Canelo, pro­moter and that sync­ing feel­ing

De La Hoya and fighter have been stick­ing to plan, and now Golovkin awaits.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Lance Pug­mire

BRIS­TOL, Conn. — Canelo Al­varez’s head­strong ap­proach to­ward con­trol over his box­ing ca­reer and Os­car De La Hoya’s in­ter­est as a pro­moter in max­i­miz­ing rev­enue have at times re­sulted in con­flict.

While Al­varez, a for­mer two-di­vi­sion cham­pion, in­sisted for more than a year that he was ready to fight Gen­nady Golovkin, De La Hoya main­tained that his 26-year-old fighter needed time be­fore he was en­tirely com­fort­able at 160 pounds. But the pro­moter also worked shrewdly to am­plify public an­tic­i­pa­tion for the meet­ing.

Last week, De La Hoya sur­prised his fighter when he told re­porters on a four-stop in­ter­na­tional press tour that the Sept. 16 bout be­tween Al­varez (49-1-1, 34 knock­outs) and three-belt mid­dleweight cham­pion Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) at TMo­bile Arena in Las Ve­gas likely would gen­er­ate a tril­ogy. Al­varez gri­maced at that idea.

“No, there’s only go­ing to be one,” Al­varez said in Span­ish last week. “That’s how dom­i­nant I feel I’m go­ing to be.”

De La Hoya, who served as in­ter­preter dur­ing that con­ver­sa­tion, shrugged at Al­varez’s re­sponse, sat­is­fied at least in his boxer’s con­fi­dence.

“That’s how he feels,” De La Hoya said.

In Oc­to­ber 2015, De La Hoya felt far dif­fer­ently about how any fighter would fare against Golovkin, the cham­pion from Kaza­khstan

who has won 18 con­sec­u­tive mid­dleweight ti­tle fights and had knocked out 23 con­sec­u­tive foes be­fore go­ing the dis­tance with co-World Box­ing Assn. cham­pion Daniel Ja­cobs in March.

One of Golovkin’s knock­out vic­tims dur­ing his streak was Cana­dian David Lemieux, an­other De La Hoy­apro­moted fighter.

Golovkin found Lemieux of­ten with his de­struc­tive punches, and they ul­ti­mately led to a tech­ni­cal knock­out. In the post-fight scene, the blood ap­peared en­tirely drained from De La Hoya’s face.

His stunned ex­pres­sion that night fore­told his pause, as he failed to book Al­varez against Golovkin a year ago in May, even after his fighter de­feated Miguel Cotto in Novem­ber 2015.

In­stead, as Golovkin and fight fans crit­i­cized Al­varez and De La Hoya, Al­varez knocked out for­mer 140pound cham­pion Amir Khan in an­other 155-pound fight in May 2016, then beat 154-pound cham­pion Liam Smith be­fore more than 50,000 at AT&T Sta­dium out­side Dal­las.

While promis­ing to fight Golovkin, Al­varez then took on ri­val coun­try­man Julio Ce­sar Chavez Jr. in a 164pound fight in May and won ev­ery round in tak­ing a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion.

De La Hoya dis­agreed with the per­cep­tion that he was hold­ing back a fighter who as­pired to im­me­di­ately meet Golovkin’s chal­lenge.

“No, you’re wrong. Noth­ing like that hap­pened,” De La Hoya said.

Al­varez spoke an­i­mat­edly on the sub­ject, raising his voice to em­pha­size his think­ing dur­ing the time when Golovkin ac­cused him of duck­ing.

“I wanted the fight, but this is a team and it’s not ‘I,’ it’s the whole team,” Al­varez said. “Ev­ery­body is im­por­tant. Also, a con­tract had to be done. Ev­ery­body has to be happy and ac­cept­ing. And now it’s done.”

As a fighter, De La Hoya rou­tinely sought the big­gest names of­fer­ing the great­est purses, par­tic­u­larly later in his ca­reer.

