SAUL “CANELO” ALVAREZ, the WBC middleweight champion and one of boxing’s biggest stars, insists a fight Kazakh destroyer Gennady Golovkin is inevitable.
“It could be made this year, it’s very probable. It depends on the negotiations. When there’s a big fight like this the negotiating parts are tough. It’s a mega-fight and it’s tough to make these negotiations. But I’m ready. I’m ready to fight whenever. I’m here to fight the best and that’s what I want,” he said.
One of the sticking points in those negotiations could be whether they can agree the weight to fight at. Alvarez has been fighting below the middleweight limit, despite being the WBC champion, at 155lbs. “We’ll see, it’s on the negotiations. That fight has to happen. I’m a fighter that’s given away many concessions throughout my career. I’ve sacrificed so much from my side to be able to make fights that when that time comes, I’m not going to give any concession. But is the fight going to happen? Definitely it’s going to happen,” Canelo said. “That fight’s going to happen without a doubt. It’s going to happen. But you know there’s a lot of misconceptions about that fight as well. Those fights, megafights, they take time and everybody comments about them. The fight’s going to happen definitely.
“It has to happen.”
Of course he has the more pressing matter of Amir Khan, on May 7 at the new T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, to attend to. Canelo promises fighting Golovkin “doesn’t depend on what happens or the outcome of the Amir Khan fight”. “The fight’s going to happen because I want it to happen. But right now I can’t really concentrate too much on that fight. I’ve got the task ahead of me, which is Amir and I’m concentrating on that fight and that’s the fight I have to be ready for, Amir,” he continued.
Intriguingly he maintains that 155lbs, the catchweight Khan and Alvarez have agreed, is where he’s at ease. “It’s a weight that I’m comfortable at. In fact when I fought [Matthew] Hatton, the problem was that I couldn’t make ’47 anymore and we made an agreement to make the weight at 150,” he said. Apparently his team considered doing the Khan fight at super-welterweight but wanted the fight to be for the WBC middleweight title and so had to make it over 154lbs.
Alvarez isn’t taller than Khan but is the broader man. Canelo is established at this weight while the Briton is moving up from welter. The Mexican expects to put on at least 10lbs between weighing in and stepping into the ring but adds, “I don’t preoccupy myself with how much weight I’m going to gain. I don’t worry about it. Whatever my body naturally gains is fine by me. I’m eating well. I eat well and whatever the weight is it is.
“He might want to stay light but he’s going to do whatever makes him comfortable and just like any fighter, whatever makes him comfortable and they feel they’re going to be the best at that’s what I think Amir’s going to try to do.”
On paper Alvarez ought to be too strong, simply too big for Khan. It came as a surprise when this fight was made. Even Canelo was taken aback. “It was a little bit surprising for me as well that he accepted the fight and he was willing to fight me. But I’ve always said I’m willing to fight anybody. He’s definitely one of the top fighters in the world, he’s a great fighter. He’s got a lot of qualities, he’s very fast, his boxing ability is unmatched and I feel it’s going to be a great event. It’s going to be a challenge for me and I want to fight the best,” Alvarez said.
But Khan went for this opportunity readily. It took a week to make. “Maybe less,” Canelo shrugged. Khan famously missed out on a shot at Floyd Mayweather but perhaps believes he can follow the American’s example, who beat Alvarez comprehensively in 2013, and outbox the Mexican. “That might be the case, he might try to do that but I’m ready for it now. I’m a fighter at a different level now. I’ve faced pretty much every different style there is. So I feel that I’m capable of fighting against someone that’s going to utilise that style,” Canelo warned.
As Alvarez left that defeat behind him, picking up wins over Alfredo Angulo, Erislandy Lara, James Kirkland and most recently Miguel Cotto, his fame and reputation have grown exponentially. But he doesn’t dwell on becoming the new big name in the sport. “I don’t think about that. It’s too much pressure to try to be a something. What I worry about is just training and giving the best of myself. If that happens, it happens naturally. I don’t think about being a superstar, it’s too much pressure,” he said.
He is though happy to shoulder the burden of fighting for Mexico. He says, “It’s not really pressure. It’s a responsibility. It’s an honour that they’ve put me here but a lot of people don’t realise what goes into it, what I’ve sacrificed to get to this point. The reason I’m at this point, all the sacrifices and all the hard work. It’s a big responsibility but it motivates me at the same time to be able to fight for my country and for them to look up to me.”