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Gennady Golovkin prods Canelo Alvarez to fight for the fans

Gennady Golovkin prods Canelo Alvarez to fight for the fans
Gennady Golovkin, left, connects with a left to Canelo Alvarez during a middleweight title fight in Las Vegas on Sept. 17, 2017. (John Locher / Associated Press)

Gennady Golovkin and his team have sought to tempt Canelo Alvarez to make their Sept. 15 rematch at T-Mobile Arena a center-of-the-ring slugfest that will allow the middleweight rivals to settle their differences in the plainest way possible.

Without judges, without retreat.

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“I don’t think I’m doing it to lure him,” Golovkin told the Times Saturday during a lunch with boxing reporters at MGM Grand.“[Alvarez], even more than I, needs this second fight because he lost a lot of fans because of what he’s done. It’s very important to have that kind of fight.”

World Boxing Council and World Boxing Assn. champion Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 knockouts) is referring to the two positive tests for the banned performance-enhancing substance clenbuterol that Mexico’s Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) submitted in February that led to the cancellation of a planned May rematch.

The Nevada Athletic Commission suspended Alvarez for six months until mid-August, and, in Golovkin’s view, his challenger has to fight aggressively as part of a public-relations campaign to rectify his stained reputation.

“He is known for doping. … He’s a smart guy. He knows it’s his fault,” Golovkin said. “Of course we look at him differently. The thing that he did with doping and drugs did damage to the sport.

“The second fight will be more interesting. He was able to run around in the first fight. That will be more difficult. It’s very different.”

As Alvarez has limited his accessibility to a satellite news conference that included only a few questions from reporters, Golovkin has made himself available for extended interviews.

At the lunch, he was asked often about Alvarez’s character.

“For somebody like him who made this very bad mistake to continue to work with the same people, this same team who brought him to this situation, shows he really doesn’t recognize things,” Golovkin said.

By remaining reclusive, something Alvarez’s team has suggested will change once he opens training in San Diego later this month, the former two-division champion has rejected his promoter’s desire for a typical news conference and HBO’s “Face-Off,” a standard discussion about a coming fight with the boxers seated across from each other with Max Kellerman asking probing questions.

“How Canelo’s team deals with HBO and other people, they don’t really respect them,” Golovkin said. “They make their friends and people who support them look foolish.

“He talks a lot about it not making sense. Of course it makes sense to stand face to face. He understands the situation. He doesn’t want to feel the pressure from all the people who’ll be watching this.

“He would’ve been faced with some uncomfortable questions and he probably doesn’t have a lot of courage to look truth in the face and face this.”

This kind of talk from Golovkin differentiates the pair and helps boost interest from the first fight in September 2017 that generated 1.3 million pay-per-view buys and a $27 million live gate.

“We have a different attitude. Maybe it’s all for the better, so the people will enjoy the fight,” Golovkin said. “We have different mentalities. He’s showed a lot of disrespect. I don’t think much of him and he’s lost respect. I’m surprised there’s people who still support him and his team after this.”

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Golovkin trainer Abel Sanchez has made it clear he’s training his fighter to win by knockout. In May, Golovkin knocked out replacement opponent Vanes Martirosyan in the second round at StubHub Center, and while Alvarez said he watched the bout, Golovkin said he wasn’t intentionally sending a message with the destructive display.

“I was just doing my job,” he said.

But if the outcome goes to judges who provided one horrendous scorecard and one, influential, puzzling round in Alvarez’s favor, the champion says, “The decision is on their conscience.

“For all the fans, it’s important to have a second match, like [what went undone] from [just one] Hagler-Hearns [fight],” Golovkin said. “It’s important for history, for the fans, for us.”

Following the harsh words and a tense negotiation that created the second bout, could a trilogy bout ever happen?

“It’s very difficult to make any projections,” Golovkin said.

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