Canelo Álvarez arrived Friday in a black velor polo and white pants with an entourage too deep for the Hollywood conference room. The Mexican cash cow was there to promote his next fight — the too-long-in-the-making third clash with Gennadiy Golovkin — and brought his talking points.
He explained that the bout, scheduled for Sept. 17 in Las Vegas, was “personal” for him because Golovkin has continued taking verbal shots since they last met in 2018. Álvarez promised he will knock out the 40-year-old world champion, right into retirement. He spoke with a controlled rage about his biggest rival.
“He always talks about I’m scared, I’m going away, when I’m fighting the best guys out there and he’s fighting with Class D fighters,” Álvarez said. “He’s talking a lot of things about it. So that’s why it’s personal for me.”
Álvarez (57-2-2) believes he didn’t receive 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 at Friday’s event that the experience won’t push him to be more aggressive to remove the judges from the equation.
Álvarez, 31, has been the far 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, winning all four. He went more than a year without fighting before a TKO victory over Ryota Murata in Japan in April.
“He wants his last payday,” Alvarez said. “That’s what he wants. You look at my fights after GGG and look at what he fought after me. Not much to think about it.”
Álvarez spoke with media members for more than 30 minutes before taking the stage with Golovkin for a news conference and two long staredowns designed to illustrate his animosity toward his rival. What Álvarez didn’t want to discuss 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 Bivol, Álvarez described the defeat — his first in nearly nine years — as difficult to absorb. He admitted to watching the video of the beating, though he thought that agonizing exercise was unnecessary. He climbed a weight class and lost. Time to move on. Yet Álvarez indicated there was more to the story.
“I don’t want to talk a lot about that because, obviously, I don’t want to make excuses, but only us on the team know what happened and why I got tired,” Álvarez said. “If you guys watch the first five rounds, I won them. But after that, I started getting tired. A lot of things happened, but I don’t want to give pretext. I lost and that’s it.”
Asked if he was sick before the fight, Álvarez sidestepped the question.
“I lost,” he said, “and that’s how I got to take it.”
Golovkin said he’s only watched highlights from 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 kind of brought him back to reality,” Golovkin said. “If he makes the right conclusions from that fight, he’ll be a better boxer.”
Álvarez scoffed when informed of Golovkin’s analysis, the response again highlighting his disdain for Golovkin.
“He always pretends to be a nice guy in front of people,” Álvarez said. “He’s an a—. … It is what it is. I don’t pretend to be nice or not. This is the way I am. I’m not pretending to be another person.”
Golovkin emphasized he didn’t share the same hard feelings as Álvarez. He said he thought the beef between the two fighters, largely stemming from Álvarez testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug before their second fight, was behind them once they hugged after Álvarez’s narrow win.
Golovkin repeated — over and over — that this was just another fight for him. He refused to answer any “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 anger game. He did, however, have one question.
“If it’s so personal for him, my question is, why was he putting off the fight for so long?” Golovkin asked.
Álvarez argued he was fighting the best opponents available while Golovkin was playing it safe, waiting for another big payday. The cynics wonder if Álvarez just waited out Golovkin until he was too old to present a challenge resembling the first two meetings.
Ultimately, Golovkin will have waited four years and agreed to fight at 168 pounds for the first time — Álvarez’s most comfortable weight class where he’s the undisputed champion. The fight, in other words, will happen on Álvarez’s terms. When he wants it, how he wants it, where he wants it. He controls the show for the long-awaited finale.
“It makes me feel good,” Álvarez said with a grin.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.