Saul “Canelo” Alvarez says a trilogy-defining victory over bitter rival Gennady Golovkin on Saturday will return him to the top of boxing and be recognized as the world’s top fighter.
Alvarez, cheered on by his loyal fans celebrating Mexico’s Independence Day on Friday, will look to beat the hard-hitting Kazakh a second time after a controversial win in their last bout in 2018.
With the bout taking place in the super middleweight division, it’s a chance for the Mexican superstar, undisputed champion in the 168-pound weight division, to avenge his latest bout defeat – a light heavyweight loss to Dmitry Bivol – and become the pound-for-pound at the best in the eyes of the boxing world.
40-year-old Golovkin will be fighting for the first time in the weight class, but the weight should suit the middleweight champion, who says Alvarez was lucky to earn a tie in the opening bout in 2017 before suffering the only career loss for “Triple G “ scored.
The fighters have made no secret of their dislike for one another, a rivalry that was further reignited after Alvarez tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol in March 2018, delaying a third matchup until now.
Alvarez is determined to eliminate Golovkin for the first time in his storied career, a hiatus that would cement the Mexican’s place among the all-time greats.
“It’s one of the biggest fights of my life because of the rivalry we have and that third fight will be the most important,” Alvarez told AFP.
“The fact that he’s going into it and thinking it might be his last makes him dangerous. I’ll leave everything in the ring.
“From the first lap I’ll try to get the break. It’s as nervous as I’ve been before a fight for a while.”
Alvarez is 57-2-2 with 39 knockouts while Golovkin is 42-1-1 with 37 knockouts and three world 160-pound middleweight titles.
Bivol’s loss hasn’t tarnished Alvarez’s confidence in his place in boxing.
“I think I’m the best fighter in the world right now,” said Alvarez. “Nobody has taken risks like me and I don’t need to take risks, but I love a challenge and I still feel like I’m the best.
“I just want to punish him really hard. I’m about to do that. He pretends to be a nice person, but he’s not. He talks a lot (stuff) about me and that’s what I don’t like. He’s a great fighter, but as a person? I don’t think so.
“The rivalry goes back years and I love that it’s personal. I train like crazy, it motivates me even more. I listen to what he says, but at the end of the day he just makes excuses. I’m listening, but don’t take it to heart or on board.
“What I don’t like is when it comes to speaking in person, he’s lying and he’s a different person.”
– GGG: ‘Absolutely Ready’ –
Golovkin, on the other hand, feels the Mexican has lost touch with reality after losing comprehensively to the bigger, stronger Bivol earlier in the year as Alvarez saw his bid to dominate another weight class falter.
“He goes on to say he’s not afraid of a challenge and saves face,” Golovkin said. “At the same time, he didn’t take seriously what Bivol said in the press conferences. He concluded that this loss brought him back to earth.
“He lost touch with reality and believed he was invincible. The confidence is there, but after you’ve clearly lost the fight, do you raise your arms and say you’ve only lost a few rounds? That’s what I’m talking about.
“I’m calm and confident. My nervous system tells me that everything is going as usual. I assume that he will make fewer mistakes. I know what kind of fight we’re facing and I’m absolutely ready.”