As Dallas is not located by the ocean Saul Alvarez will not be able to host Saturday night’s victory party on his super-yacht if he adds Billy Joe Saunders to his large roster of UK victims.
The MV Canelo is still moored in Miami, where it reverberated in February to mariachi celebrations of his ‘easy night’s work’ against the overwhelmed Avni Yildirim, with which he tuned up for this weekend’s world super-middleweight championship unification fight.
This 100-foot Sunseeker is £12million worth of made-in-Britain luxury afloat – complete with four double cabins, one master stateroom, all with en suite bathrooms – and carries a veritable flotilla of fast sports boats waiting to be lowered for fun in the water. Canelo likes speed.
Canelo Alvarez fulfilled his dream of succeeding Floyd Mayweather as pound-for-pound best
The Mexican has the chance to create more history in unification fight with Billy Joe Saunders
Canelo and Saunders face off in a mega super-middleweight showdown live on DAZN
A £10m collection of cars sit polished, purring and waiting in a spotless garage worthy an F1 pit lane, at his imposing mansion in Mexico.
Most, like the £2.2m Bugati Chiron, are among the raciest machines on the road. The exception is a Rolls Royce ‘which I have never driven because I feel the elegance by sitting in the back.’
Then there are the motor bikes. One of which he admits to riding at 200mph… while performing wheelies!
This convoy will head out shortly to his ranch near Guadalajara. There to join the off-road vehicles in which he hurtles around those vast hectares. Also the white horses he loves to ride, not only at a breakneck gallop but also to the dancing perfection of dressage.
These rolling uplands are calling him back. Alvarez grew up here in poverty and is returning to settle in wealth.
Despite the incongruous red hair – for which he has no explanation but which gave rise to the nickname Canelo, Spanish for cinnamon – he is pure, thoroughbred Mexican.
Canelo has earned hundreds of millions throughout his glittering ring career and now boasts a £10m car collection, including this stunning red Ferrari
He also has his own £12m super-yacht, which has played host to many of his world title victory parties
Sold, is the handsome house in San Diego which is the base for his pre-fight training camps and where he took up US residence for a while. Soon to be sold, the stately Jalisco edifice he designed himself. Both for plenty.
Despite dismay at the corruption and the ever-lurking threat of kidnapping in Mexico which compel him to employ a sizeable quorum of security guards, he is going home.
The ranch is not far from a small, dusty town on the fringe of Guadalajara where he worked from the age of five for his father, selling ice-cream they made in the tiny shop to passengers sweltering in passing buses.
Until, at 17, he defied his father and went full time into the hard game in which he had been boxing as an unregistered professional since he was 14, at which tender age he once knocked out a 30-year-old man.
Many wars fought in his adolescence are missing from the official record of 58 fights – 55 won, two drawn, just one lost to the genius of Floyd Mayweather.
Canelo has a ranch near Guadalajara and loves to ride white horses and partake in dressage
The hard-earned rewards surround him. ‘Think about it,’ he says. ‘From selling popsicles to all this. Thanks to boxing and the responsibility to work hard which my father drilled into us.
‘Although we had little it didn’t matter because I had no idea what I was missing. My father taught me to appreciate everything I have now.’
Namely a high-maintenance lifestyle which he knows he must fight to protect. Not least for the five children he has fathered. All with different mothers. All stunning Mexican beauties.
Not only horses are studs here. Not all nouveau riche are careless with their millions. From fighting for tacos in the back rooms of cantinas Canelo rose irresistibly through the five, six, seven, eight figure purses.
Then came the £250m DAZN television from which he has moved on already to negotiate for himself the price for each fight. Like the one this Cinco de Mayo weekend of Mexican nationalism across the border in America for which he is said to be guaranteed £21.5m and will harvest more if pay-TV revenues are as high as predicted.
Countless gruelling days in the gym has afforded Canelo the life of luxury he once never knew
Canelo came from little and sold popsicles as a kid… now he wants to become a billionaire
Canelo is nobody’s fool. When interviewers survey the costly accoutrements of his life they invariably ask if there is any danger of him doing a Mike Tyson, who blew two £200m wads before he was 40.
To which he answers: ‘I know that the more money a man has, the easier it can be for him to lose that money.’
With that in mind he deploys much of his wealth cleverly. The real estate portfolio is bed-rocked by the sale of his palatial homes each side of the border. The technology investment is solid.
