LOS ANGELES – Former two-division world champion and current Lineal and Ring Magazine titlist Canelo Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) hosted an international conference call ahead of his highly anticipated showdown against WBC/WBA/IBF/IBO Middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) during Mexican Independence Day weekend Saturday, Sept. 16 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. CEO and Chairman of Golden Boy Promotions Oscar De La Hoya, Manager and Trainer Jose “Chepo” Reynoso, and Head Trainer Eddy Reynoso were also a part of today’s international conference call, and shared their thoughts on the mega-fight. “Supremacy,” the showdown that will determine who is the king of the middleweight division, will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT.
Here is what Canelo Alvarez, Oscar De La Hoya, Jose “Chepo” Reynoso and Eddy Reynoso said during today’s call:
OSCAR DE LA HOYA, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions: Thank you very much. Thank you to all the media that have dialed in today for the Canelo Alvarez International Media Conference Call. The middleweight fight for supremacy between lineal and Ring Magazine Middleweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez and the WBC, IBO, IBF, WBA Middleweight World Champion, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, is Saturday, September 16, live at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and this will be televised on the best network for boxing, HBO Pay Per View. We are obviously extremely pleased with all the fans who have bought their tickets, who have made this event a sold-out event in only two weeks. Obviously it shows you the anticipation and it shows you the interest that the fans have for this event.
Today we will hear from Canelo Alvarez and his team. You will have the opportunity to ask questions ahead of his upcoming battle against GGG. This is by far the biggest boxing event of 2017, and we are expecting a nonstop action fight between two of the most skilled fighters in the sport today. The response to this fight has been incredible. Like I said, tickets have sold out quickly and the fans can’t wait to celebrate on this special day of Mexican independence weekend and this epic battle.
Like I said, you will hear from the fighter momentarily, Canelo Alvarez. I am extremely proud and happy to have Tecate as the primary sponsor, BORN BOLD, Hennessy, Never Stop, Never Settle and O’Reilly Auto Parts, Fred Loya Insurance, Fathom Events, Tsesnabank and Capital Holdings. We are extremely proud to have them on board as sponsors. Thank you for all your support. And before I turn it over to Team Canelo, I want to remind everyone to mark their calendars for the first episode of 24/7 Canelo/Golovkin which premiers Saturday August 26th on HBO, immediately following the Cotto vs. Kamegai Live World Championship Boxing Double Header from the StubHub Center that’ll take place at 9:45 PM eastern.
Now, up next we will hear from Team Canelo Alvarez. He is the manager and trainer of Canelo Alvarez, Jose “Chepo” Reynoso.
JOSE “CHEPO” REYNOSO, Manager and Trainer of Canelo Alvarez: Hi, good morning to everybody. We’re excited about the fight. We’re close, coming close to the fight. Obviously preparation for the fight and the training camp is going as planned. We’re expecting an intense fight. And that’s what we’re working towards. So thank you, and we’re available for any questions.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Thank you. Thank you very much. Next up is the trainer of Canelo Alvarez, who has been doing an incredible job over the last few years. He is the head trainer, and that is Eddy Reynoso to say a few words. Eddy?
EDDY REYNOSO, Head Trainer of Canelo Alvarez: Good afternoon. Good morning, actually to everyone. Very excited, very happy with preparation. We’re marching slowly towards the fight. And everything is going as planned. And we’re very excited obviously. The fight is getting close and as we get closer there’s more excitement. But we’re working hard and everything is going as planned.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Thank you, Eddy. And now to introduce a young man at the age of 27 years old. He has already accomplished more than most fighters will achieve in their entire career. He is a two-time, two-division world champion at both junior middleweight and middleweight levels. He has raised his hands 49 times in victory with 34 knockouts. He has taken on some of the toughest challenges in his young career, including the likes of Miguel Cotto and Austin Trout and James Kirkland, Erislandy Lara, Floyd Mayweather, Amir Khan. And with that, he is now taking on the toughest challenge of his entire career in Gennady Golovkin on September 16th, which is sure to be a can’t-miss candidate for Fight of the Year. It is my pleasure to introduce to you Canelo Alvarez.
