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
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.”