But he cannot resist staying true at times to his natural-born sporting instinct to take chances. The aim is to become ‘a billionaire both at boxing and in business.’ Neither of which he deems achievable ‘without taking some risks.’
Hence Canelo the regular and talented high-stakes poker player. One of the biggest casinos on the Las Vegas Strip tells of him staking £6,500 on one last turn of a card and scooping the £250,000 pot.
The 30-year-old has remarkably won world titles in four divisions, rising from light-middleweight to light-heavyweight, and has his sights set on creating more history
Mayweather has been the only man ever to inflict defeat on the Mexican sensation
But it is by due commercial diligence that his investments yield £1m a month, that figure teased from him in a brilliant interview conducted for the Mexican media empire La Reforma.
All this in addition to the marketing and sponsorships of his ring-work. Yet the dedicated boxing ethic never wavers.
He has yet to overtake Mayweather as the richest boxer of all time but by dint of all those gruelling days in the gym as well as his obsessive ambition he has now succeeded Mr Money to the throne of best pound-for-pound boxer on Planet Earth.
‘That was always my long-term goal,’ he says. ‘But there will always be other landmarks as motivation. More history to make.’
Britain’s Saunders will attempt to become the second when they meet in Dallas on Saturday
TALE OF THE TAPE
Height: 5′ 8″ / 173cm
Reach: 70½″ / 179cm
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS
Height: 5′ 11″ / 180cm
Reach: 71″ / 180cm
That hunger for a legacy was fed in part by his siblings. ‘All seven of us boxed on one card. Four of us won, me included. Three lost but famously we are still we are in the Guinness Book of records as the most brothers to fight on the same night.
‘We used to fight each other. I learned a lot from them. Just as I learned much from losing to Mayweather.
‘With hindsight, as the young one, I wasn’t quite ready for Floyd. But that fight taught me how to deal with defeat. Accept it. Absorb the lessons and move on. Above all realise that one loss is not the end of a career.’
It also instructed him in the need to keep striving to the finish of the toughest battles. As in his close and controversial draw and then win over the concussive Gennady Golovkin. That drove him to develop more punching power himself, albeit raising suspicions of steroid use.
Whether the brief suspension was justified, there can be no denying the Herculean physical efforts which have enabled him to win world titles in four divisions, rising from light-middleweight to light-heavyweight.
Canelo loves playing golf and said that Tiger Woods is one of his sporting heroes
He says: ‘As I’ve punched harder, I’ve also been able to take my power up with me. Now, at super-middleweight, I have the chance to make more history by becoming the undisputed world champion. One of the few Mexicans ever to do that in any division.’
Fulfilment depends on him adding Saunders’ WBO title to his WBC, WBA and Ring magazine belts. Then defeating IBF champion Caleb Plant on Mexican Independence Day in September.
The squat, muscular body is like corrugated iron. The mind is a vice. Billy Joe – the provocative, irreverent, maverick traveller – is expected to try to unsettle Alvarez with mind games this fight week. Saul smiles, knowingly: ‘Maybe he tries. Definitely he does not succeed at getting into my head.
‘I am ready for him. Ready for a leftie (southpaw). Ready for his movement. Ready for a hard fight which I expect to be difficult in the early rounds. Ready to beat him.’
Another motivation – his children will be looking on.
‘Allowed to watch? They must,’ says their papa the Mexican idol. ‘This is what I do. This is my work. To understand me they must watch me. Live.’
He insists he will beat Saunders and go to become super-middleweight undisputed champion
Yet he reveals this surprising irony: ‘Me, I don’t like watching boxing. I love doing boxing. I will love doing it for as long as I can. But I don’t watch it.’
He might just make an exception if Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury ever get it on: ‘That is a huge fight that excites me. Big heavyweights. Fifty-fifty.’
Nothing, however, will tempt him to linger around the rings as a trainer, manager or promoter once he hangs up the gloves.
There is, however, one sport which he loves to observe as well as play almost as well as he boxes. Golf.
‘I watch Tiger Woods a lot,’ he says. ‘He is incredible. I work at studying his swing. I love my life but If I had to have done something else with my life it would have been to play golf like him.’
If Tiger has ever admired Canelo going about his brutal business, the feeling is unlikely to be mutual.
Alvarez v Saunders for the unified world super-middleweight championship will be televised live on the DAZN streaming network in the UK late this Saturday night.