CANELO ALVAREZ, Former Two-division World Champion: Good morning to everybody. Very excited. Very happy to be on this call. Obviously ready for this next fight that’s in front of me, preparing well. And ready to give you guys a great fight. So thank you for being on the call.
Q. Canelo, you have a lot of knockouts in your career, some very sensational ones like against James Kirkland and Amir Khan. But going into the fight, it seems like Gennady is known as a really big puncher because he has such a huge knockout streak, and I’m wondering do you think that maybe Gennady and his team or perhaps the fans underestimate the punching power that you bring into this kind of fight?
CANELO ALVAREZ: No. I don’t think they’re underestimating my power. I think both the fans know and you guys know that the styles, we both have attractive styles. And we’re both going to fight a fight where anybody can win by knockout. We both have the power to win by knockout. But that’s what makes for a great fight, and I think that’s what makes it an attractive fight for the fans.
Q. I know that Gennady has never been knocked down in his career. I don’t believe that Canelo has been knocked down, maybe rocked a couple of times, but never on the deck to my knowledge. Does he think that because of the punching power that both of these guys have, that there may come a time in this fight where one or both of them may be on the floor?
CANELO ALVAREZ: Obviously anything can happen in boxing. Anything can happen at any point, at any time, more so when both fighters can punch, when they both have punching power. You know, you can have a fighter that might not be a big puncher, but if he connects that perfect punch at the right spot, he can knock down anybody. So yes, of course it can happen. It can happen because of the amount of punching power both fighters have.
Q. This is easiest the biggest middleweight championship fight in a long time. I think of past big fights the last 20 years, let’s say, Oscar’s fights; Oscar’s fight with Hopkins, Bernard’s fight with Trinidad, Canelo’s fight with Miguel Cotto, Hagler-Hearns, going back a little bit further. I want to know from Canelo how much does he know about the history of the middleweight division and where does he view this fight sort of in that great list of the big middleweight championship fights that we’ve seen in this sport over the years.
CANELO ALVAREZ: Yes, without a doubt this can be one of the best fights in history. On paper obviously it’s going to rival some of those big fights that you mentioned, but it really depends how the fight comes out, how it pans out. I’m going to do my part to make it memorable so I can go down in history as one of the best fights. I know that for sure. I’m going to do my part. But yeah, it can easily be considered one of the best fights in history.
Q. Does this fight have the ingredients to possibly be the biggest fight, the best fight ever in the history of Mexican boxing, before and after?
CANELO ALVAREZ: Yes. You know, obviously, there’s been many great historic Mexican fights with Mexican fighters. In this fight, yeah, it’s on that caliber. Can it be the best? Well, it really depends how the fight comes out. But yes, the ingredients are there, so it could be a great fight.
Q. Obviously some of the great fights in Mexican history, Chavez over Meldrick Taylor ended up in a knockout. Salvador Sanchez over Wilfredo Gomez ended up in a knockout. Marquez-Pacquiao ended up in a knockout. Those are some of the most historic victories for Mexican fighters. Obviously you want to win the fight, but do you want to try to win by knockout?
CANELO ALVAREZ: Obviously any fighter dreams of winning by knockout. And that’s what the fans want to see and that’s what makes for an exciting fight and that’s what makes for a resounding fight, a resounding experience for the fans. And there’s no question with the victory, yes, of course. Of course I would want to win by knockout.
Q. You’re in training camp, and you guys are obviously concentrating. This is a big, big event, huge fight. How do you guys deal with not distracting yourself from the magnitude of the fight, doing different things to keep your mind occupied, not just concentrating on Golovkin 100 percent of the time? Is there other things you guys do for distractions?
CANELO ALVAREZ: Yeah, we do a little bit of everything. We sing. We joke around in camp. We like baseball. We go to baseball games. We’re doing what we like. We ask for these fights. These are the fights we want, so we’re enjoying the moment. But I can tell you one thing that there isn’t. There isn’t any fear. There isn’t any fear whatsoever because we’re ready for this fight. We asked for it; this is what we wanted.
Q. As Oscar mentioned, you’ve taken on some of the toughest challenges in boxing. It’s been nearly four years since your fight against Floyd Mayweather. How have you changed as a fighter since that bout?
