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Oscar De La Hoya, Canelo's promoter, gritted his teeth and made the matchup.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) UFC lightweight division champion Benson Henderson cares less about where a fight is held and more about the outcome. Let it take place in the parking lot of a convenience store and he'll still just want the win.
Melendez has won his last seven fights, all with Strikeforce. His last loss was to Josh Thomson who meets Diaz in the main card fight in June 2008.
He said he doesn't bother looking for added motivation. Winning is motivation enough.
Melendez, who works out of San Francisco, is comfortable in San Jose, where he is making his ninth professional appearance.
A crowd of more than 35,000 fans will pack the Alamodome to cheer for Alvarez, who nearly matches Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. for the affection of Mexico's huge boxing fan base. While Alvarez's power and athleticism are imposing, he's still a young boxer mastering movement, pace and the intricacies of the fight game and Trout believes he can capitalize.
Gilbert Melendez's mixed martial arts career was in full bloom while Henderson was still in school. He's getting his first UFC opportunity in a title match against a former admirer.
"My strategy is to win by any means possible," Trout said. "Whether it's brawling, boxing, moving, sticking there, staying there, whatever I need to do, we're going to win. I want to be a legend in this game. I don't want to be a one hit wonder."
"This is a fight that should happen two undefeated champions in their prime who put it all on the line," Trout said. "I'm praying that after this win, it'll put me in a position to be Louis Vuitton Belt Original your superstar like we want to be. Trout then stepped into the void left by Cotto's defeat, seizing a career changing chance to fight one of the highest profile stars in boxing.
"I don't like losing, period," he said. "A fight is a fight and a title is a title. If it's behind a 7 11 I don't care, I'm going to beat him up."
The 22 year old Alvarez has been brought along quickly yet safely by his management and promoter Golden Boy, claiming the WBC 154 pound title with little resistance. Canelo Gucci Belt Original
is all of those things and more an unbeaten champion with ample skill, superior experience and a perfect record. With little name recognition or ticket selling ability to go with all of those attributes, Trout is a nightmare opponent for a fighter of Alvarez's reputation and earning power.
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Melendez, the No. 1 challenger, meets Henderson with the title on the line Saturday at HP Pavilion.
But much of what Trout did against Cotto conceivably could work against Alvarez, another brutish slugger with questionable elusiveness. Trout's counterpunching and quick hands could prove problematic to Alvarez, particularly if the younger fighter gets frustrated and impatient when he can't immediately hit Trout.
This is Henderson's third title defense since taking the belt away from Frankie Edgar in February 2012. His last defense, a unanimous decision over Nate Diaz in December, was his most dominant, with 124 significant strikes and eight takedowns.
Alvarez (41 0 1, 30 KOs) will face Trout (26 0, 14 KOs) in a 154 pound title unification bout in San Antonio on Saturday night, hoping to prove he's capable of beating the junior middleweight division's best fighters.
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Former heavyweight champion Frank Mir and challenger Daniel Cormier, who fights out of San Jose, meet in another compelling match on the main card.
Alvarez has been criticized for fighting undersized and overmatched opponents from Matthew Hatton to Josesito Lopez, but Trout is a bona fide 154 pounder with the reach and power to prove it. Canelo likely will attempt to counter Trout's stick and move style with power and pressure, hopefully keeping Trout out of a rhythm.
"He's an all around fighter and he doesn't have many faults, but he's not as strong in some areas as others, and we're going to exploit that," Trout said. "We're preparing for the total package."
The 29 year old Henderson, a two time NAIA All American wrestler at Dana College in Nebraska, remembered watching the 31 year old Melendez, who wrestled at San Francisco State.
But Alvarez says he couldn't shake the memory of his brother, Rigoberto, losing his WBA title to Trout in February 2011 in Guadalajara. When Trout then jumped to greater prominence last year with a stunning decision victory over Miguel Cotto, Canelo had even more reason to attempt to avenge his brother's defeat.
is wildly popular in his native Mexico, but he had never accepted a fight against a seasoned, savvy title contender.
"This is a test that he wanted, and we're obviously hoping for the best," De La Hoya said. "If you compare Saul's career to anybody else's, anybody else who is elite, they would never take this chance, or this type of fight ever including myself, including a Floyd Mayweather, including anybody."
Henderson (18 2 overall) is undefeated in the UFC ranks, owning a six fight winning streak since moving to the UFC from the WEC two years ago. It's the longest current streak among lightweights and matches the third longest winning streak overall.
"It was brought up that there are other fights, and let's take other avenues," Alvarez said. "But I wanted this fight, and that's why we're here."
0 against the Alvarezes will be great," Trout added. "But more importantly, to beat somebody who's considered the best and to take that WBC belt, those are my motivations, and I think those are imperative for my legacy."
And after winning in Mexico, Panama and Canada over the past four years, Trout said he isn't worried about being booed and jeered by the Texas crowd desperate to see him lose to Mexico's favorite son: "The crowd can't do anything but cheer for him. They can't even give him water. They can't breathe for him. They can't punch for him."
Alvarez faces greatest challenge from Trout
"I thought it was cool seeing another ex college wrestler," Henderson said.
"I know it's go time," said Melendez, the Strikeforce lightweight champion. "I'm prepared. It has been a roller coaster ride and now I'm here for a title shot, so it's been a good journey."
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