A few weeks earlier, during our interview, Álvarez had promised he would teach Plant the fundamental difference between watching him and fighting him. But, in Vegas, I reminded Álvarez of one of the great Marvin Hagler’s trademark insights into boxing. “It’s tough to get out of bed to do roadwork at 5am when you’ve been sleeping in silk pyjamas,” Hagler said years ago. It was a reminder that even the seemingly untouchable champions have to keep returning to a dark well of adversity to replenish themselves.
How does Álvarez stoke this fire in his Dolce and Gabbana pyjamas? “The desire comes out of my love for boxing. I want to always get better and make history. That’s what matters to me.” He smiles. “There’s nothing wrong with the pyjamas, by the way. But Hagler is a legend.”
Álvarez speaks in Spanish here but throughout our main interview he relies on his increasingly confident English, which has helped turn him into the biggest draw in American boxing. His fame and wealth have become astronomical but Álvarez retains his relish for fighting. He is contemporary boxing’s closest equivalent to Hagler, for, unlike so many fighters who step into the ring once a year, this will be his fourth world title bout in 11 months.