From that ex­pe­ri­ence, De La Hoya’s at­ten­tion to ca­reer tim­ing im­proved, and Al­varez said he ap­pre­ci­ates that knowl­edge, say­ing it’s one of the main rea­sons De La Hoya is his pro­moter.

“One hun­dred per­cent,” Al­varez said in English.

De La Hoya was bom­barded for be­ing over­pro­tec­tive of his great­est rev­enue pro­ducer dur­ing the preGolovkin sign­ing.

“What’s most im­por­tant is that Canelo was still fight­ing at 154,” De La Hoya said. “That’s very, very im­por­tant. As a team, we have a plan. Ev­ery­body else [might] not be happy with our plan, but as long as we’re in sync, that’s what mat­ters. Canelo knows his body. We know when he’s ready.

“Does he want to fight ev­ery­body and be the best? Yes, that’s who he is. But we as a team chose to make this fight hap­pen in Septem­ber of this year.”

Al­varez said go­ing up in weight was never a con­cern, and that he has al­ways cho­sen to do what was best for his ca­reer.

“[Golovkin is] the one who had to worry about me,” he said. “I’m go­ing into 160 now and I’m fight­ing the best at 160. I’m do­ing what I al­ways said: ‘I want to fight the best.’ ”

De La Hoya, the “Golden Boy” 1992 Olympic cham­pion from East Los An­ge­les, said Al­varez is act­ing no dif­fer­ently than he did when he was nav­i­gat­ing his own ca­reer.

“When you’re the at­trac­tion, you’re the su­per­star, you call the shots,” De La Hoya said. “Canelo’s al­ways had his ca­reer right on track. The fact that ev­ery­one’s al­ways wanted to call him out doesn’t mean he has to go and oblige it by their rules.

“His ca­reer is his ca­reer. Let ev­ery­one else worry about him. He doesn’t have to worry about any­one else.”

Armed by that wis­dom and phi­los­o­phy at age 26 helps make Al­varez a dif­fer­ent breed than even De La Hoya, who ad­mit­ted that out­side-the-ring dis­trac­tions such as women and par­ty­ing short­ened his ca­reer, which at the end was marked by losses to Shane Mosley, Bernard Hop­kins and Manny Pac­quiao.

When De La Hoya first signed Al­varez, he vowed to urge the fighter — who has been a pro since age 15 — to ad­here to a straight-and­nar­row path.

“That’s what he’s do­ing,” De La Hoya said. “He’s a smart man who knows what he wants.”

Al­varez said he ap­pre­ci­ates the in­sight that comes from his pro­moter’s ex­pe­ri­ences — good and bad.

“He’s a for­mer world cham­pion who stepped in the ring in the big­gest fights pos­si­ble, some­one who knows ev­ery­thing I’m go­ing through,” Al­varez said. “No other pro­moter can sit down and talk and tell me what they know like that.”

Tie that in with Al­varez’s loy­alty to his orig­i­nal train­ers, Eddy and Chepo Reynoso, and there’s a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing why Al­varez is thought to be un­der con­tract with Golden Boy Pro­mo­tions through 2020.

“We al­ways have been [strongly con­nected] and there’s never been a prob­lem,” De La Hoya said. “It’s all about do­ing the job cor­rectly, be­ing loyal, do­ing the right thing for the fighter. That’s why I be­came a pro­moter, to do the right thing. Any­body can spec­u­late or say any­thing they want [about us], but we’re as good as gold.”

Said Al­varez: “We’re now weeks away from this fight. … I’m very, very ex­cited, some­what ob­sessed.

“My team and I have come to the con­clu­sion that this is 14 years of hard work that’s go­ing to pay off on Sept. 16.”

Sean M. Haf­fey Getty Images

CANELO AL­VAREZ, left, has “al­ways had his ca­reer right on track,” says Os­car De La Hoya, who knows some­thing about suc­cess in the box­ing ring.

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