CANELO ALVAREZ has been pouring over footage of his first fight with Gennady Golovkin. He’s watched the 12 rounds they shared last year 10 times. In the past a young Canelo has sparred Golovkin too. In short he knows the Kazakh well and, he promises, he knows how to beat him.
“The first fight gave me the guidelines to know what to do in the second fight, to know what to do differently. In the first fight I realised a lot of things. I learned that I can knock him out. I learned that I can hurt him. There are a lot of things I learned in that fight,” Alvarez said.
He has identified precisely what he needs to do. “If there was an error, it was that I defended punches and I didn’t take advantage to counter that. I have to add that to this game plan. Every chance I get to hit him, I have to hit it. Every time I slip or dodge a punch, I have to come back,” he revealed. “I know Golovkin is not an easy opponent, and I know what I have to add to my strategy.”
Alvarez also points out that that fight was his first at 160lbs. He believes he has adjusted to the middleweight division now. “Now I’m more sure and more confident about what I can do in this rematch,” he said. “I’m very happy to have this tiebreaker. I’m very happy to make clear who is better. This is the opportunity to show who is better. So I’m happy and I’m content and I’m relaxed.”
Golovkin, the WBC and WBA champion, is a fearsome power puncher. But Canelo insists he is unintimidated. “He has a very strong hit in his punches. That’s his biggest virtue as a fighter, that he has that power, but obviously I’ve fought other strong fighters as well. And despite him being a 160-pounder with respectable power, it’s nothing out of this world. I showed him the first fight that I can take his punches, and simply that he’s a respectable puncher with respectable power, but nothing out of this world,” the Mexican said.
Their first fight however is shrouded in controversy. It finished in a highly debatable draw and then, to compound the shock, Alvarez failed two drug tests in Mexico as he prepared for the rematch. The fight had to be postponed until September 15 as Canelo served a six-month ban, arguing that he had inadvertently consumed traces of clenbuterol contained in tainted beef. Since those failed tests Alvarez has had between 15 and 20 further drug tests.
Golovkin has been outspoken with his condemnation of Canelo. The Mexican has taken those words personally. “The respect that we had was lost. He crossed the line with his statements,” Alvarez said. “I know that if I get angry and close-minded that I might make some mistakes and it will be wrong. So I’m going to use this in my favour to train harder to give that extra push and I’m going to use that anger intelligently in my favour on September 15.”
“This anger that I have, it helps me train harder,” he continued. “But mentally I’m relaxed. I have the experience to manage that anger. When I step into the ring on September 15, I’ll go in with a cold and calm mentality.
“This fight I will just show that I’m the best, that I’m better than he is. That’s why I’m fighting, to continue my history and my story and to continue facing good challenges.
“Personally for me, I want it to end here. I want it to define very clearly who’s the best in this rematch.”