Canelo Alvarez is a world boxing superstar, a heavyweight champion and a veteran of more than 60 professional bouts.
But he admits this weekend’s fight with Gennadiy Golovkin will be the most personal fight of his career.
“Yeah, I think so,” Alvarez said. “I’ll be very sweet.”
Alvarez and Golovkin have fought twice before in a unified middleweight division. Their first contest of 2017 was a hugely controversial tie. The rematch was postponed when Alvarez received a six-month ban for an adverse drug test, which he blamed on eating contaminated meat.
When the second fight eventually took place in 2018, the Mexican won by majority decision.
As for the two fighters, their work is unfinished. Arriving in Las Vegas for their third fight, which will be contested in the super middleweight division, where Alvarez is already the undisputed champion, Golovkin stated: “It’s not just about me, [it’s] for sports. I want to bring back the position of boxing, I want a pure sport.”
The comments questioning his integrity infuriated Alvarez, who said: “The history we have, after the second fight he said a lot of things about me, so that’s why I take it personally.
“It means a lot because everyone will remember this trilogy, so it means a lot to me.”
Their enmity runs deep. Even his mother “hates Golovkin a lot”.
“You’re going to hear a lot of bad words from my mom in the arena,” Alvarez said with a smile. “But this is, this is my mother.”
Although Golovkin has never been stopped, Alvarez will go for the knockout. “Look, that’s my goal,” said the champion.
“But you never know in boxing. That’s my goal. I’m getting ready for it. But you never know. I’m gonna jump in the ring and fight head on. That is my goal, I will try everything fight to finish the fight before the 12th round. But you never know.”
The Mexican is an incredible puncher and will target Golovkin there. “I think he hurts a lot in the body, so I will work a lot on Saturday,” he said of the Kazakhstani.
“He’s still strong and it’s going to be a good fight,” Alvarez added. “I think this fight will be the best of the three.”
Although he still holds all four major super middleweight titles, Alvarez is coming off a losing streak. In May, he moved 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 learnt a lot [from the Bivol defeat]. I just learned what not to do in my training camp and fight. I learned a lot, you learn from everything.”
He was fighting regularly before this match. One of the lessons he took from the last fight was not to be so active. He won’t be boxing again this year after Golovkin.
“I fought four times in 11 months, so I think my body needs a bit of rest between fights,” he explained. “I have to cut back. My body needs a bit of rest, so I’m going to taper off a bit this year.”
However, Alvarez insists that the loss to Bivolo did not harm his reputation 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.”