CANELO ALVAREZ: Yeah, I’ve definitely learned a lot. I have more experience now. I feel more confident. I’m more of a mature fighter now. Obviously not just that fight, but the fights that followed have got me to this point. But yes, I’ve changed and I learned from it, and I just feel I’m more of a complete fighter now. I have more experience, and the confidence is probably the one thing that I can point out the most.
Q. So in that fight what did Floyd do to take you out of your initial game plan and how would you anticipate, you know, if Golovkin does the same thing, how would you adjust to that?
CANELO ALVAREZ: Obviously in that fight with Floyd, I think the only reason he beat me was because of experience. He had more experience. He had more championship fights under his belt. And this fight, it’s going to be different. I have a lot of experience now. And I’m not going to let that happen again in this fight because I have more confidence and I have more experience.
Q. Obviously you’re talking about experience, you have more experience now. You’ve had more fights — you’ve had many fights, in Las Vegas. Do you think that that’s going to help you? Is that one of your strengths going into this fight that you have more experience fighting in Las Vegas?
CANELO ALVAREZ: No. I don’t think that’s an advantage fighting in Vegas. When you’re fighting a veteran like Golovkin, a professional champion like Golovkin, you know, having more fights in Las Vegas is not an advantage. He’s going to be ready to fight and he’ll be ready to fight anywhere. So I don’t think it’s an advantage.
Q. Chepo, did you guys pick up any weaknesses, anything you can talk about from Golovkin’s last fight with Jacobs? Any weaknesses you guys can exploit?
JOSE “CHEPO” REYNOSO: Yes. There’s some things. There’s some things that we noticed, the things that we’ve always noticed about him. He’s got some weaknesses and that’s what we’re looking towards. We’re looking to exploit them on September 16th. But that’s the reason why we’ve studied him and we’ve been working on that.
Q. Canelo, I had some conversations with Mauricio Sulaiman at the WBC, and I know he really wanted his belt to be on the line and for you to be fighting for that belt. I know at this point you’ve decided not to do that. Can you explain why? And I know, Eric, I mean you guys have tried to help mediate the situation. Is there any chance that at the end of the day the WBC belt will be on the line with Canelo embracing it?
CANELO ALVAREZ: I’ve already talked about that. I’ve already talked about that and I’ve already commented about that. So whatever I said in the past, it’s the same thing.
Q. Oscar, I asked Canelo about his perspective on the magnitude of this fight within the great history of the middleweight championship fights. You obviously had one of the biggest middleweight fights in boxing when you faced off against Bernard Hopkins, and I know you obviously promoted the Canelo fight with Miguel Cotto and that sort of thing. I wondered if you could just give me your perspective on the magnitude of this fight in the great pantheon of these middleweight championship fights that have taken place over the last 20 years or so?
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: By far this is the biggest — probably in the history of the middleweight division.
Q. Bigger than Hagler-Hearns? Bigger than those types of fights?
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: I mean obviously we have to wait for the actual fight to see what unfolds and takes place, but in terms of magnitude, in terms of PR, in terms of attention that it’s receiving, in terms of people that will be watching, yeah, this has to be the biggest. And obviously we will have to wait until September 16th to see if it’s going to be the best, which I think it will be, in the history of the middleweight division. But it has all the ingredients to unfold to be one of the best fights in the last 30 years. So you know, obviously the indications tell us that this will be a huge block buster.
Q. Oscar, can you also talk about the fact that since you participated yourself in so many huge fights in your career and this is, I guess other than when Canelo fought Floyd, this will be his biggest fight besides that one. That was obviously a really big fight. It was record breaking at the time. In just a nutshell, what is it like for the athlete to participate in such a gigantic event like this? I mean there’s all this stuff leading up to the fight; then there’s the fight itself with the limelight and everything. Can you just talk about just the emotional aspect of being involved in such a mega event?
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: For the athlete it’s exciting because you can once again showcase your talents in front of a larger audience. So it obviously gives you the motivation to train harder, train smarter and do the very best up in the ring.
All the publicity, everything that’s going around the whole event, for an athlete you don’t really pay attention to it. You try not to pay attention to it. You just let it unfold on its own. You have people taking care of that side of the business. But from an athlete’s perspective, it’s just extra motivating to go out there and showcase your talent.
