Alvarez and Munguia unusually polite to each other leading up to all-Mexican Cinco de Mayo fight

FILE - Undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez, left, poses with boxer Jaime Munguía during a news conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., Tuesday, March 19, 2024. Consensus super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez faces Jaime Munguia in an all-Mexican fight on Cinco de Mayo weekend. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Given the significance of two Mexican fighters facing each other on Cinco de Mayo weekend, Canelo Alvarez and Jaime Munguia have been especially respectful of each other heading into Saturday night's bout.

Much more so than what typically would be expected of a title fight when those going against each other often create fake controversies to gin up pay-per-view sales.

Alvarez saved most of his venom for his former promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, who now works on the other side with Munguia. De La Hoya gave just as well as he received, and at times it felt during Wednesday's news conference as if he was the opposing boxer rather than Munguia.

A point Alvarez, the consensus super middleweight champion, was sure to make.

“He tried to get the attention for him not for Munguia," Alvarez said before unleashing a string of expletives at De La Hoya.

Alvarez went R-rated after the interpreter didn't fully translate his Spanish words into English. So Alvarez made sure his feelings were clearly known by doing the translating himself. He soon rose to his feet to directly challenge De La Hoya, but no blows were thrown.

ESPN reported that De La Hoya sent Alvarez a cease-and-desist letter demanding that the boxer stop making claims that De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions stole money from fighters.

The spotlight eventually will turn to the competitors in the ring and for good reason.

Just about any fight involving Alvarez is must-see. He is an enormously popular four-division champion who has established himself as one of history's great boxers, taking a 60-2-2 record (39 knockouts) into this weekend.

Alvarez will try to do what no one else has accomplished — defeat Munguia, who is 43-0, 34 victories by KO.

“Canelo has great experience," Munguia said through an interpreter. "He’s gone up against great fighters. I may not have that resume where I’ve gone up against so many great fighters, but what I do have is youth on my side. I want to be able to showcase my capabilities inside of the ring to come out with the win in the end.”

A big question is one of age. Alvarez, at 33, is much closer to the end of his career than the beginning, In the 27-year-old Munguia, he is going against someone hungry to move that timeline along.

“I don’t really pay attention (to) if he’s younger or older," Alvarez said. "I’m different. I’m Canelo. I don’t care. My experience, my talent, my intelligence is different.”

Alvarez is a minus-450 favorite at BetMGM, meaning a $100 bet pays $22.22 if he wins.

From the unusually polite tone between the fighters this week, just the fact that Alvarez and Munguia are meeting is a win in itself.

“It’s more a celebration,” Alvarez acknowledged. "No matter what (fans) support, I think this fight is for them and I feel proud.”

Munguia said through an interpreter that didn't mean the fighters would go easy on each other.

“You can expect a full-out Mexican war," Munguia said. "You’re not going to be disappointed. It’s going to be a great fight on Saturday night.”

Three belts on the line on the undercard:

Mario Barrios will defend his WBC interim world welterweight title against Fabian Maidana, WBC interim world featherweight champion Brandon Figueroa faces Jessie Magdaleno and Eimantas Stanionis puts his WBA welterweight title at stake against Gabriel Maestre.


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