Counting Down To Canelo Vs. Kovalev: Wednesday Presser Has Strained Aura
3 years ago
Timing is everything, sometimes….And oh yes, the mood of today's press conference to hype the Saturday face-off between Mexican pack-leader Canelo Alvarez and Russian ace Sergey Kovalev, who at 36 is on the latter portion of his onstage fighting life.
In short, they are NOT on good terms. We could sense that by watching body language during the presser at the MGM. Canelo sat next to Oscar, and the red-head's visage showed the hardest game face I've ever seen him wear at a pre-fight presser.
Canelo Alvarez sits next to but doesn't speak to Oscar De La Hoya on Oct. 30, 2019, at MGM, leading into Canelo vs. Kovalev. (Picture by Amanda Westcott)
Oscar, who has been hit hard in recent weeks by news of allegations from an ex apparent gal pal, and a former GBP employee, held his head high. He said the right things during his time at the mic, about how rock-star Canelo is.
And Canelo thanked Golden Boy and didn't throw shade at the GBP bossman. But faces spoke volumes…and what wasn't said, and who wasn't posing with who in photos, testified that the mood was strained. Interestingly, strangely, the mood between the rivals, the fighters, was considerably lighter. (See Amanda Westcott picture, below).
That all will go out the window come Saturday however; back stories fade into the background, and things get settled, for a spell, with combat.
Here is a release sent out by event organizers, with quotes from major players:
LAS VEGAS (Oct. 30, 2019): Canelo Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) and Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) hosted their final press conference today ahead of their 12-round fight for Kovalev's WBO Light Heavyweight World Title. The event will take place on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN.
Below is what the fighters and their teams had to say at today's final press conference:
Canelo Alvarez, WBC Franchise, WBA, Lineal, RingMagazine Middleweight World Champion and WBA Super Middleweight World Champion:
“I want to say thank you to all of you guys, familiar faces, I want to thank you for all the support you've given me throughout my entire career. Thank you to Main Events, Golden Boy, DAZN, everybody, thank you. I'm ready. I'm ready to make history. I'm ready for this great fight with Kovalev. Thank you to my team, to my family, thank you to my beautiful daughter who's here – hi my love, I love you. We are ready to win.”
Why Kovalev? “Because he's the best in his division, he's one of the best, that's why we chose him, to make history by fighting one of the best.”
175 vs. 160: “I feel comfortable, I feel good, we'll see on Saturday how it all goes but I feel good.”
Sergey Kovalev, WBO Light Heavyweight World Champion:
“I'm sure this fight is going to be very interesting and very difficult for both of us because we never step back, never give up. I have to thank all my team, all of team Golden Boy and Canelo, and also thank you to all the people who are involved in this fight. Thanks to Las Vegas, thanks to MGM Grand for a nice stay and for everything. Thanks to all my boxing fans, let's make a fight this Saturday.”
“My goal is to break his strategy and use my strategy in the fight. My goal is to defend this title and follow my dreams.”
Were you offended that Canelo chose you, perhaps seeing you as an easy win? “No, I'm happy. It's nice that this is the biggest call in my boxing career, and to face Canelo, I'm happy. This is a big test for me – to prove one more time, I'm the best light heavyweight in the division.”
Will you be the first to KO Canelo? “You know, let's fight, and in the fight you'll get to see. It's not my goal, because when you follow that goal, you can't do it. I just want to get into the ring and box very well and make a great fight for boxing fans and the boxing world.”
“We're two great champions, and right now, we respect each other inside and outside the ring. But we will do our job very well for the boxing fans. And we will be fighting, never step back, never give up, we will make a great fight 100%.”
Eddy Reynoso, Head Trainer and Manager of Canelo Alvarez:
“We have been in camp, we've been training, and as I told Saul, we are ready for this and we will show on Saturday what we have been preparing for. Kovalev, we have great respect for him as a fighter, great respect for his trainer and respect for his camp. We have trained, we have prepared, and we are ready for Saturday and to win.”
