Golovkin fight about more than money – Al­varez

Mex­i­can aims to make a po­lit­i­cal point when he fights in the US tonight, writes Gareth A Davies

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Boxing -

Saul “Canelo” Al­varez may have Gen­nady Golovkin stand­ing in his way in tonight’s mid­dleweight ti­tle fight in Las Ve­gas, but it is an al­to­gether more pow­er­ful op­po­nent for whom the Mex­i­can is re­serv­ing most of his anger – Don­ald Trump.

Ten days ago, the United States pres­i­dent con­tro­ver­sially scrapped Barack Obama’s so-called “Dream­ers” pro­gramme, set up to pre­vent the de­por­ta­tion of nearly 800,000 mi­grant chil­dren who had been brought into the coun­try with­out doc­u­ments by their par­ents. The ma­jor­ity are of Mex­i­can her­itage. Obama’s plan had helped hun­dreds of thou­sands gain le­gal sta­tus, work per­mits and driv­ing li­cences. Its re­moval by Trump has caused out­rage.

A long line of Mex­i­can box­ers have fought in the United States, bring­ing mil­lions into the econ­omy and tonight’s con­test is no dif­fer­ent. It is ex­pected to gross about $120mil­lion (£88mil­lion) through tele­vi­sion sub­scrip­tions and gate re­ceipts at the T-mo­bile Arena. The flame-haired, 27-yearold Al­varez, whose nick­name Canelo is the Span­ish word for cin­na­mon, is among the most im­pres­sive fight­ers to come from south of the bor­der, but he can­not hide his dis­may at Trump’s move.

“It’s very dif­fi­cult for me to dis­cuss this and think about this be­cause, it’s a very sad sit­u­a­tion,” he said. “Ob­vi­ously the Mex­i­cans have con­trib­uted a lot to this coun­try. It’s a po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion af­fect­ing the dreams of so many peo­ple. Strug­gling and fight­ing against pol­i­tics is much more dif­fi­cult than fight­ing in the ring. I have my spirit with those peo­ple that are strug­gling in this sit­u­a­tion and my mes­sage is, don’t give up. I’m here to sup­port and urge all those to keep go­ing and keep pur­su­ing their dreams in the US.”

His words were echoed by his pro­moter, Os­car de la Hoya, who holds dual Amer­i­can-mex­i­can cit­i­zen­ship, and who won Olympic gold for the United States in Barcelona in 1992, be­fore be­com­ing a six-weight pro­fes­sional world cham­pion.

“If Trump wants to come and watch and en­joy a great fight among his own peo­ple on Mex­i­can In­de­pen­dence weekend he should make him­self avail­able and sup­port what Amer­ica is all about – di­ver­sity and unity,” said De la Hoya. “These two box­ers are fight­ing for more than a win, more than just a belt, they are fight­ing for what is right. A lot of ‘Dream­ers’ are go­ing to be wit­ness­ing this fight. Trump is di­vid­ing not only fam­i­lies, but peo­ple’s dreams.”

Eric Gomez, pres­i­dent of Golden Boy Pro­mo­tions, is also out­raged. “This coun­try is made up of im­mi­grants and that is what the Amer­i­can dream is all about. Look what we have here – two for­eign­ers, fight­ing in Las Ve­gas, in one of the big­gest sport­ing events of the year, gen­er­at­ing huge in­come.”

Al­varez said his con­test with Kaza­khstan-born Golovkin, who pos­sesses ter­ri­fy­ing power in both hands, would be “a great fight for fans of box­ing” be­cause they are both all-ac­tion fight­ers and added: “I’m hop­ing that Gen­nady brings out the best in me. That’s what will get the fans riled up.”

Golovkin, 35, has stopped 33 of his 37 op­po­nents and Al­varez knows the size of the task. “We know he has power so it is not just early that I need to be care­ful of the dan­gers. And that’s kind of the game plan – be­ing aware the en­tire 12 rounds as they un­fold.”

De La Hoya, de­lighted that the 20,000 seats for tonight had sold out in­side two weeks, said: “These are two of the top pound-for­pound fight­ers on the planet. This event needs no hype what­so­ever. They are at the peak of their ca­reers, Canelo has power, speed, foot­work. Golovkin is an un­de­feated cham­pion, with great power. It’s hard to re­mem­ber when we have wit­nessed this type of matchup. It’s a throw­back, back to Marvin Ha­gler, to Thomas Hearns.

We are still talk­ing about that event. I hope our kids will talk about Golovkin v Canelo 20 years from now. That’s the kind of fight we have on our hands.”

The only de­feat in Al­varez’s 51-fight ca­reer was against Floyd May­weather Jr four years ago. “This fight has the same mag­ni­tude as my May­weather fight or even more so, yet it’s com­pletely dif­fer­ent be­cause of our styles,” Al­varez ex­plained. “This will be a bru­tal, vi­cious fight and I’m ready.”

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