Q. Some years back you sparred with Golovkin. You guys were in training camp. You guys sparred together. Did you learn anything from that back then? Was there anything that you were able to pick up back then that’s going to help you?
CANELO ALVAREZ: Yes. I was able to pick up some things. But you can’t really compare a sparring session to a fight. There are some things that I was able to pick up. But we’re different now. We’re different fighters now, and you can’t really base everything on what you learned in a sparring session. Yes, there are some things that I picked up, but obviously, you know, I’m not basing everything on that.
Q. Obviously this is a big fight, a lot of pressure in this fight, a lot of stress, pressure. You’re very young. You’re very young, but you have a lot of experience. And you’re very mature boxing wise. How do you prepare yourself, your mind, with all of this? Is it pressure? Is it good? Is it bad? There’s a lot of pressure in this fight.
CANELO ALVAREZ: No. Obviously I’m doing something that I wanted. I’m doing something that I asked for, that I like. And I’ve always pictured myself or imagined myself being one of the best fighters and being in big fights. I have a lot of experience. I’ve been in big fights already. I could have never imagined the magnitude that it’s gotten to, but I’ve always wanted this. I’ve always wanted to be in big fights and the biggest challenges. So for me it’s something that I was asking for and that I wanted, and I’m ready for it. It’s no real pressure.
Q. Earlier you were saying that you want to do your part to make the fight one of the best ever. What does that entail exactly? Does that mean pressuring more and opening up? What do you expect?
CANELO ALVAREZ: Give the best of me, the best possible part of me that I can give in that fight, whether it means throwing more punches, attacking more. Whatever it’s going to take to win the fight, but to make it memorable and exciting, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to give all of me, whatever I have to do.
Q. Oscar, obviously there is a lot of stories out there and rumors about how the Mayweather fight with McGregor was going to affect the PayPerView, Canelo’s PayPerView with Golovkin. But obviously lately there’s been a lot of bad write- ups and criticisms towards that fight, and they’re struggling with a lot of the business part of the fight. Do you think that you know, do you think that it’s going to affect you guys in any way or does it make your event even better now?
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: We’re concentrating on our fight. We’re concentrating on our event, our fight. Obviously we have the real fight. We have a serious fight. This is a serious fight, a serious event. Two of the best fighters fighting each other. And I think that the fans have recognized that. And they’ve recognized that, and so have the sponsors and a lot of the media people. They’ve recognized that this is the real fight. This is the fight that they want to be at. This is the fight that they want to see. A clear indication is we sold out in ten days. And I feel like that the fans are recognizing that this is the fight that is the real fight. And that’s what they want.
Q. This early out before the fight, how is your weight? What are you weighing more or less? And do you feel a difference from the Chavez fight? Do you feel maybe a speed difference or maybe more power, more punching power?
CANELO ALVAREZ: No. I feel really good. Everything is going great. Everything is going as planned. I feel really, really good. My speed is still there. I still have the same speed. If anything, I feel maybe a little stronger. Even the exercises and the preparation, I feel a little bit stronger, a little more power in my punches. But I’m maintaining my weight, right around 172, 175, around there. That’s what I train at. And I’m feeling really good.
Q. Canelo, not to kind of stay on the Mayweather-McGregor train, but last year he did call you out for specifically shying away from the GGG fight, which is now happening, and you told him anytime he wants to come to your world he can do it. Many don’t think it’s going to happen. Should Conor shock the world on the 26th and should he find he has a newfound passion for boxing after pulling off the upset of the century and beating Floyd, would you be open to fighting him if that’s something Conor wanted to do?
ERIC GOMEZ: Was it Conor that criticized him a year ago or was it Floyd?
Q. No. It was Conor. And then Canelo said if he wants to try out boxing, then anytime you want.
CANELO ALVAREZ: If that miracle was to happen, then it’s a different conversation. You know, if that miracle was to happen. But I doubt it very much.