Jose “Chepo” Reynoso, Trainer and Manager of Canelo Alvarez:
“Everything is teamwork, everybody puts in a little bit to make this happen, so thank you to everyone for this. And I want to give thanks to the great fighter Kovalev for accepting this fight. This allowed history to be made, and because of him accepting this fight, Saul will be winning his fourth division title. Thank you to the people that participated in the sparring for this great fight, it was different, and it contributed a lot for us to be prepared for this.”
“A very special thanks to Saul, we have been together for 14 years, and we've come a long way and we are here in a very special moment. And this Saturday, Saul will have his cake with four candles – each candle for each division that he has won a title. On Saturday, expect Saul to be on the list of the immortals of this sport.”
Egis Klimas, Manager of Sergey Kovalev:
“I'm so proud to represent one of the best fighters in boxing, Sergey Kovalev. But I'm more proud to be involved in this historical fight, which all the fans want. I can't talk much about what it means to win for Canelo, because he's already a legendary fighter. He's already top of the line. Sergey has bounced up and down, but I can tell you one thing – if Sergey can win this fight, which I believe he will, he will become the most recognized and the best fighter in the history of Russia. Let's hope we're going to have a good time, both guys are going to stay safe, and enjoy Saturday night's fight.”
James “Buddy” McGirt, Trainer of Sergey Kovalev
“It's going to be a great show Saturday. Most importantly, I have to thank Mr. Alvarez for making this fight happen. So much respect. I think you're one of the best out there, and it's going to be a great night of boxing on Saturday. I'm happy that 20 years from now, I can say I was a part of that. Everybody be ready, Sergey has some tricks up his sleeves, I know Alvarez does. Mr. Reynoso has done a great job with him since the Mayweather fight, he's improved a whole lot, but you'll see what we've been doing Saturday night.
Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy:
“This is a very important battle for Canelo and Sergey Kovalev and there's a lot at stake for both fighters. When we first started working with Canelo over a decade ago, we knew he was destined to be great. I think we are all aware now that we are witnessing greatness in the making. What does it mean to be great? To be considered great at anything, a person must be above average, they must exceed what's normal. We say some fighters are good, others are bad, but we reserve the term for those who are considerably above average, and through their various accomplishments they're able to achieve that status. Few fighters in the history of boxing can be considered great, and this small group of people develops a fierce ambition and spirit of competition. This ambition comes natural to them. For me that's what motivated me to spend of my teenage years putting aside the amusements of youth for the responsibility of greatness.”
“At the same time every natural gift must be cultivated by competition. You need to test your talents with other people who also have that same ambition. But what happens when those equal strengths and sizes are no longer competitive? Then the task becomes looking for even bigger challenges and I think that's what makes a fighter great – the ambition to succeed, the spirit to compete, and the initiative to keep looking for that next challenge. This is an accomplishment that has only been achieved by an elite group of fighters. Bernard Hopkins did it moving from middleweight to light heavyweight, and I did it by moving several divisions throughout my career. Canelo is now attempting to become a four-weight world champion, an accomplishment that has only been achieved by an elite group of fighters. Canelo will also look to become the second Mexican fighter to capture the 175 title in the history of Mexican boxing, and Canelo will attempt that by fighting one of the most feared punchers in recent years. Kovalev is a three-time world champion. Kovalev is one of the most avoided fighters in his own division. With Kovalev's strength and power, he can end the fight at any moment.”
“This is what it looks like when you have the initiative to keep looking for that next challenge. And then, only then, is the competition no longer against the man in front of you. It's now between you and history. For those wanting to witness history from the comfort of their homes, the fight will be streamed live on DAZN. We want to thank DAZN for giving us the best platform in boxing.”
Bernard Hopkins, Hall of Famer and Golden Boy Business Partner:
“First, thanks everyone for supporting the fights that matter. For Canelo, I commend you again and respect you not only as a fighter, but as a man and not only as a champion, but as a business. I have super profound respect for Canelo because I have a history of taking on the best, and I see in the legacy that he's building that Canelo has the same spirit. I know that he's in the right mindset based on fighting the best in that division – none other than The Krusher. Thanks for bringing fights like this that make boxing a conversation in homes, coffee shops, bars, number houses in Philadelphia, as a conversation like other big sports whether it's a playoff in the NBA, whether it's NFL, golf, boxing is being talked about. And to see that, to me, Golden Boy, my partner Oscar De La Hoya, Eric, Robert, they are all on the same page and taking action to make these fights happen.”
