Bringing in the large crowds like he usually does, Canelo Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) made his grand arrival Texas at the undercard media workout at the Gaylord Texan Resort Hotel and Convention Center.
Alvarez is scheduled to battle Liam “Beefy” Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs) in a live 12-round fight for the WBO Junior Middleweight World Championship at AT&T Stadium this Saturday, September 17 beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT on presented live by HBO Pay-Per-View.
In addition to the Boxing’s hottest target, the Canelo vs. Smith undercard strutted their skills as a preview to their performance this Saturday. Vergil Ortiz Jr. (1-0, 1 KO) will be taking on El Paso, Texas’ Ernesto Hernandez (1-3, 1 KO) in a four round super lightweight bout before the pay-per-view undercard commences; Brooklyn’s Sadam Ali (22-1, 13 KOs) strutted his stuff, as he has been pitted against Saul Corral (21-7, 12 KOs) of Agua Prieta Mexico in a ten round welterweight fight and Hector Tanajara Jr. (6-0, 4 KOs) will be battling against Roy Garcia (3-19-1, 2 KOs) in a six round lightweight bout; all three fights will be part of the preliminary undercard streaming on RingTv.com, the HBO Boxing YouTube Page and on select pay-per-view providers. Joshua Franco (6-0, 3 KOs) is featured in a six round bantamweight fight against Mexico City’s Brian Bazan (9-2, 6 KOs). Another Brooklyn Native, Zachary Ochoa (15-0, 7 KOs) is scheduled to battle Daniel Montoya (11-4, 8 KOs). Alexis Salazar (7-3, 3 KOs) rumble with Larry Smith (10-28-1, 6 KOs) of Dallas Texas in a six round super welter weight bout. Also a part of the media work out, was London’s Anthony Yarde (7-0, 6 KOs) who will be participating in a six round light heavy weight bout against Michael Mitchel (3-7-2, 1 KOs), kicking off the fight night.
Below is what the fighters had to say at the media workout:
CANELO ALVAREZ, Former two-time World Champion:
“I always give the best of me for the fans. Texas is special is my second my home, the people are great the fans are great. This is a historic night for me and for boxing and I am very motivated to perform for all the fans at AT&T stadium.
“We have seen footage of Liam Smith, he is a strong fighter and his style of boxing is similar to mine. Both our styles will make a great fight for all the fans on Saturday. He is hard puncher, connects, comes forward and has good combinations. We know he is dangerous and we are not underestimating him.
“I am preparing for a fighter that comes forward, I am ready for anything. We will show the best fight we can for all the fans on Saturday night.”
JOSE “CHEPO” REYNOSO, Manager and Trainer to Canelo Alvarez:
“Styles make fights and Liam Smith’s style is one that suits Canelo. Canelo likes fighters that come forward he is that type of fighter as well. And these kinds of fights are the ones that are very exciting for the fans.
“I can’t predict what Liam will do in the ring and we can’t necessarily plan for it. We have to be ready for everything. We can have a game plan and if your opponent isn’t letting you execute and you have to adjust.
“A fighter has two hands and both hands can punch. Liam has power and we need to be prepared for that power, whether that comes from the right hand or the left hand.”
EDDY REYNOSO, Head Trainer to Canelo Alvarez:
“We have been working very hard for 12 weeks, and have been focusing on hand speed and foot work. We have really been working on cutting of the ring and defense.
“Canelo is a very talented fighter, a very complete fighter. He is strong, connects very well and has a great defense. Those skills will be on display on Saturday and show why he is the stronger fighter.
“Liam Smith is a very hungry fighter and throws great combinations. He is strong aggressive fighter and that style suits Canelo.
“I have worked with Canelo for a long time, have had the opportunity to see him grow as a person and as a fighter. He is a humble person who is very serious about the sport and the people love him. He is dedicated to his fans and trains very hard to make sure he gives them great shows.”
SADAM ALI., Former two-time Welterweight Champion:
“I think it’s great to be back on a big stage. Last time it didn’t work out as planned, but I just have to work my way back up. I got caught with a good shot and I take nothing away from my opponent, he was the better man that night. It was back to the drawing board for me and now I’m back and ready to fight again.”
HECTOR TANAJARA, Welterweight Contender:
“As an amateur, I qualified for the Olympics, but became injured. However, I received about eight national titles and have traveled all of the world.
“Being signed with Golden Boy Promotions by former World Champion fighter Oscar De La Hoya, is something I’ve always dreamed of, and since I saw De La Hoya fight Vargas-he’s been an inspiration for me to follow in his footsteps and have a great professional career like he did.
“I know my opponent is aggressive, so this should be a very action-packed fight for me. I hope to fight two or three times more this year.”
JOSHUA FRANCO, Bantamweight Contender:
“It’s a great feeling to be fighting in Texas for the first time, because all of my fans will be coming out to see me. Being from Texas, when I fight out in California, not all of my friends and family can make it, so this gives them an opportunity to watch me.
“It feels amazing to be a part of such a huge event like this, I’ve always dreamed of this and someday being a part of it.
“I’ve been training hard, like always, and hopefully this fight will be an easy one. I want to thank all my fans for their continued support.”
VERGIL ORTIZ JR, Lightweight Contender:
“It’s my second fight so to fight on such a big stage is great. My opponent’s record is 1-3,all ending within the first round so I know I have to be careful but I’m confident I will get the win.”
ZACHARY OCHOA, Superlightweight Contender:
“During this training camp, I’ve been focusing more on my body shots and landing my punches to look for the right punches-not throwing just to throw-but pacing myself.
“It makes me feel great to be a part of such a big event because it pushes and motivates me to perform event better.
“I know my opponent is tough-all Mexican fighters are tough, but I’ve come in and have been preparing myself well and doing everything I need to be doing in the gym. My weight is good, and I just want to get in the ring, have fun and be impressive for all of the fans coming out.”
ANTHONY YARDE, Light Heavyweight Contender:
“I’m excited to be here. With my past, being on this stage I have an opportunity to inspire people and that means a lot to me.”
Tickets are priced at $750, $500, $300, $200, $100, $85, $50 and $40, not including applicable service charges with a total ticket limit of 8 per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also will be available for purchase online at www.ticketmaster.com. Additionally, walk up purchases are available at the AT&T Stadium Box Office (Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. CT to 5:00 p.m. CT).