Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez is the firm favourite to win a fight being billed as the ‘Battle for Mexico’ when he faces Julio Cesar Chavez Junior in Las Vegas this weekend.
The Mexican rivals will meet in the early hours of Sunday morning UK time and Alvarez is expected to prevail at odds of 1/7.
He has suffered just one defeat in a career spanning 12 years when he lost out on points to Floyd Mayweather in 2013. He enjoyed knockout wins against British boxers Amir Khan and Liam Smith last year and has won world titles at both middleweight and super welterweight.
In the opposite corner, Chavez has won 50 of his 53 fights but has rarely been in the ring with someone of the class of Alvarez. The 26-year-old is the 9/2 underdog despite having height, weight and reach advantages.
There is no title on the line this weekend, with an agreed catchweight of 164.5lbs and a large fine for either fighter failing to hit the weight.
There is no love lost between the fellow countrymen but Alvarez is hoping not to allow it to be a distraction when the bell goes.
He said: “Yes, there’s a rivalry there, but we will go into the fight knowing we have a job to do. We need to have cooler heads.
"Titles are very important to me but this is above that. This goes above a title, any title. It’s for honour, for pride, and it’s very important for me. It’s also important to keep making history in my career."
Alvarez is available at evens to stop his opponent and 5/2 to win in rounds seven to 12, while the fight is 17/20 to go the distance.
Chavez is 12/1 for a knockout and suggested that could be good value, saying: “I do think I can knock him out. I am a big fighter; I have fought in the light-heavyweight division, a division where one punch can change the outcome of the fight. I think if I land the right punch, I can knock him out.”