“I am not looking to compete with a sideshow,” says Canelo Álvarez. “I know that if the people want to see a real fight, they will watch us.”
The “sideshow” that Canelo is referring to is the headline-grabbing match between UFC star Conor McGregor and undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather, scheduled to take place just three weeks before his middleweight title match against Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin, aka Triple G.
The bout between Canelo (49-1-1, 34 knockouts) and current champ Triple G (37-0, 33 knockouts) has been an anticipated one, so many rejoiced when it was finally scheduled to happen in Las Vegas on September 16. Then the McGregor-Mayweather faceoff was announced for August 26, causing many in the boxing community to raise an eyebrow, including Canelo’s promoter and boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya. But despite that initial disappointment, it seems that their focus is now solely on giving true boxing fans the best fight.
Men’s Journal sat with De La Hoya and Canelo (via a translator) during their promotional press tour at Madison Square Garden, where they talked about knockouts and their Tecate-sponsored documentary short about the “New Golden Age of Boxing” (check it out below).
How are you preparing for this match?
Canelo: I am always training and keeping in shape. I am always getting into the gym and going hard three or four times a week. My true training starts in a few weeks, when I will go one hundred percent. There is always something different about my camps because each training camp I am [specifically] getting ready for my opponent.
Oscar: Canelo is going to be in the best shape of his life. The timing of this match could not be better because Canelo is now a complete middleweight. He has always had to come down in weight. He is a big guy. The fact that he was making 154 just last year, I have no idea how he did it.
Both of you have a lot of knockouts; do you feel that is how this is going to end?
Canelo: Everybody loves the knockout. That is how I want to win this fight. There is a high chance that whatever way it goes, this match is going to end in a knockout because we both have scored plenty over our careers.
Oscar: I believe this will end with a knockout. They both have incredible records when it comes to that. These are the two best middleweights in the world. History has shown that this is an exciting category, from Sugar Ray to Duran. This division never disappoints. These two fighters are at their peak.
Speaking of great fighters, Floyd Mayweather is fighting again. How do you think you have evolved as a fighter since the last time you fought him?
Canelo: I am more confident now and have more experience. That fight motivated me. It didn’t stop me. It made me better.
If Mayweather decided to return to boxing, would you go for a rematch?
Canelo: There is a saying: first things first. But why not? I would absolutely do that.
There has been a lot of work to get Team Canelo to this point, how has this working relationship benefited both of you?
Canelo: I feel very fortunate to get to work with Oscar and his company Golden Boy. It is great to work with someone who you have the same goals and the same vision with. That is the only way it works between a fighter and promoter.
Oscar: This is the perfect example of how a fighter and a promoter can work together. In order for a fighter to become great in this landscape, and execute on his vision, while trying to leave behind a legacy. That is not something that can be built going fight to fight. There is a long-term plan at work here, looking to bring a vision to fruition. That vision is for Canelo to be one of the greatest the sport has seen.