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Marco Antonio Barrera: ‘It’s too early to call Canelo great’

Canelo Alvarez
Al Bello/Getty Images
I am glad that my friend and countryman Canelo is going to have the third fight with Golovkin... It is still unfinished business, says Maro Antonio Barrera in his own words

THE trilogy fight with Gennadiy Golovkin is a very dangerous fight for Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez. I saw Golovkin in his last fight, against Ryōta Murata in Japan, and he seemed great. His age didn’t really matter in that fight.

It’s very important for Saúl that this third fight happens, and that he wins, because in both of the first two fights there were doubts. In their first fight people saw “GGG” win the fight; in the second one they saw a draw. 

Saúl should give us another fight. But even if he wins clearly, people aren’t going to give him the merit he deserves, because he’s going to be catching Golovkin at 40 years old. 

I’ve known Saúl since he was 17. His team asked us if we would let him join some of our training. Then they invited me to his gym, where we had a barbecue. His trainers, Eddy and Chepo Reynoso, told me these exact words – he’s a very special fighter, and he’s going to make history. I could see it, too. Even then he was very fast, very disciplined, and loved challenges. 

Saúl asked me for permission to see me train. He also invited me to his gym, so that I could train there also. Since then he’s changed – in boxing, he’s taken some giant steps. 

But it’s pretty hard, today, to say he’s one of the best Mexican fighters in history. He will need to retire first, before he can be placed as one of the best. He still has a long journey ahead of him – he may end up being even greater than others. 

He’s doing things that have never been done before. He’s been a champion in a division Mexico has never had champions in before, and he’s talking about jumping into other divisions.

Before he lost to Dimitry Bivol there was talk of him fighting Oleksandr Usyk at 200lbs. I respected what Saúl was thinking, but it seemed impossible to see him at 200lbs. It would have been ideal for him to have won against Bivol, and then go on to prove himself the best in the division. Before that fight, pound for pound, he was the greatest fighter in the world. 

He has a different plan for his career. He’s a great businessman, and a great fighter, because he doesn’t wait to win a title and defend it against the number one – he jumps to another division. 

In my day, the approach was to win the world title, defend it against the number one in the division, then the number two, and then to unify in a fight with the next champion. But, right now, the plan Saúl has is very different to that. 

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