'For me, it's personal': Canelo Alvarez opens up about loss of respect for Gennady Golovkin

Kevin Iole
Combat columnist
Canelo Alvarez poses in the lobby of the MGM Grand hotel-casino in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018. (AP)

LAS VEGAS – Canelo Alvarez’s failed drug tests from February weren’t the result of just one meal, Alvarez said Tuesday in a scrum with reporters at the MGM Grand, but came as a result of living in Mexico.

Alvarez, the linear middleweight champion who will face WBA-WBC champion Gennady Golovkin in a mega-dollar pay-per-view showdown on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, said he only lives in the U.S. when he is training for a fight and he relocates to San Diego.

Otherwise, he spends all his time in Mexico, and that led to several occasions where he ate beef prior to being drug tested.

“Look, I spend all of my time in Mexico,” Alvarez said, via an interpreter. “That’s where I reside. It’s where I live and it’s where I spend all of my time with my family.”

And so he ate beef as a part of his everyday life.

“When I was in Mexico, I wasn’t on a diet, I wasn’t training, I wasn’t doing anything and so I ate beef maybe two times a week. In Mexico, as I now know unfortunately, I have to stop doing that because of what happened.”

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Each fighter met with reporters for about 30 minutes on Tuesday and the dislike that has developed between them was a major topic. Asked if the fight had become personal, Golovkin said it was just business.

Alvarez, though, would have none of that.

“I don’t know what he wants,” Alvarez said. “I don’t know what he’s thinking. I don’t know what kind of business he wants with that. But for me, personally, it’s personal. This has become personal. It’s personal for me because of all he said, but it’s served as a great motivation for me for this fight on Saturday.”

Golovkin wasn’t in a particularly expansive mood on Tuesday, but Alvarez sure was. Golovkin mostly repeated what he’d said over the six months since news of Alvarez’s positive test became public.

Asked what Alvarez did better than he expected in their first fight, which was a controversial split draw on Sept. 16, 2017, Golovkin grinned and said, “Yes.”

After a pause for comedic effect, he said, “He ran.”

WBA-WBC middleweight champ Gennady Golovkin smiles after arriving at the MGM Grand hotel-casino in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018. (AP)

Earlier in the conversation, Golovkin made a much more serious accusation, though one he’d made previously. He said people had sent him photos of Alvarez from their first fight in which it show what Golovkin called “needle marks” all over Alvarez’s body. It would be significant for any reason if what he saw was actually needle marks, but given that Alvarez has failed a drug test in February, it gains added significance.

“You couldn’t deny there were some injection marks on this guy,” Golovkin said. “His arm had some injection marks. I don’t know what the injection marks were evidence of, but right now, it’s the last thing I’m worried about.”

[Related: GGG already looks like a winner in rematch vs. Canelo]

Pressed about where he saw the marks on Alvarez’s body, Golovkin said “Everywhere. His biceps, his stomach. Pretty much everywhere. All over his body were the injection marks.”

That didn’t sit well with Alvarez, who scoffed when he was asked about it.

This might have been the most honest and direct Alvarez, with English-speaking reporters at least, in the seven years that he’s been a major figure in boxing. He didn’t duck any questions and took them on directly.

“Those are the kicks and screams of someone who is drowning,” Alvarez said of Golovkin’s allegations of needle marks on his body in the first fight. “Those are excuses that they’re making for what is coming this Saturday, which is a loss for them. I’ve been monitored for most of my career. I’ve been monitored by VADA since 2011. If I’d have had something, the authorities would have picked it up. Basically, it’s an excuse.”

Alvarez admitted he’d lost respect for Golovkin as a result of what transpired in the year since they first met.

“I made a [180-degree] change, a radical change,” Alvarez said of his relationship with his opponent. “You’ll see that in the ring on Saturday. Those stupid things he’s saying? I’m using them as motivation in my training for this fight.”

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