Canelo Alvarez arrived Friday in a black velvet polo and white pants with an entourage too deep for the Hollywood conference room. The Mexican cashier was there to promote his next fight – the third clash with Gennadiy Golovkin, too long in the making – and brought up his talking points.
He explained that the fight, scheduled for September 17 in Las Vegas, was “personal” for him because Golovkin has continued to take verbal shots since they last met in 2018. Álvarez promised he would knock out the 40-year-old world champion, straight into retirement. He spoke of his greatest rival with controlled anger.
“He’s always talking about I’m scared, I’m leaving, if I’m fighting with the best guys out there and he’s fighting with Class D fighters,” Álvarez said. “He talks about it a lot. That’s why it’s personal to me.”
Álvarez (57-2-2) feels he didn’t get proper credit for beating Golovkin in their second fight after a draw in the first. Golovkin believes the judges favored Álvarez in both results, but said during Friday’s event that the experience will not prompt him to be more aggressive in removing the judges from the equation.
Álvarez, 31, is the much more active fighter since they last clashed, winning seven of eight fights between 168 and 175 pounds. Golovkin (42-1-1) has fought just four times and won all four. He went over a year without fighting before a TKO victory about Ryota Murata in Japan in April.
“He wants his last payday,” lvarez said. ‘That’s what he wants. You look at my fights after GGG and look at what he fought after me. You don’t have to think much about that.”
Álvarez spoke to media members for over 30 minutes before taking the stage with Golovkin for a press conference and two lengthy staredowns to illustrate his animosity towards his rival. What Álvarez declined to discuss on Friday was what happened six weeks ago. But that night hung over his attempt to turn the page anyway.
In his first public appearance since his one-sided loss to Dmitry BivolÁlvarez described the defeat – his first in nearly nine years – as difficult to deal with. He admitted to watching the video of the beating, though he didn’t think painful exercises were necessary. He climbed a weight class and lost. Time to move on. Still, Álvarez indicated that there was more to it.
“I don’t want to talk much about that because of course I don’t want to apologize, but only we in the team know what happened and why I got tired,” said lvarez. “If you watch the first five rounds, I won them. But then I started to get tired. A lot has happened, but I don’t want to give a pretext. I lost and that’s it.”
When asked if he was sick before the fight, Álvarez dodged the question.
‘I lost,’ he said, ‘and so I must take it.’
Golovkin said he has only seen highlights of Bivol’s upset win and theorized that the loss was a valuable wake-up call for Álvarez.
“I think it’s good for Canelo because that loss brought him back to reality,” Golovkin said. “If he draws the right conclusions from that fight, he becomes a better boxer.”
Álvarez burst out laughing when informed of Golovkin’s analysis, and the response again emphasized his disdain for Golovkin.
“He always pretends to be a nice guy in front of people,” Álvarez said. ‘He’s a… … It is what it is. I don’t pretend to be nice or not. This is how I am. I don’t pretend to be a different person.”
Golovkin emphasized that he did not share the same hard feelings as Álvarez. He said he thought the spat between the two fighters, largely stemming from Álvarez testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug before their second fight, was behind them as they hugged after Álvarez’s narrow win.
Golovkin repeated – over and over – that this was just another fight for him. He declined to answer “provocative” questions about Álvarez, though he added that Álvarez’s positive drug test “cannot be completely forgotten.” He didn’t want to play the fake rage game. However, he did have one question.
“If it’s so personal to him, my question is, why did he put off the fight for so long?” asked Golovkin.
Álvarez claimed to be fighting the best opponents available while Golovkin played it safe, waiting for another big reward. The cynics wonder if Álvarez Golovkin simply waited until he was too old to present a challenge similar to the first two encounters.
In the end, Golovkin will have waited four years and agreed to fight for the first time at 168 pounds – Álvarez’s most comfortable weight class where he is the undisputed champion. In other words, the fight will be on Álvarez’s terms. When he wants it, how he wants it, where he wants it. He sets the show for the long-awaited finale.
“It makes me feel good,” lvarez said with a grin.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times†