If there was any time for Canelo Alvarez to exhale, it’d be now.
Alvarez’s defining victory over Gennady Golovkin is behind him and his new 11-fight, $365-million broadcast agreement with streaming service DAZN has been signed, but the Mexican champion has learned that boxing and serenity don’t mix.
“I love what I do and I’m satisfied with myself” for the DAZN deal, “but I’m in this sport to make history,” Alvarez told the Los Angeles Times in an interview at his gym in San Diego. “The point here is going to a historic building like Madison Square Garden and achieving another landmark by winning a title at 168 pounds.”
The partnership launches Dec. 15 at New York’s Madison Square Garden when Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 knockouts) seeks a third division belt against World Boxing Assn. secondary super-middleweight champion Rocky Fielding (27-1, 15 KOs) of England.
“I did what I did with that contract. But money’s not everything in boxing. I will continue making history, and keep making these important fights. I’ll keep giving the best fights to the public.”
If the selection of the little-known, 9-to-1 underdog Fielding heightened concern about that strategy, Alvarez emphasizes he’s moving up in weight to seek a third belt. He is also taking a fight with the shortest break since he defended his 154-pound belt with his fourth fight of 2011, against Kermit Cintron. Alvarez gives up five inches to the 6-foot-1 Fielding.
“A fighter like me must adapt to everything – tall, in between or short. My tallest opponent was [Julio] Chavez Jr.,” Alvarez said of the countryman he dominated by unanimous decision last year. “That’s why we train, to adapt to the opponent, and a fighter like me at this level has to know how to adapt.
“I like fighting. I like challenges. And I felt it was important to close the year off like this.”
Preparing for the bout has brought a new energy to Alvarez’s camp.
His trainer, Eddy Reynoso, has attracted world featherweight champion Oscar Valdez and Golden Boy Promotions’ best-known prospect, Ryan Garcia, to the San Diego gym.
And the pursuit of a bigger man inspired Reynoso’s trainer-father, Chepo Reynoso, to show a visitor how Alvarez’s daring attitude developed by replaying highlights of an 18-year-old Alvarez breaking down an older, bigger Jefferson Luis Goncalo in 2009.
“Canelo was a 10-round fighter by 17, and once fought three times in a month,” Chepo Reynoso recalled. “We used to have him fight every month. He’d sell so many tickets and stop so many guys early, it’d be a fight on Saturday and train again on Monday.”
Now 28, Alvarez is coming off the defining Sept. 15 majority decision victory over Golovkin, delivering the Kazakh his first loss and marking the end of his record-tying run of consecutive middleweight title defenses.
“We wanted to throw more punches, pressure him, hit him more. We accomplished it,” Alvarez said. “He lost his way when I landed those punches in the early rounds. I was better that night.”
Golovkin is considering his television options, including DAZN, which raises the question if Alvarez is interested in recruiting his rival to join him in the venture.
“I don’t care what he does. He can do what he wants,” Alvarez said. “If there’s a third fight out there, we’ll do it wherever he is, but what he does is his problem. I have signed a contract -- five years, guaranteed. The important thing is to make the best fights and to find the perfect combinations to make the best fights.”
Did Alvarez achieve closure by defeating Golovkin after the pair fought to a draw one year earlier?
“I’m fine. It was clear what happened. We’re good going on our own paths, but if we meet again, we are ready for that. If we did two, why not a third one?” he said.
Alvarez, who took his time moving to 160 pounds for a Golovkin showdown, says the surprise jump to 168 for Fielding is as heavy as he can fight.
“I can’t do anymore. It’s too much of an advantage I’m giving. Even at 160, I’m giving an advantage,” he said, even if the appearance at 168 spawns ideas of other marquee fights, including a dream match against retired former super-middleweight champion Andre Ward.
“He’s a great fighter, but it’s not feasible to give away that much of an advantage, and the same thing would apply with him coming down,” Alvarez said of Ward, who retired as unbeaten light-heavyweight champion last year. “If that were possible, I would love it. He’s one of the best ever. But he’s retired. My respects to him. I’ve learned from some of his fights.”
Speaking of legends, Alvarez may also be in a race against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao to secure a Cinco de Mayo fight date. The speculation is Alvarez will take a May bout against former WBA secondary middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs, although Alvarez said “nothing’s signed.… I want to win and get my much deserved vacation. Then we can talk.”
Since Alvarez is the lone Mexican seeking to fight on the May holiday, he made it clear that “surely, certainly, I will fight on Cinco de Mayo, and again [on Mexican Independence weekend] in September.”