HAVING vowed to never fight another one of his countrymen Canelo Alvarez had some explaining to do today at the launch press conference for his next fight.

On Saturday, May 4, during Cinco De Mayo weekend, the 33-year-old will defend his undisputed super-middleweight crown against fellow Mexican Jaime Munguia at the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas. Over the years Canelo has faced opponents such as Amir Khan, Daniel Jacobs, Billy Joe Saunders and Dmitry Bivol on the same weekend.

On May 6, 2017 during Mexico’s celebration Canelo embarrassed Julio Cesar Chavez Jr winning a 12-round shutout on all three scorecards. Since then, there has been a firm refusal to face any other challengers from his homeland.

After beating Gennadiy Golovkin in September 2022 to conclude their trilogy a slightly agitated Canelo told media he wouldn’t fight another Mexican because he represents his country and that was the reason why.

So, why, 18 months later, has he chosen to defend his four titles against the 27-year-old unbeaten Mexican Munguia?

“I know I said I wouldn’t fight another Mexican fighter,” Canelo said replying to host Jimmy Lennon who posed the question. “But someone respectful like Munguia, who earned this chance fight after fight giving his all, it’s something I’m glad we were able to make happen. And I hope everyone can see it’ll be great for everyone involved for Mexico in particular.”

The elephant in the room was David Benavidez, who like Canelo currently fights under the PBC banner, but has decided to move to light-heavyweight and fight Oleksandr Gvozdyk rather than wait any longer for his shot at the champion.

“Munguia is a disciplined guy. He really hits hard. He can be a power puncher and I like the challenges,” Canelo said. “I want to go after fighters that are like me and hungry like Munguia is and want to give their all inside the ring and give the fans the show they deserve.”

The challenger was full of respect for Canelo and gratitude for the opportunity. In January Munguia stopped Britain’s John Ryder in the ninth round of their contest. Eight months earlier Canelo was taken the distance by the gutsy Brit. Munguia dismissed the comparison predictably explaining that they were “two completely different fights” to Lennon. Munguia knew his role at the presser and played it perfectly.

“He’s always been a source of pride and motivation for me,” he said of Canelo.

“When I was coming up and I used to see him fight I said, ‘That’s a good guy and I want to be like him.’ And today we have a chance to face him and hopefully we get to be like him one day.”

That day is less than seven weeks away and Munguia, like Canelo, will let their fists do the talking in an all-Mexican affair which looks like being Canelo’s toughest test since Cinco De Mayo two years ago when he lost to Dmitry Bivol at light-heavyweight.