When Canelo Alvarez defends the undisputed super middleweight title against Gennadiy Golovkin in their third fight he’ll be trying to recapture some lost swagger.
The reason? Alvarez is coming off a loss and looking to rebound when he faces Golovkin on Saturday (DAZN PPV and PPV.com, 8 p.m. ET) at T-Mobile Arena.
In May, also at T-Mobile Arena, Alvarez moved up in weight and challenged light heavyweight titlist Dmitry Bivol, who outpointed him in an upset and knocked him from his perch as boxing’s pound-for-pound king.
Rather than invoke his contractual right to an immediate rematch, Alvarez opted to again finally face GGG, with whom he already had an agreement, for the third time.
So, Alvarez is returning to super middleweight and Golovkin, the unified middleweight titleholder, is moving up to challenge him in a long-anticipated trilogy bout. But it will be the first time Alvarez will enter the ring coming off a defeat.
The four-division champion had not lost since dropping a clear decision in a junior middleweight championship fight almost a decade ago to then-pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather on Sept. 14, 2013 at the MGM Grand.
Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs), 32, of Mexico, claims he quickly put the loss behind him and did not dwell on it.
“Nobody wants to lose, nobody likes to lose,” he said. “I feel a lot of pain because I lost. I don’t want to lose. But it is what it is and you move forward. That’s life. It makes me more hungry, more dangerous.
“You take the risk, you take the best fights out there, the hard fights out there, and you maybe lose one day. But I’m happy doing these kinds of fights because it makes me feel good. I think my legacy is growing with these kinds of fights. But I learned a lot and I don’t feel ashamed of that (loss).”
“With Bivol, I’m in my prime. Unfortunately, I have a lot of things (going on) in my training camp but it is what it is,” Alvarez said without elaborating. “I lost but I’m gonna have my chance I think in the near future (for a rematch). The difference is I’m in my prime when I lost with Bivol, but not in my weight class. But I think I can beat him easy. But things happen and I take that like experience.
“I won the first five, six rounds but then I get tired. That’s what happened. But he’s not better than me.”
“I really wanted the rematch but (Matchroom Boxing promoter) Eddie (Hearn) said we have a contract to fight Golovkin and we need to do that fight. So, that is why we are here and I am happy,” said Alvarez, who could have overruled Hearn in favor of the rematch. “I really wanted it. My team and I decided to fight Golovkin.”
Still, it could happen in the future.
“He needs to win (against Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez on Nov. 5) but I want it,” Alvarez said. “I think we need to see what happens I that fight with Zurdo. I want (Mexican countryman) Zurdo Ramirez to win. We’ll see. I am 100 percent focused on this fight (with GGG) and then we’ll see.”
Alvarez said he uses the defeat as a life example for his children, daughters Emily Cinnamon, 14 and Maria Fernanda, 4, and son Saul Adiel, 4.
“I always say to my kids it’s not the end of the world if you lose,” Alvarez said. “You are in a sport. You can win, you can lose, but it’s not the end of the world. You need to keep going and keep fighting and you’re gonna be the best one day.”
“My daughters, my boy always say, ‘You win, you’re the best.’ That motivates me because they know how hard their dad works. They understand and they always support me.”
Alvarez’s son is a toddler but has already shown interest in boxing and goes to the gym with him.
“He’s a little boy but he wants to be a boxer, but let’s see what happens in the future,” Alvarez said. “I’m his hero. I’m his idol and that makes me feel happy and motivated because I put in his mind discipline, hard work, goals, dreams, so I feel good.
“He’s young and maybe he changes his mind, but if he wants to be a boxer I need to support him, right? If he wants to be a champion he has to train like he’s a champion. Just because his dad is a champion doesn’t mean you’re gonna be a champion. It’s not that way. You need to train and have that talent to be a boxer, to be a good boxer.”
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Although Alvarez accepted the loss to Bivol as he did with the loss to Mayweather, he is thinking only victory against Golovkin.
“I can’t lose. I can’t lose,” he said. “This fight is gonna be a big win for me. I think it’s gonna be hard fight. I think it’s gonna be hard fight every single round but I’m gonna end the fight in the last rounds — nine, 10, 11, around that.”
He wants to knock out Golovkin and even said he wants to end his career because he remains mad at him for what believes has been the disrespect of saying unflattering things about him behind his back but never to his face. He is not even sure he will shake GGG’s hand after Saturday’s fight.
“I don’t know. I don’t know because in the second fight we did that and I think everything’s good and then after the fight, he starts talking about me,” Alvarez said. “So, on my side all was good and I always respect my opponents before and after, but on this occasion I don’t know.”
— MOS20 (@MOS2k20) September 18, 2022
Canelo just dominating GGG! pic.twitter.com/SqWqY0iJHp
— Odds Shark (@OddsShark) September 18, 2022
— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) September 18, 2022