Warmed over: Canelo Alvarez is ready for the Gennady Golovkin rematch
Opposite of his rival, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez strutted around downtown Los Angeles, manifesting the confidence he had when passionately discussing their first fight. The Mexican superstar entered the media sit-down after unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, just as he will enter the ring on Cinco de Mayo, in Las Vegas, and when first asked to respond to Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez, Canelo’s convictions were properly translated by Golden Boy Promotions’ matchmaker Robert Diaz.
“I did what I planned to do,” Canelo said. “I went in there. I outboxed him, I laid on the ropes – I made him miss – I controlled in the center of the ring. It’s not the same thing – I’m a technical fighter that knows how to make a fighter miss, knows how to counterpunch – than just a jackass coming forward, throwing punches and being hit. I hope he goes home tonight and really thinks of what he says because all he’s saying are stupid, idiotic things.
“It doesn’t bother me. I felt what they were feeling. I wasn’t happy with a draw, so I understand. The difference is, I’m not publicizing it all over social media or crying out for it. I just gotta do what I gotta do.”
Alvarez, 49-1-2 (34), made valid points throughout the 20-minute interview and, certainly knowing a good majority of the media thought he lost the first fight, he probably took satisfaction in the little-to-no pushback or argument he got from the print media. It was a good discussion, however, and Canelo was sure to put it all into perspective.
“Yes, absolutely,” he said when asked if it was his toughest fight physically to date. “It was a fight that I had to work hard for and it was fight that took a lot physically but remember: That was my first fight at 160 against the top dog at 160…I was able to see all his punches coming and there’s no doubt in my mind that I’m faster than him. That’s why I can see all those punches and make him miss all those punches.
“I respect all judges. Boxing is of appreciation,” Canelo declared. “Some people see things differently. To answer your question, I saw myself winning by two points.” Thanks to the 118-110 scorecard in his favor from Adalaide Byrd, Alvarez’s performance was sort of forgotten, in the aftermath of the fight. He performed well but as did Golovkin, just a few minutes earlier, Canelo did manage to reveal the truth behind not earning the decision on the cards and why most boxing fans thought he lost the first fight.
“I learned a lot,” Alvarez pondered. “When I made him miss, there was a lot of openings that I didn’t take advantage of but, seeing that, those are things we’re gonna work on in the gym. Prepare to take advantage of those openings.” Canelo fought at his best in the last three rounds of the fight and, when asked if that gives him confidence headed into the rematch, he said, “It’s not just the last three rounds. It’s the first fight that gives me the assurance that not only can I win the fight but I can end it before the distance and knock him out.”
Canelo was so self-assured, he even proclaimed he knew how others felt in saying, “What I can tell you is I hurt him. I did hurt him. And he didn’t hurt me in the whole fight. I hurt him with a right hand to the temple and I also hurt him to the body.” As for why he thought Golovkin didn’t go to his body in the fight and if he thought he felt Golovkin’s strongest punch, Canelo said, “He didn’t take those risks. He knows that if he goes down and tries to attack the body, the chances are he was going to get counterpunched, so that’s why he didn’t take the risk. He landed some good punches. I can withstand them. Didn’t really feel it and all I can say is that I hope it was his best punch but I don’t know.
“We both want to win convincingly. We both want to erase any doubt that’s why we want the knockout but, at the same time, that’s gonna make the fight more interesting because, in order to take more risks, that could leave more openings. He didn’t take a lot of risks either because he was afraid that he would get counterpunched but that’s what makes this second fight more interesting.”
Some may call it interesting but, as it turns out, not having a world tour for the biggest fight in boxing may have circumvented perhaps a bigger controversy that broke six days after the “Canelo-GGG 2” press event. Golden Boy Promotions, the lead promoter of the event, released a statement regarding its A-side, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, and it disclosed a positive result for the bronchodilator clenbuterol, under the VADA drug testing program.
LOS ANGELES (March 5, 2018): As part of the voluntary testing program that Canelo Alvarez insisted on ahead of his May 5 fight, one of his results came back positive for trace levels of Clenbuterol, consistent with meat contamination that has impacted dozens of athletes in Mexico over the last years.
As Daniel Eichner, Director of SMRTL, the WADA-accredited lab that conducted the tests stated in his letter today, “These values are all within the range of what is expected from meat contamination.”
Upon receiving this information, Golden Boy immediately notified the Nevada State Athletic Commission and Gennady Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler.
As has been planned, Canelo will immediately move his training camp from Mexico to the United States and will submit to any number and variety of additional tests that VADA deems necessary ahead of and after May 5.
Added Canelo: “I am an athlete who respects the sport and this surprises me and bothers me because it had never happened to me. I will submit to all the tests that require me to clarify this embarrassing situation and I trust that at the end the truth will prevail.”
Canelo has tested clean dozens of times over the course of his previous 12 fights.
By breaking the news themselves, Golden Boy and Canelo get ahead of the story, instead of having to react to it. Alvarez, 27, has never had an issue with failing a drug test before and, considering the issue of clenbuterol being often found in Mexican red meat for years, his reasoning is likely true. Less than two years ago in the summer of 2016, Francisco Vargas – another Golden Boy product – was claimed to be put in the same embarrassing situation and, with little to no pushback or questioning, he proceeded to take part in the “Fight of the Year” against Orlando Salido. Canelo’s measure of clenbuterol was half of what was found in Vargas’ positive test. With so little of the facts known, how he thought it happened or how a multi-millionaire athlete can allow something like this to happen, aren’t tough questions to answer, when they aren’t given the opportunity to be asked.
The news comes just a few days after Luis Nery lost his WBC bantamweight title on the scales in Japan a week ago, coming in three pounds overweight for his rematch with Shinsuke Yamanaka (Nery was five pounds over the 118-pound limit, on his first attempt). Coming in so grossly overweight raises all sorts of red flags, considering he failed a VADA drug test, after beating Yamanaka in the first fight. Zilpaterol, a drug similar to clenbuterol (both used as a diuretic), was what Nary tested positive for and tainted Mexican beef was his conclusion. The WBC helped prompt the rematch, giving the 23-year-old a chance to redeem himself and all that came out of it was a scandalous blowout of Yamanaka within two rounds. Yamanaka, 35, who was pondering retirement immediately after the first loss, officially hung up the gloves after an abysmal night in Tokyo.
Jumping to conclusions would be unjust, at this point, but that certainly won’t stop fans and observers from going there. Sure, there’s a chance a positive drug test could hold up the rematch but lucrative fights typically find a way to happen. Canelo-GGG 2 will be no different and, assuming this will be the only time a positive result pops up (and there’s an uneventful weigh-in), the news will probably be forgotten, once round one begins. With this rematch so magnified, there’s no debating that it’s a bad look for Canelo and surely there’s some fans out there who can be turned off by the whole snafu. At the end of the day, it’s their right to buy the pay-per-view or ticket, and not contributing is the most effective way to show dissatisfaction. The T-Mobile Arena will sell out again and the HBO Pay-Per-View will be around a million, again, however, maybe this is an opportunity to bring reform to such an avoidable issue.
What’s stopping any potential cheater from just training in Mexico to use its beef as an accepted excuse? Maybe a general question like that would’ve stumped Canelo on this night but there was no stopping him, as he commanded the panel discussion in front of the public. Yet, it would’ve been weird to have controversial news loom over the event like the rainy clouds did in Los Angeles last week. There was none of that, however, and, as Canelo and Sanchez debated on the stage in front of a captivated crowd, the kick-off to one of the most anticipated fights in boxing went off without a hitch, until it didn’t.