“I must continue to tell you your job is not to be biased, or to be with us all the time, but to write what you see and write what's being done. And that's more important than what you've heard. And not being the first one to get it out, because at the end of the day, you do your own independent analysis. Enjoy the fight November 2 because I know Canelo will have his hands full and Sergey Kovalev is going to be ready. I'm very happy and very satisfied that boxing has been passed down, like you pass a baton, to these two great fighters, making it even greater.”
Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events:
“I also want to thank the fighters, because without them, without guys who want to take risks, we don't get to have great events like this one. The first time I ever watched Sergey Kovalev fight a round, I knew he was something special. I want to thank him today for proving me right about that. I also want to thank Canelo Alvarez for calling Sergey out because that took a lot of courage and that's what it takes to be a great fighter, and we know he has it.”
About the Matryoshka doll she surprised Sergey with that artistically documented some of his career-defining moments: “The one thing all those fights had in common, is that they happened in the other fighter's hometown. Sergey won them all, he drew strength from the crowd that was booing him, and he plans to make that happen again on Saturday.”
Richard Sturm, President of Las Vegas Live Entertainment and Sports:
“MGM Grand is thrilled to host this highly-anticipated matchup between two great champions – Canelo Alvarez and Sergey Kovalev, Saturday evening, as they make their return to Las Vegas. This will certainly be an exciting night as Canelo moves up in weight. We look forward to seeing you Saturday night for this great event.”
Bob Bennett, Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission:
“We are certainly honored and privileged to regulate these fights and we are prepared to go to work. Most importantly, we would like to thank the fighters and recognize them. Because of the fighters, they keep boxing exciting, alive, and continue to make history.”
Joe Markowski, EVP of DAZN North America:
“I would like to thank all the journalists who have traveled to Las Vegas for this week's fight. Since our launch last September, you've kept us on our toes, challenged us to always do better but more importantly, you've been willing to keep an open dialogue with a new entrant into this storied sport. Since our launch last year, we've assembled the best schedule in boxing – something you've seen us market as Fight Season on DAZN, akin to the consistency that fans expect from the NFL and NBA. It's a true season of fight sports to close out 2019.”
“Week on week, month on month, more subscribers are being treated to great events with interesting narratives – and no fight embodies that description better than Canelo vs. Kovalev. This is a hugely important week for the sport of boxing, a hugely important night for DAZN, and our biggest fight we've put on to date in the United States.”
“It's one thing for a fighter to jump up two weight classes but it's a different kettle of fish to jump up two weight classes and challenge the biggest name in the division. Canelo as we all know is not your typical fighter. His drive to continually seek out new challenges is truly admirable. In a little more than 10 months, Canelo has already fought three times on DAZN. He is the biggest draw in boxing, we couldn't ask for a better partner.”
Canelo vs. Kovalev is a 12-round fight for the WBO Light Heavyweight World Title
presented by Golden Boy, Main Events and Krusher Promotions. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING,” Hennessy “Never Stop. Never Settle” and Brand-New Grapefruit Crush, Knockout Flavor. The event will take place Saturday, Nov. 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN. The title clash is one of several highlights this fight season on DAZN – an entire fall featuring boxing's biggest matchups in one of the best schedules in boxing history.
Tickets for Canelo vs. Kovalev are on sale and are priced at $1,754, $1,254,
$854, $654, $404 and $204, not including applicable service charges and taxes. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call 888-9-AXS-TIX (888-929-7849). Tickets also will be available for purchase at www.axs.com
Editor/publisher Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the thought to be impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and for Facebook Fightnight Live since 2017. He now does work for PROBOX TV, the first truly global boxing network.