MIDDLEWEIGHT king Gennady Golovkin has a lot to get off his chest ahead of his huge rematch with Canelo Alvarez this Saturday (September 15) night in Las Vegas. He explains who he was going to fight in case this one with Canelo didn’t materialise, why he needed to fight on the original date of the rematch and he reacts to the scoring in their first encounter.
Did you ever worry that this rematch might not happen? How close were you to moving on to another opponent?
Gennady Golovkin: “Of course I wanted the rematch to happen but it was never a worry for me if it did or did not happen. That is because after Canelo Alvarez failed two random drug tests in February everything changed. After I beat Vanes Martirosyan on May 5, I authorized my promoter Tom Loeffler to begin a new negotiation for the rematch with Canelo. Canelo and Golden Boy Promotions assumed I would fight under the terms of the May 5 rematch and they were unhappy when I gave them my terms. What they refused to admit was that it was their side that changed everything once Canelo failed his drug tests. That was their fault not mine.
“My team and I treat everyone we do business with on a professional level. Whether we agree or disagree we show respect. But Golden Boy decided that they would share my proposal with the media and insult me — every day. I guess they thought the media, the event partners, and the fans would agree with them and put pressure on me to accept their terms. It did not make a difference to me. It did not make a difference to the fans, they just wanted to see the fight. I knew what I wanted. I knew what was fair. So it was easy to deal with Golden Boy. I did not care what others thought. I am the champion. Canelo was the challenger. If they wanted the rematch, this time it would be on my terms.
“How close was I to moving on to another opponent? I actually had. Golden Boy gave me a deadline to accept their latest “final offer.” They were very public about that too. I had a deal in place to fight WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders in August and I was planning to start my training camp in Big Bear. Tom told the Saunders team that if Canelo agreed to my terms we would take that fight first. We were honest with them. That is how we deal with people. One hour after the deadline for Golden Boy’s “final offer” passed, Tom received a call from them saying they would meet my terms and the deal was done.”
When the rematch first fell through, you were determined to fight on May 5 anyway. Why was it so important for you to do that?
Gennady Golovkin “When it became clear Canelo would not be allowed to fight on May 5 because of his failed drug tests, my priority was to keep my fight on Cinco De Mayo. Cinco De Mayo is a huge date for boxing. It is a boxing holiday. I did not want to let the fans down. I also wanted to stay active. And I like headlining boxing events on Mexican holidays. It brings out the best fans and the best in me.
“I was told that Canelo and his promoter did not want me to fight on Cinco De Mayo and that it could keep the rematch from happening. A lot of people tried to stop me from making a fight on Cinco De Mayo. I did not care about what they wanted. Keeping that fight on Cinco De Mayo was important to me, to the fans, and to the sport of boxing. This was going to be my decision. Boxing fans look forward to Cinco De Mayo. Sponsors like Tecate put a lot of time and energy into making it a special holiday weekend. My promoter Tom Loeffler worked very hard to make this happen. My fight with Vanes Martirosyan at StubHub Center was a great night for boxing and a big hit for HBO.
“No one is bigger than the sport. Boxing is about working hard and giving a fair and honest fight. I respect the sport of boxing and the fans around the world who support it. For me, it is always about giving fans an entertaining fight. That is why I fight Mexican Style which was taught to me by Abel Sanchez. When I was an amateur I dreamed of becoming a world champion. I have worked hard to make that dream come true and I am not ready to give that dream up. That is why it was important to fight on Cinco De Mayo. I like being a world champion. I like defending my titles. And that is why I
am working hard to stay world champion on September 15 and beyond.”
How frustrating was it to hear the judges’ scorecards after your fight with Canelo? Did you use that as an incentive for this training camp for the rematch?
Gennady Golovkin “It was terrible. It was terrible for me. It was terrible for the people. Of course it was terrible for the sport…for the sport of boxing, because statistics showed I landed more punches. The fans saw I wanted to fight and Canelo did not want to fight. The fans who watched it live saw the judges bringing crazy scorecards. When the decision was announced, everyone was saying, “Oh, come on! This is not real! This is not true!” Everybody was very mad because these people, the judges, killed the sport that night. This time, the world will be watching the fight and the judges. Judges hurt the sport of boxing that day. Maybe the judges had a bad day. This is business.
“It is a new situation for me. This is my first rematch. I’m very excited because this fight is a completely different situation for us and for the fans. They get to see a fight with a real champion, two pound for pound champions. It is new. This is the biggest fight for boxing. I’m very happy because I am fighting at the highest level, the first class for boxing.
“Training camp with Abel Sanchez is always hard and exciting because Abel works me hard and he is always teaching me new things. What I have to prove I only have to prove to myself and no one else. My incentive is my desire to be my best when I fight and to be better than I have ever been before. Canelo is my most important fight because he is my next fight. That is the only thing that makes Canelo special. There was nothing special about him in the first fight. He did not fight Mexican Style like he promised. Over the last twelve months, Canelo has showed everyone his true self.”