Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin are saving the fireworks for Saturday night, when they will meet for a third time on pay-per-view from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Neither man had anything objectionable to say at a low-key final press conference Thursday at the MGM Grand. They had their obligatory stare down afterward but that lasted only 30 seconds and no words were exchanged.
Evidently they see no point in playing games after spending 24 rounds in the ring together. They know each other well.
They fought to a disputed draw in 2017, a fight most observers though Triple-G deserved to win. Alvarez then won a close decision in the 2018 rematch.
Golovkin will get one more shot at his rival, although now he’s 40 (Alvarez is 32). And he’ll be moving up from 160 pounds to 168 to challenge the undisputed champion. Still, he’s pleased to be in this position.
“The last time was four years ago,” he said in English. “That’s a long time. Finally, finally it’s Saturday night. … I feel very comfortable, very strong. I feel ready, guys. You’ll see Saturday night.”
One reason Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs) walked away with a majority decision victory in the second meeting is that he took the fight to Triple-G more than he did in their first bout.
Golovkin’s trainer, Johnathan Banks, said he expects the same strategy from the Mexican star on Saturday.
“I’d be really foolish to think he’ll not come out aggressive,” he said. “Like I said, both guys are the ultimate competitors. If he comes out aggressive against anyone else, why wouldn’t he come out aggressive now?
“… However he comes, [Golovkin] will be ready for him and meet the challenge.”
Alvarez has implied that he plans to attack Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KOs).
The now-former No. 1 pound-for-pounder is coming off his first loss in almost a decade, a unanimous decision against 175-pound titleholder Dmitry Bivol. The setback was difficult to swallow but also has lit a fire under him.
“He’s a competitive sportsman, Canelo,” Eddy Reynoso, Alvarez’s trainer, said through a translator. “Canelo has been like that since he was a kid. You learn not just from victories but also defeats. I’ve seen that he’s really motivated.
“He’s done some fantastic work the past few weeks.”
Alvarez doesn’t want to simply have his hand raised again; he wants to make a statement, which is where the aggression comes in.
“Obviously, the defeat hurt,” he said through the translator, “but I’m back on the path to greatness. … I feel I’m better under pressure. And I put pressure on myself to finish the fight inside the distance. I know it will be difficult but nothing in this life is easy.
“I have a really tough rival in front of me, a tough, intelligent opponent. But that (getting a knockout} will be my aim on Saturday night.”