It took Canelo Alvarez a little while to get over the second loss of his career, a unanimous decision loss to Dmitry Bivol in May. But Alvarez is now moving back down to 168 pounds to defend his undisputed super middleweight championship against middleweight rival Gennadiy Golovkin on Sept. 17. Golovkin is ready for his third shot vs. Alvarez, and Alvarez is ready to wash away the feelings the Bivol loss created.
Now, Alvarez, who has been a long-time ambassador for Hennessy VSOP, is looking to his next fight, and though he’s already beaten Golovkin (and drew with him in their first fight), the optics have changed a little, especially with Golovkin coming off an impressive knockout win of Ryota Murata in Japan. I spoke with Alvarez recently, and we talked about how he wants to end Golovkin’s career and why he’s decided to start conducting interviews in English.
Here was our conversation from a few weeks ago.
Josh Katzowitz: The last time we spoke, it was through an interpreter although you clearly could understand what I was saying. Now, you’re doing interviews in English. What was the reason you made the decision to start talking to reporters in English?
Canelo Alvarez: I started speaking English a lot with my friends in San Diego. I started learning and learning more. If I make mistakes, that’s OK. I make a lot of mistakes. But you understand me. That’s the most important thing. I’m learning little by little. It’s like, don’t be ashamed to speak other languages. Just be confident. That’s why I started.
JK: Yeah, I mean I think you sound great. So, good job with that. How long did the loss to Bivol affect you? Have you accepted it? Have you moved on? Where are you at mentally with that?
Alvarez: I accepted it right away. It is what is. I took a risk, going up to light heavyweight to be great. When you do that kind of thing, you know it’s maybe going to happen. That’s not the end of the world. You need to keep trying. I’m going to keep trying. I’m going to be one of the greatest fighters in boxing. In my position, I don’t need it. I don’t need to take a risk. But I love boxing. I love to make history. I accept the loss. When you win, you celebrate. When you lose, you need to accept.
JK: Have you felt differently in training so far after a loss since it had been almost a decade since the Mayweather fight? Do you feel meaner? Do you feel hungrier? Anything different?
Alvarez: I feel hungry. I always train 100%. This is no exception. I feel motivated. I just can’t wait to be in the ring.
JK: I talked to Golovkin last week and I asked him if he was thinking about retirement even if he won against you, and he said he had actually retired during the pandemic and that he was just fooling around now. He was joking, but would you find it, based on your past history, satisfying to beat him and send him into retirement?
Alvarez: That’s my goal. That’s my goal for this fight. No disrespect for him. He’s a great fighter. He’s one of the best middleweights in boxing history. But that’s what I train for. My goal is to end his career, his great career.
JK: You’re coming back down to 168 pounds. He’s going up to 168 after being a middleweight his entire career. Do you have an advantage since you’ve spent more time than him at 168? Or do you think it’s going to be tough for you to lose those seven pounds after being at light heavyweight?
Alvarez: It’s going to be a bonus for him. He can’t make 160 anymore. He lost a lot of weight. He’s going to be strong. It’s like me. When I was at 154, I went up to 160. He was my first fight [at middleweight]. It’s going to be a benefit for him.
JK: What about losing those seven pounds for you?
Alvarez: I did that already in past fights. I fought at 175 [vs. Sergey Kovalev in 2019] and then went to 160. I got back to weight.
JK: Do you worry about as you get older, with you going up and down in weight, it’s going to get more difficult for you to lose the weight?
Alvarez: I’m not worried about that. I feel great. I feel young.
JK: Do you think about your legacy? I’m a Hall of Fame voter, and there’s no doubt you’re a first-ballot Hall of Famer, like Golovkin. But I asked him about his legacy. And I wonder if you think about yours.
Alvarez: I’m going to keep trying. I’m going to try one more time at 175. I’m going to try as many times as I can to be great. I already did a lot in boxing. I have a lot of history. I’m doing great right now. I want more. I’m not somebody who’s going to say, “OK, I’m good. I’m going to stay in this position.” No, I’m the kind of guy who looks for more challenges.
JK: Are you looking forward to facing Golovkin’s style again? Bivol obviously has such a difficult style, a great boxer who could move around. Golovkin’s going to come right at you.
Alvarez: I like that kind of style. The people win. They want to see a great fight. That style that Golovkin has and with my style, it’s going to be a great fight.