It’s STILL good to be the king. Canelo Alvarez might have tarnished his royal status atop boxing’s pound-for-pound list following his unexpected but not surprising loss to Dmitry Bivol in May.
The undisputed, unified super middleweight champion from Mexico and San Diego resident (57-2-2, 39 KOs) took a few months off to reassess things, telling NYFights.com, “I learned my lesson.” Now he aims squarely at longtime nemesis Gennadiy Golovkin of Kazakhstan (41-1-1, 37 KOs) for the third time in defense of his titles on September 17 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Many fans and fighters are obsessed with undefeated records. Alvarez and Golovkin’s fans don’t care one bit. They’re eager to see the trilogy fight between two accomplished athletes whose dislike for each other is 100% genuine. Call the lead-up to the fight round zero, in which the Mexican and the Kazakh throw shade at each other in an attempt to take up mental real estate before they meet again in the ring.
Alvarez arrived at San Diego’s House of Boxing to fanfare from the talented mariachi band Mariachi Torres, posed in front of his mural on the side of the gym, and signed autographs for a handful of fortunate fans. Before going through his paces with trainer Eddy Reynoso, Alvarez worked the media line in good spirits and cheerfully answered questions.
Alvarez: ‘You are right!'
Alvarez told us he’s glad to be back. Asking what he learned from his loss to Bivol, Alvarez was more candid than he was in the immediate aftermath of the loss back in May, saying he’s a far more mature fighter.
The obsession with maintaining the perfect record to the exclusion of seeking out significant tests and reaching for bigger goals has become an unhealthy one in modern boxing. Alvarez’s two losses, the first to the unbeaten Floyd Mayweather and the second to Bivol benefit him far more than layup fights.
The best example is Alvarez’s greatly improved upper body movement and defensive skills in the ring. During his media workout with Reynoso, those skills were on display.
Have no doubt the display was by design. Alvarez knows Golovkin learned from Bivol’s success and will be aggressive with his jab, which is among the best in boxing. Alvarez cannot present a static target.
The Mexican says he intends to end this third fight early. “I think one of my best punches is to the body. My goal is to end this fight before 12 rounds,” declared Alvarez.
“Look, this kind of fight, styles make these fights perfect, right? That’s why it’s a trilogy, we had two great fights. I think this fight is going to be a good fight too. I think I’m more mature, I’m in my prime, I feel confident, so it’s going to be a different battle.”
Human rights icon and former South African President Nelson Mandela famously said, “I never lose. I either win, or I learn.” Mandela was also a big boxing fan. If Alvarez shares this philosophy, he'll come at Golovkin with more knowledge than he had in their previous meetings.