GRAPEVINE, Tex. — The mariachi band played with unmistakable pride. Fans screamed, desperately scrambling to get a glimpse of their hero.
Young and old, several hundred of them came out last Wednesday to pay homage to Saúl Álvarez, the Mexican boxer widely known as Canelo, who is viewed as one of the most popular — and marketable — stars of a sport entering its post-Floyd Mayweather Jr., post-Manny Pacquiao era.
“I took my girls out of school for the day so they could see him,” Jessica Muniz of Dallas told a New York Times reporter as she watched Álvarez’s public workout Wednesday at Gaylord Texan Resort here. Muniz said her 10-year-old daughter, Aubrey, is an aspiring boxer who has modeled her style on Álvarez’s aggressive, power-punching approach.
“Girls her age normally have posters of boy bands on the wall,” Muniz said. “She has pictures of Canelo.”
The appeal is there for all to see. Álvarez, 26, a handsome, dynamic technician, is considered by some to be the best fighter in the world. Hewas in Texas last week for a fight to seize the junior middleweight title of Liam Smith, an unbeaten Englishman from Liverpool. Álvarez won.
The fight, on Saturday night at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington, took place less than 24 hours after Mexican Independence Day, and that convergence of a national holiday and a popular Mexican fighter in a big fight set up what amounts to a perfect boxing storm.
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