Q. Oscar, earlier in the call it was asked of Canelo and he talked about the improvements that he made since the Mayweather fight, that that was a big learning experience and his only defeat. And I wanted to know from you if you could talk about the types of improvements that you have seen from Canelo when you watched him work or talked with him or talked with him about what he plans to do in this particular fight. He’s obviously a few years older now, obviously more experienced. He’s put on a little bit of weight. What improvements do you see from Canelo Alvarez?
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Yes. Well, obviously Canelo is an ambitious person, ambitious fighter. Yes, he did take that fight too soon, but the progress that he has made has been incredible. I mean in terms of his punching power, his boxing abilities, you know, him doing his combinations. His jab has improved tremendously. And it’s only the beginning. I strongly feel that he’s only getting better at what he’s doing. And that’s a testament to his corner, to his trainers. They’re doing a phenomenal job with him, and it’s a testament to Canelo, Canelo wanting to become the very best at the end of the day.
Q. Are you there, Eddy or Chepo? I was wondering if you could ask, Eric, them what Oscar was just talking about. Just if they could pinpoint some of the things specifically that they have worked on and the improvements that they believe Canelo has made since his one loss to Floyd, which is probably like four or five years ago.
EDDY REYNOSO: There’s so many things, the experience that he gained from the fight. There’s so many things. There’s not one specific thing in general. But he’s more of a complete fighter. But the experience was a big part of it that he learned, and he got a lot of experience out of that fight, and there’s different things that we’ve worked on in the gym. But he’s more of a complete fighter now. And he’s 100 percent of a different fighter than the fighter that faced Mayweather that night.
Q. Obviously many consider this as the fight between the two best boxers in the world. Does the winner automatically become the best boxer in the planet?
CANELO ALVAREZ: You know, the fans and a lot of the media people have been saying that. They’re saying that it’s obviously the two best fighters in the world fighting each other. I would agree, and I think that the winner should be recognized as potentially the best fighter in the world.
Q. How do you picture this fight with Golovkin, and what will be the key to victory?
EDDY REYNOSO: It’s going to be a difficult fight. It’s going to be a very hard fight. And that’s what we’re working on, how to figure out how to win the fight. It’s going to be a very hard fight, but one thing is for sure because of the styles, it’s going to be a great fight. And that’s a guarantee.
Q. We learned last week that Juan Manuel Marquez has officially retired. So I’d like to hear, actually from everybody who would like to speak on his legacy in this sport and perhaps where you think Canelo might also fight in the legacy of Mexican boxers down the road, along with Marquez and all the other greats.
EDDY REYNOSO: Obviously we don’t like to make comparisons. We don’t do that. We have our own road that we’re traveling on. And you want to be considered as one of the best fighters in history for Mexico. Marquez was able to accomplish many things after the age of 30. And Saúl just at 27, his young age he’s already accomplished a lot of big things in the sport. We’re concentrating on what we’re doing with Saúl. We’re concentrating on his road to history, and that’s what we’re working on every day.
Q. The last person touched on Manuel Marquez. I don’t know if Canelo is following every little bit of boxing news. But a lot of fighters have been retiring lately. Golovkin is 35. Andre Ward is 33. They are likely not around for all that many more years. And this is over 50 fights now for Canelo in a dozen years. Has he given any thought for how much longer he might be inclined to do this?
CANELO ALVAREZ: Obviously it’s crossed my mind. I’ve thought about it. It’s crossed my mind. But when it crosses my mind, I’m thinking, you know, when I’m 34, 35 years old. I can’t help but think about that. But no, right now, obviously I’m concentrating on fighting. I’m still fighting, and I’m going to keep going. Anything can happen. Your body may not react the same after some time. So that’s yet to be of concern. But as of right now I’m continuing to fight.
Q. Canelo, obviously everyone knows you as Canelo, but in your personal and in your professional life, when you think of yourself, do you think of yourself more as in your personal life more as Saúl or as Canelo – who is the more public persona?
CANELO ALVAREZ: I get called both. A lot of family members and friends they call me Saúl. Sometimes they call me güero, or you know, sometimes they’ll slip and they’ll say Canelo. It doesn’t matter to me. I accept it. I mean I have to accept that. That’s become natural for me. So you know they can call me whatever. But yet, mainly a lot of close friends and family they will refer to me as Saúl.