You couldn’t have two more different reactions to being in one another’s presence, revisiting a rivalry with plenty of bad blood in its past, than what we saw during the press conference for the third Saul “Canelo” Alvarez-Gennady “GGG” Golovkin bout coming on September 17.
During both the Los Angeles and New York pressers to hype the pay-per-view bout in Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, Mexico’s Alvarez was bullish in asserting his desire to close out this rivalry with something brutally spectacular. He was also not shy in telling the assembled media what he thought about the Kazakh KO artist as a person.
“It’s personal for me,” Alvarez told reporters. “This is the way I am. I’m not pretending to be another person or saying things in the media and then come here and pretend I didn’t say anything.
“He’s two different people. He pretends to be a nice guy, but he’s not, he’s an a**hole.
“He pretends to be a nice guy and then other times he talks a lot of sh*t. Just be a man and say what you say.”
“He always talks about how I’m scared, I’m running away when I’m fighting the best guys out there and he’s fighting with Class D fighters,” the soon to be 32-year-old unified super middleweight champ added.
And when asked about if he wanted to be the one to push the 40-year-old Golovkin into retirement, Canelo was quick to answer.
“And I will do it for sure,” Alvarez said. “That’s the only way I want to finish this fight.”
IBF/WBA middleweight titlist, Golovkin, meanwhile, seemed very nonchalant in both press conferences, insisting that this fight was purely sport and that, for him, it wasn’t personal at all.
“What we have here is strictly business,” Golovkin said.
“I feel very cool about it. Of course all victories are different. From an emotional standpoint, I’ve completely cooled down and relaxed about it. After two fights with him, it’s just another fight.
“I don’t want you to get the impression that I am still in boxing because of Alvarez. I’m still fighting. I’m still in the sport. He’s not the reason.”
Golovkin would also insist that Alvarez’s punching power was not as impressive as some think it is and that it certainly wasn’t a factor in either of their previous bouts.
“I fought Canelo at 160, and I can say he was faster puncher with fast combinations, but I wouldn’t say those were power punches, knockout punches and you saw that. They were clean shots that brought no results.”
In 2017, the first bout between the two resulted in a controversial draw that many felt should’ve gone in Golovkin’s favor. Their rematch one year later, won by Canelo via majority decision, was significantly less controversial, but it came after a postponement due to Alvarez testing positive for the banned substance clenbuterol. Golovkin’s insistence on attacking Alvarez’s integrity as an athlete and openly questioning his clean status in their first bout angered Alvarez to no end and bubbled up the bad blood to such an insane degree that he vowed to never again face Golovkin, so as to not put another cent in his pocket.
However, business clearly trumped pride and Alvarez eventually came around, signing on to fight GGG as part of a three-fight deal with streaming service DAZN.
But there’s clearly still some pride involved in this matchup for Alvarez.
“He wants his last payday,” Alvarez told reporters.
“[It will be] so sweet [to end his career]. Of course [I want to retire him]. I will be [the last guy he ever fights].”