By: Sean Crose
On the few occasions I’ve spoken with Canelo Alvarez, I’ve always been struck by the man’s professionalism. That may seem like on odd thing to read in lieu of recent positive drug tests, but Canelo comes across to me like an adult. Not someone at a loss for words. Not a caricature. Not a person quick to insult or overly eager to please. An adult. His responses to my queries have always been polite and to the point. It’s something that’s stood out to me about the guy for quite some time now.
I bring this up because the very adult personality and professionalism Canelo’s exuded have made the man somewhat ill prepared for what has transpired during the last year. Like everyone else, I have no idea whether or not Canelo intentionally consumed clenbuterol, the banned substance he tested positive for last winter. If he did, that makes the professionalism he has exuded false. No one really knows the truth, though, so we’re left with a personality that seems ill equipped for the matter at hand. The fact that Canelo was less than quick to address the public on the matter of positive tests, then was openly hostile to Gennady Golovkin (who he’ll face this Saturday night in Vegas) for calling him a cheater makes Canelo look less than stellar.
Had Canelo been fighting an Andre Ward or a Manny Pacquiao, he wouldn’t have found himself in such a position as he does now. Both men would most likely shrug at the whole sad affair, say what did or didn’t transpire with clenubterol is on team Canelo, then go about with their training. Neither man might trust Canelo from there on in, but they wouldn’t make a big deal about it publicly. That hasn’t been the case with Golovkin or his trainer Abel Sanchez, though. They either truly think Canelo has played dirty or they’re using the opportunity to get inside his read haired head. My guess is there’s real disgust at play among team Golovkin, but no matter. Canelo has responded to their comments and assertions by acting imperiously offended. That’s the wrong road to take.
It makes sense for someone who behaves like a mature professional to be deeply troubled when his honor has been questioned, to be shaken when he isn’t taken at his word. During a 24/7 news cycle, however, the best thing would be to brush it off and focus on the fight at hand. “You think I cheated in the first bout with Golovkin? Well, I’m being drug tested constantly now, and you’ll see how I do in the rematch. Gennady can say what he wants. The truth will come out in the ring.” That’s it. That’s all Canelo has to say. Canelo is not letting the matter go, however, and he’s making himself seem a bit childish for the first time since he’s been in the public eye.
Word that he won’t shake the hand of Abel Sanchez on fight night, for instance, is silly. Even if Canelo can’t stand the guy, he should make it clear that he’s going to maintain his well known sense of decorum. It’s also a bit odd that Canelo says he’s going for the KO next weekend, essentially because of all the terrible things he’s felt team Golovkin has said. It’s great if he does go for the early stoppage perhaps, but why in the world is he parading around like the aggrieved party here? When all is said and done, Canelo still tested positive for a banned substance. Whether or not he ingested that substance intentionally is pretty much irrelevant.
One can think of other fighters, say Tyson Fury, or Adrien Broner, who might peacock their way through a situation like the one Canelo is in now. Classic bullies, they might present their opponents with an attitude that reads: “I’m not saying I cheated, but if I did, what are YOU going to do about it?” Ironically, that sort of absurdity would work with a large number of fans – and perhaps a large number of the media, as well. Such behavior isn’t Canelo’s thing, however. Then again, neither is acting like a victim…at least it hasn’t seemed to be up until now. Sometimes, people just have to step back and reassert themselves. That’s true both in an out of boxing.
CANELO ALVAREZ, Lineal Middleweight World Champion:
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
“We’re getting close to the fight, and I feel good. This fight is personal because of all that’s been said, and it will be difficult to regain the respect that we once had. The statements that have been made about me have given me more motivation to train harder. I have watched the first fight several times. The error that I made was that I had opportunities to counter that I needed to have taken advantage of. I need to do that in the rematch.
Like I’ve said many times, the first fight gave me the guideline for the second fight. I know that I can do many things in the ring against him. I know that I can hurt him. I hurt him in the first fight, and I’m going to hurt him even more in the second fight. My objective is the knockout and I’ll be looking for that from the opening round.”
Golovkin knows who I am. He knows who I’m about. Let me put it even better–he still doesn’t know how much more I have left to show. I’m looking forward to showing him that on September 15. I have to win convincingly. It has to be a knockout to erase any doubts. I’m very motivated for this win. I’m confident, but not overconfident about my opponent because I know who he is, but I’m confident in my preparation.
There is no such thing as a Mexican style. There have been many fighters from Mexico with different styles. My style is mine. I’m Mexican and that’s what is important. Maybe Golovkin uses ‘Mexican Style’ to get fans, but he’s a hypocrite. If something were to happen in Mexico, he wouldn’t be there to support them.
GENNADY “GGG” GOLOVKIN, WBC/WBA/IBO Middleweight World Champion:
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
“Canelo, he is not a champion. He is a liar who has no respect for the sport of boxing or its fans. I want to stay world champion and bring all my belts home. I am ready to star in another Big Drama Show. I do not think about Canelo in training. I am not worried about him. I only worry about doing my job in training camp and doing my job in the ring against Canelo on September 15. In the last fight I did not feel any real power from Canelo. Just slaps. He is not the hardest puncher I have fought, but he is fast and quick. He is the most skilled fighter I have fought. He is a very good fighter.
I am happy to get at Canelo again. It is another big chance to beat him again. Of course I want to knock out Canelo. It would be nice if Canelo came to fight this time. I don’t believe what he says about how he will fight me this time. He said the same thing before our first fight. I will definitely be more aggressive in this fight.
Was I upset that Canelo failed two drug tests? Yes. But I was more upset at Canelo’s team. The excuses they gave, their attitude, and Canelo’s reaction, it showed that they have no respect for the sport or the fans. They showed their real faces. They are fakes. I do
not feel anger toward him because the rematch was canceled the first time.
But I did lose all respect for him. Canelo is not the biggest name in boxing, just the biggest scandal. I feel very comfortable. It has been a great training camp. Abel has had me working on new things which I find very exciting. The cancelation of the rematch in May was a good life experience but it was not a good experience for boxing. I believe new judges and a new referee could be better for boxing and the fans.”
JAIME MUNGUÍA, WBO Junior Middleweight World Champion:
“Fighting on this card is a great opportunity, especially on a date that is so important for Mexicans. I have the obligation to give a great fight to all the fans. I know Brandon Cook is a tough opponent. He is older than me and has a lot of experience. But I think I’m stronger than him and have a reach advantage. I’m confident I’ll walk away with my hand raised.
This fight is an obligation to come in even better than last time. I need to show that I’ve gotten a lot better. I never knew that I would get so far in my career so quickly, but things happen for a reason. The Liam Smith fight gave me a lot of experience. It showed me all the errors I made that I am now working on in the gym.
A lot of fighters would love to be fighting frequently. It’s an opportunity that any fighter would desire. So I have to take advantage of that. If my body allows, I will continue be an active fighter as a world champion.”
OSCAR DE LA HOYA, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions:
“This fight is something different. This fight is personal. I’ve never seen Canelo so angry. He really wants to knock Golovkin out. As a promoter, I want to see him knock Golovkin out. This fight is every important for Mexican people. This is a Mexican date, and I’m excited we can bring fans an exciting and memorable event during Mexican Independence Day Weekend.”
TOM LOEFFLER, Promoter of Gennady “GGG” Golovkin:
“This is the biggest fight, the biggest boxing event of the year. The two best middleweights going mano a mano for all the marbles. Gennady is going for the all-time consecutive title defense record to further burnish his place as the top pound for pound fighter of his era.