fight. You will see and you will learn. I want history for my career. I want to achieve a lot of things. This is another one of them, and I can’t wait.
“People will always have something negative to say. I have to prove that I’m still on top.”
Meanwhile, Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) believes this is his time.
The 154-pound champion has beaten everyone he has faced – including knockouts of Tony Harrison and Brian Castano in rematches following a loss and draw – to become one of the top fighters in the world.
However, he’s moving up two weight classes to face a future Hall of Famer who is still only 33, which also is Charlo’s age. This is new to him.
Still, he’s confident. He predicted that fans will see a second fight with Alvarez, who he suggested will exercise a rematch clause in the contract after the underdog has his hand raised in victory.
“You’re gonna see us back again for a rematch, because this is my moment,” he said. “I’m a warrior. I did what I had to do, and now we’re at this moment. I don’t think Canelo has faced a fighter of my caliber.
“He’s been in there with great fighters, but there’s something I bring to the table that’s a lot different than anyone he’s seen. … What I’ve been through in life, a lot of people can’t compare to that. I deserve to be in my position and now I get to prove my worthiness.
“I’m coming to win this fight, no matter what he says. We shall see Saturday. … Making history means everything to me. That’s what it’s all about.”