Canelo Alvarez is a superstar of world boxing, a multi weight champion and a veteran of more than 60 professional contests.
But he admits this weekend’s showdown with Gennadiy Golovkin will be the most personal fight of his career.
“Yes, I think so,” Alvarez said. “It’s going to be very sweet for me.”
Alvarez and Golovkin have fought twice before in middleweight unifications. Their first contest in 2017 was a highly controversial draw. A rematch was delayed when Alvarez was handed a six-month suspension for an adverse finding in a drug test which he blamed on eating contaminated meat.
When the second fight eventually took place in 2018, the Mexican won on a majority decision.
As far as both fighters are concerned, their business is unfinished. On arriving in Las Vegas for their third fight, to be contested at super-middleweight where Alvarez is now the undisputed champion, Golovkin declared, “This is not just for me, [it’s] for sport. I want to bring boxing’s position back, I want a clean sport.”
Comments questioning his integrity enrage Alvarez, who said: “The history we have, after the second fight he spoke a lot of things about me, so that’s why I take this personally.
“It means a lot because everybody is going to remember this trilogy, so it means a lot for me.”
Their feud runs deep. Even his mother “hates so much Golovkin”.
“You’re going to hear in the arena a lot of bad words from my mum,” Alvarez said with a smile. “But it is what it is, it’s my mum.”
Even though Golovkin has never been stopped, Alvarez will be going for a knockout. “Look, that’s my goal,” the champion said.
“But you never know in boxing. That’s my goal. I prepare myself for that. But you never know. I’m going to jump in the ring and fight with my head. That’s my goal, I’m going to try all the fight to end the fight before the 12th round. But you never know.”
The Mexican is a tremendous body puncher and will target Golovkin there. “I think he hurts a lot in the body so that’s why I’m going to work a lot on Saturday,” he said of the Kazakh.
“He’s still strong and it’s going to be a good fight,” Alvarez added. “I think this fight is going to be the best of the three.”
Although he still holds all four of the major super-middleweight titles, Alvarez is coming off a loss. In May he stepped up to light-heavyweight and was outboxed and outpointed by WBA champion Dmitry Bivol.
“Everything is important. I want to win every single fight. It’s important for me, for my legacy,” he said. “I learned a lot [from the Bivol defeat]. I just learned what I need not to do in my training camp and a fight. I learned a lot, you learn from everything.”
He had been fighting regularly before that bout. One of the lessons he’s taken from that last fight is to not be quite so active. He won’t box again this year after Golovkin.
“I fought four times in 11 months so I think my body needs a little rest in between fights,” he explained. “I need to slow down. My body needs a little rest so I’m going to slow down a bit this year.”
Alvarez however insists that losing to Bivol hasn’t harmed his standing in the sport.
“I have nothing to prove. In my position nobody takes risks like me,” he declared.
“In my position I don’t need to take risks. But I take the risks because I love boxing. I love what I do and I love challenges. I don’t need to prove anything.”