Canelo Alvarez has been beaten already by Floyd Mayweather Jr., so he's determined not to let it happen again over dollars as each man headlines major fight cards within a three-week span.
While Mexico's Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 knockouts) is meeting unbeaten three-belt middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) Sept. 16 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Mayweather is seeking to go to 50-0 on Aug. 26 in the same venue against UFC champion Conor McGregor, making his pro boxing debut.
"The fans know. They know what they're going to pick," Alvarez said Tuesday at he and Golovkin's news conference at Madison Square Garden.
"If they want to see a sideshow, they can see a sideshow. If they want to see a fight — a real fight — they'll go ahead and buy my fight with Golovkin."
Alvarez sees the bout as the opening of the "Canelo" era in the sport, and as he strode onto a red carpet outside the arena Tuesday, he said it was palpable that his time has arrived.
"This is a bit of a different feeling," the two-division world champion said after dominating his bigger countryman, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., by unanimous decision last month.
"I embrace it and I'm going to take it and work hard. I've already made a little bit of history and I look forward to making much more history in boxing."
In Golovkin, he'll meet a fighter in pursuit of his 19th consecutive middleweight title fight victory, two short of Bernard Hopkins' record.
"This is the biggest fight in boxing," Golovkin said of his first bout in Las Vegas after selling out venues in London, New York and Los Angeles within the recent past. "I know him a long time. He knows me. This is a 50/50 fight."
"This is not a problem because this is not a fight. It's a show," Golovkin said when asked how irked he is for his long-awaited super-fight to be locked in a battle for attention. "I have a fight with 'Canelo,' a true boxing fight. Not a funny show."
There won't be the verbal back-and-forth of Mayweather-McGregor in Alvarez-Golovkin, but there is tension rooted in Golovkin's past complaints that Alvarez and De La Hoya were ducking him. A recent Golovkin comment that Alvarez was acting "scared" brought a grin to Alvarez's face, and a reply of, "We'll see."
Alvarez's confidence is such that he dismissed the suggestion by his promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, that the Alvarez-Golovkin rivalry seems bound for a trilogy given the high talent and entertainment of the two aggressive fighters.
Unlike Golovkin, Alvarez is armed with a rematch clause should he lose.
So Alvarez was asked if that empowers him to let fists fly, or rely on his energy in a speed-and-boxing showing at age 26 to overwhelm Golovkin, 35, who just fought 12 rounds for the first time in March after 23 consecutive knockouts.
"I want a clear decision, a clear win. No controversies, no talk of, 'Should there be a rematch?'" Alvarez said.
While De La Hoya said he envisions the first fight as one that will "light a wildfire" that could advance the series to major stadiums, Alvarez said he'd be content to post a convincing victory over Golovkin and move on to other challenges.
"There's no need. I want to prove that I'm better … to make it very clear I'm better than him and there won't be a rematch," Alvarez said.
Showtime Executive Vice President Stephen Espinoza told The Times in a Monday interview that he's hopeful Mayweather, 40, will find interest in returning from a two-year retirement for McGregor to box again after that.
There would be no more suitable opponent than Alvarez, who lost a 2013 majority decision to Mayweather at age 23.
"First things first, but, for sure [that loss] is in the back of my mind and I would love to erase that," Alvarez said.
Alvarez-Golovkin tickets, ranging from $300 to $5,000, go on sale Thursday, when the fighters arrive in Los Angeles to conclude their press tour.