It’s personal: Canelo predicts KO in 3rd bout with Golovkin

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Canelo Álvarez is hurting after his first loss in nearly a decade, and he’s still angry about everything that’s happened during five years of fighting and arguing with Gennady Golovkin.

Álvarez says he is determined to channel all of those bad feelings into a spectacular win over Golovkin when they complete their rivalry trilogy on Sept. 17 in Las Vegas.

The Mexican superstar declared his third fight with Golovkin to be a grudge match Friday as they began promoting their showdown with a news conference in Hollywood. Álvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs) was upset by light heavyweight Dmitry Bivol seven weeks ago, but he guaranteed he will “definitely” punch the 40-year-old Golovkin into retirement with a knockout.

“(It will be) so sweet,” Álvarez said. “For me, it’s going to be very satisfying because of everything that’s come around this fight.”

Álvarez’s personal dislike of Golovkin seemed awfully genuine, even while Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KOs) downplayed any personal animus. Neither fighter can deny their rivalry has included years of trash talk, particularly after Canelo’s failed drug test in 2018.

“He always pretends to be a nice guy in front of people, but he’s a (jerk),” Álvarez said. “That’s what he is. I don’t pretend to be nice. This is who I am. I don’t pretend to be another person, and he’s always pretending in front of you, ‘Oh, I’m a nice guy.’ He’s not.”

They’ve also met in two incredibly close fights that stand among the best moments of both fighters’ careers. The first bout in 2017 was ruled a split draw, while Álvarez won the rematch by a narrow majority decision.

Golovkin sought a third fight earlier than Álvarez, but the coronavirus pandemic played a role in Álvarez’s decision to wait four years for the rubber match. Golovkin dismisses Álvarez’s bold statements about a knockout as fight posturing.

“If it’s so personal for him, my question is why was he putting off the (third fight) for so long?” Golovkin asked through his interpreter. “If it’s personal, you should ask him why.”

Álvarez says it’s because of Golovkin’s trash talk, particularly in languages other than English. Golovkin reacted to his 2018 loss with characteristic cool, but he has fought only four times in the ensuing four years while he sought the chance for redemption and the massive payday offered by a third fight with Álvarez.

“From an emotional standpoint, I’ve completely cooled down,” Golovkin claimed. “I believe it’s just another fight. But I was still fighting, and he was participating in golf tournaments. That’s something he should do, but jumping around in weight classes, I don’t know.”

Golovkin’s comment was veiled shade at Álvarez, whose near-daily golf habit became a popular thing to blame for his surprising loss to Bivol last month. Álvarez said he absolutely won’t stop playing golf, but he intends to improve the conditioning that left him visibly wearier as the fight with Bivol went on.

“He always talks about I’m scared, I’m running away,” Álvarez said. “I’m not fighting the best guys out there, (while) he’s fighting those Class D fighters. He’s talking a lot of things about me, so that’s why it’s special to me.”

Golovkin will move up to super middleweight for the first time in his career for the third bout with Álvarez, who holds all four major championship belts at 168 pounds. Golovkin was the long-reigning kingpin of the middleweight division before his loss to Álvarez, but he has since reclaimed two of the belts.

Both fighters live in Southern California. They’ll meet again on Monday in New York.

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