By Miguel Maravilla
Note: This interview took place before the announcement this week that Canelo tested positive for trace levels of Clenbuterol.
Mexican superstar and former world champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, is set for his upcoming Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) rematch with WBC/WBA/IBF/IBO middleweight world champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) taking place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas live on HBO Pay per view.
“Everyone knows this fight will be a good fight. After seeing the first fight everyone knows what to expect on Cinco de Mayo,” Saul “Canelo” Alvarez told Fightnews.com®. “The truth is I am confident that I can win and knock him out!”
After weeks of deciding on a host site, there was much speculation about the fight potentially landing at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The sound of a Cinco de Mayo showdown of this magnitude taking place in New York just didn’t sound right as Las Vegas usually hosts major fights on that holiday weekend
“Las Vegas is where it started and this is where it should be settled,” Canelo said.
With the fight officially set, Canelo will now begin his training camp in San Diego and Big Bear, California. Canelo’s trainer Eddie Reynoso and manager Jose “Chepo” Reynoso had been considering the preparation at high altitude. Canelo has been holding training camp in San Diego in his most recent fights.
“We have been considering moving the camp to high altitude but any fighter that is a well disciplined and a dedicated boxer like Canelo can train anywhere in high altitude or sea level to prepare for the fight,” Eddie Reynoso told Fightnews.com®.
Golovkin also trains in Big Bear, which has a population of about 5,000. So the camps could potentially run into each other during roadwork or around town.
The last time Alvarez stepped foot in the ring was the September showdown vs. Golovkin. They had previously sparred together years ago. This time it was no sparring session as Canelo and GGG engaged in a classic 12 round battle that ended a draw, however the result was overshadowed by one of the judge’s scorecards.
“Honestly I felt I won the fight by 2 points,” said Canelo. “He hit me with a lot of good shots but I hope that was his best punch. I felt like the winner, but the good thing is that we are having this rematch. We followed the game plan. I feel that there was a lot of openings that I didn’t take advantage of.”
Many fans and observers at ringside saw it a close fight with most favoring Golovkin, as did judge Dave Moretti (115-113 for Golovkin). Don Trella had it even at 114-114, while Adalaide Byrd scored it a 118-110 landslide favoring Alvarez which caused an uproar.
“I respect all judges, boxing is about appreciation,” Canelo commented. “It was a tough fight. I had to work hard for but this was my first fight at 160 against the best in the division.”
Canelo mentioned what he could do better this second time around having already gone 12 rounds with Golovkin. Alvarez said there are some flaws he can correct as well as take advantage of opportunities he missed out on the first time around.
“I learned a lot from the first fight. I made him miss and that I didn’t take advantage of. There were some opportunities in which I could of let my hands go more,” Canelo explained.
In wake of the first fight, Canelo has heard it all from the critics. Fans saying he ran vs. Golovkin, or he is not fighting like a true Mexican.
Last week Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez accused Canelo of running around the ring throughout the fight and both Sanchez and Alvarez exchanged some heated words during a press event last week in Los Angeles.
“Boxing with technique and skill doesn’t mean that I ran. I mean, I stood on the ropes and I was able to fight him off the ropes. It’s not always about going forward. He (Abel Sanchez) should know, if he calls himself a good trainer,” Canelo commented.
Just to add more to the criticism, in a press release issued this past Monday, Alvarez tested positive for trace levels of Clenbuterol. In the past, there have been consistent cases of meat contamination that has impacted athletes in Mexico. As a result, Canelo will submit to any number and variety of additional tests that VADA deems necessary ahead of and after May 5th as part of the voluntary testing program.
Golden Boy distributed a statement from Canelo’s on the situation:
“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.”
For now, Alvarez remains focused in camp and concentrating for his rematch with Golovkin, but there’s no doubt that this recent issue has been a distraction.
One thing is certain. Win, lose, or draw in the rematch, Canelo will never escape the critics.
Follow Miguel on Twitter @MigMaravilla