By Marc Livitz: Nearly a year has passed since boxing fans were treated to a showdown in the efforts to determine not only just who held the distinction as the best middleweight in the world, but one of the best talents, pound for pound as well. Simply speaking, it came and it went. The fight itself had its moments and many lines were drawn in terms of who should’ve been the rightful victor, either Saul "Canelo" Alvarez or Gennady "GGG" Golovkin. Three scorecards were ultimately read as the night last September 16 ended at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. One judge (Don Trella) saw it as a draw at 114 apiece. Either his scorecard or that of Dave Moretti (115-113 for Golovkin) would have been more than acceptable. The same could also be said leaning towards Canelo.
There’s always more money to made in a rematch of this caliber, though Adalaide Byrd’s tally of ten rounds to two in favor of Canelo would’ve led one to believe the opposite. Of course, the judge’s score total of 118-110 was met with perhaps universal disdain, from fans all the way up to the bout’s promotional sides.
A rematch was announced for May 5, 2018 and this likely came as a surprise to just a few. Alas, it was not be, due to the failed drug test on the part of Canelo Alvarez this past February. The Mexican superstar tested positive for Clenbuterol and although he as well as his team were quick to attribute the negative press to tainted beef in Mexico, he’d ultimately be suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission until this coming Friday, August 17. Golovkin’s camp shared opinions that were heavily echoed by many within the press and boxing community. Alvarez was a cheat.
Depending on who’s asked, Canelo (49-1-2, 34 KO’s) is regarded by many as the best middleweight in the world, followed in very short proximity by unbeaten Gennady Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KO’s). On Saturday, September 15 in the same city as well as the same venue, the two combatants will meet for the proverbial round thirteen in an effort to settle the score and see just who is the baddest on the block. Should Golovkin emerge victorious, then he will eclipse the record set by former middleweight great Bernard Hopkins for successful title defenses at twenty one consecutive victories.
Canelo, alongside his promoter, boxing Hall of Fame inductee Oscar De La Hoya fielded questions from the media in an International Conference Call on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the upcoming rematch, which will be distributed in the United States by HBO Pay-Per-View (8PM ET/5PM PT).
Selected Highlights Listed Below
Opening Statements, Canelo Alvarez: "We’re ready and there’s just one month left. I’ve been very focused in training and there’s just a short ways to go."
If Canelo Wishes to Keep Golovkin from breaking Hopkins’ record: "Gennady has his goals, just like me. Mine is to win on September 15th. All I know is that I’m prepared to win and give a great fight and make it absolutely clear that I’m the best middleweight in the world."
On what he learned from his first bout with "GGG": "I’m happy for this tiebreaker. I’m content and relaxed. I know what I have in front of me in Golovkin and I have my strategy."
"The first fight gave me the guidelines to learn what I need to do. I learned how to how to beat him and how to knock him out. Now, I’m more prepared and focused on what I can do in this rematch."
Oscar De La Hoya’s thoughts on Canelo’s failed test and his own past opponents: "I’m not concerned one bit because this is totally different. Shane Mosley and Fernando Vargas tested positive for steroids. This was a case of Clenbuterol in tainted meat and everyone in Mexico knows about problems with their meat. Once he beats Golovkin in a spectacular fashion, then people will forget about that here in the States."
Canelo on the same: "I learned a lot and who’s really there for me. The only error I made was not educating myself properly on the meat in Mexico. I won’t make that mistake again. I’ve always taken these tests since 2012. They (VADA/USADA) can come any time they want. They’ve tested me about 15-20 times since last February."
De La Hoya’s thoughts on "Mexican" styles of fighting: "It’s all a gimmick to win fans over. I did it by fighting hard against the best out there. Canelo’s done it the same way and the Mexican nationals love him. The ’Mexicans for Pacquiao’ and so on, it’s all a gimmick. It’s good to know about the Mexican fans who know him and love him."
On Canelo serving as a role model for younger fighters: "Looking up to fighters, that’s what it’s all about. Every sport has a hero and someone they look up to. Saul is a hero and the one young fighters look to. This only makes boxing better and helps them realize their own dream."
If he thinks Bernard Hopkins will be pleased if Canelo keeps his record safe: ""Bernard couldn’t be any happier if Canelo stops Golovkin from topping his record. He was able to defend his title 20 times. I’m sure that on September 15, he’ll be rooting for Canelo Alvarez."
His Thoughts on Canelo’s first bout with Golovkin: "I believe that he fought a good fight and I had him up by two points. You can always get better. You can change your style and adjust to your opponent, unlike "GGG", who only fights one way."
Canelo’s View on Golovkin’s power: "Golovkin is a strong fighter. He has a strong punch and that’s his virtue as a fighter, his power. Despite being a powerful, 160-pounder, I showed him that I could take his punches. I’ve been in the ring with strong punchers in the past."
"I knew that he was strong that he could take punches, but nothing surprised me. The first fight showed me what I could add to my game plan."
If He’s watched his last fight with Golovkin: "I’ve watched our last fight about ten times. I defended punches and didn’t take chances to counter them. That’s what I needed to do. Every time I slip a punch, I have to hit him back and that’s what I’ll do on September 15th."
If a year away from the ring will affect him: "I feel fine and I don’t think the year off will affect me at all. I usually take September to May off anyway and so, this is only three additional months. I like to train and I’m always active. I’m more anxious than ever to get back in the ring and throw punches."
On the accusations from Golovkin and if there’s any animosity: "The respect that we had was lost. The statements he made caused us to lose all respect. The crying their team made will only push me harder. This anger that I have helps me train harder, but mentally, I’m relaxed. I know how to manage that anger."
Canelo’s plans for September 15: "I knew that he was strong that he could take punches, but nothing surprised me. The first fight showed me what I could add to my game plan."
"I will work him to look for the knockout. I’m training and preparing mentally to do that. I want them to raise my hand after that knockout victory."