Saul “Canelo” Alvarez didn’t need long to answer.
As the legendary Mexican boxer sat backstage at The Palladium in Times Square on Tuesday ahead of the first press conference for his heavily anticipated bout against American Jermell Charlo, Alvarez stressed that at this point of his career, his goal has become clear.
“It’s legacy,” Alvarez told The Post.
Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KOs), who turned 33 last month, has been a champion at four weight classes, a unified champion in three of those classes and the undisputed champ in one.
He has beaten 18 world champions.
He has been one of boxing’s biggest and most lucrative attractions, with one of the largest followings.
He is one of the sport’s all-time pound-for-pound greats.
He chuckled while admitting there are hardly any more accolades he can add to his surefire Hall of Fame résumé, but he has no intention of taking easier fights or paydays now in the latter part of his career, which he plans to continue for four or five more years before retiring.
But how much more is there to add to his legacy?
The answer to that question is why he wanted to fight Charlo.
“It’s difficult to say, Alvarez said. “Every time we put on the fights and we see what’s coming [next], we start thinking about [what’s left to accomplish]. I made myself undisputed in 11 months. [Now], it’s the same idea. I just try to make the best fights, and everything comes together.”
Everything has certainly come together again for Alvarez, presenting him with an unprecedented opportunity to satiate that desire and further his legacy.
His Sept. 30 bout against Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (the bout will be on Showtime pay-per-view) will be for Alvarez’s undisputed super middleweight crown (168 pounds).
But Charlo, who turned 33 in May, is currently undisputed at junior middleweight (154 pounds), the division in which he primarily has fought throughout his career, and is moving up two weight classes for the bout.
Alvarez and Charlo are two of just nine male fighters to ever claim an undisputed title (Terence Crawford did it twice, in two divisions) in boxing’s four-belt era.
None have ever fought each other, at least not until Alvarez and Charlo meet in the ring.
The matchup with Alvarez will provide Charlo a greater chance to similarly add to his legacy than defending his junior middleweight titles would, which is why he is taking the risk at a new weight.
Charlo’s Hall of Fame bid is likely much more on the fringes than Alvarez’s.
A champion in just one division, he’s often been overlooked on pound-for-pound rankings and as a superstar despite his near-perfect résumé.
With a second undisputed title in a new weight class against a legend, Charlo could change that in a hurry.
“You just want to be great,” Charlo told The Post while sitting in his dressing room backstage before the press conference. “You’ve got to take chances and risks, this is just the chance and risk of wanting to be great. I strive for it and I work hard for it, and when the opportunity presents itself, you don’t run away from it. Nothing can put fear in my heart.”
Though it’s a can’t-miss opportunity for both boxers, Charlo said it was “spontaneous.”
Charlo has not fought since May 2022 due to a broken hand, and it was expected that he would next defend his undisputed junior middleweight crown against Tim Tszyu.
That bout was twice mandated and secured before Charlo had to pull out with the injury and a subsequent setback.
Alvarez, meanwhile, was expected to next fight Charlo’s undefeated identical twin brother, Jermall (32-0, 22 KOs), who is the WBC champion at middleweight — one weight class closer to super middleweight.
But Jermall wasn’t available to fight due to personal reasons, leading the Alvarez camp to pivot to Jermell, who accepted the challenge.
Both Charlos have long been mentioned by fans as opponents they wanted to see Alvarez fight, and vice versa.
Though Charlo and Alvarez were extremely respectful of one another throughout the presser, Charlo had heard enough.
An undisputed champion versus an undisputed champion.
A 33-year-old veteran in the waning part of his career versus a 33-year-old veteran in the waning part of his career.
A Hall of Famer versus one looking to solidify his case.
It’s about time they fight.
“My brother wasn’t capable of fighting, and I didn’t want to let down that Charlo name,” Charlo said. “And I’m tired of hearing people talk about the Canelo and Charlo thing. … I’m 33 years old, he’s 33 years old. How much f–king longer do I keep boxing? How much longer do we keep waiting around and just make this happen?
“It’s been going on for years, and now it’s time. [Alvarez’s camp] finally asked, and they received.”
𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁𝘀, 𝗖𝗼𝗽𝘆𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 & 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘆: nypost.com
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