“Blade Runner,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Catch Me If You Can” — many movies have been filmed at Union Station, a key crossroads in Los Angeles.
On Wednesday, boxing’s biggest telenovela in Canelo Alvarez took his act to Tinseltown’s main railway to announce his next fight Nov. 2 against Sergey Kovalev.
The setting for the kickoff news conference was an unconventional backdrop to discuss the Mexican fighter’s unpredictable career path as thousands of Angelenos went about their daily commute.
Alvarez, a natural middleweight, is surprisingly stepping up two divisions and testing his strength by challenging the WBO light heavyweight champion Kovalev, especially when there’s still unfinished business with Gennady Golovkin after two highly disputed decisions.
The dramatic road that eventually led Alvarez to Kovalev appeared at times to be a train falling off the tracks.
After defeating Daniel Jacobs on Cinco de Mayo weekend, there was uncertainty around when Alvarez would return to the ring and against who.
Alvarez has mostly been silent all summer, but his actions on social media have demonstrated serious displeasure. He and De La Hoya made their first public appearance together on Wednesday to quell any concerns about their relationship , and to work as cohorts promoting his next fight.
Alvarez, who signed a record 10-fight, $365-million deal last year with DAZN, the streaming service that will carry the fight against Kovalev, said he’s pleased with himself for putting his foot down and holding his stance business-wise in recent months as many parts moved around him.
“It makes me feel very proud, because I’m someone who comes from nothing and not knowing anything. In life I have learned many things, and one of them is this,” said Alvarez, sitting in a Dolce & Gabbana suit in a small back room at Union Station.
“Oscar and I have always worked well together,” said Alvarez. “I believe we are a team and we need to do things together so everything comes out the way that it’s supposed to … At that moment, I felt like my hands were tied and that nothing had been done to handle this negotiation better. This is how things are, and this is how business is done. We just have to overcome and continue forward.”
The 29-year-old Alvarez has been upset with a series of developments that have been brewing since at least the end of May.
First, Golden Boy missed the mark in making a fight in time for Alvarez to showcase his skills on his customary Mexican Independence Day weekend date. Alvarez wanted to fight with Kovalev on Sept. 14, but financial terms never got in order. Next, negotiations again became problematic because Alvarez had a mandatory defense against Sergiy Derevyanchenko for the IBF belt he won from Jacobs. After Golden Boy blew past the sanctioning body’s deadline, Alvarez was stripped of his title — and infuriated — taking to Twitter and expressing disdain, saying he didn’t “have the knowledge of the agreement that [the Golden Boy] matchmaker had signed.”
As the months went by, Alvarez rejected every opponent proposed, chiefly Golovkin (who’ll be fighting Derevyanchenko for the vacant IBF belt).
Even after his fight was announced Friday, Alvarez was still retweeting disparaging remarks directed at De La Hoya made by stablemate and training partner Ryan Garcia, who was dealing with a ugly spat himself with Golden Boy that has since been resolved with a multi-year agreement that was announced minutes before Wednesday’s gathering. Garcia has since reversed course and deleted his tweets, and thus, Alvarez’s retweets, and he’ll serve as Alvarez’s co-main event against Romero Duno come November.
Alvarez was asked Wednesday if he and De La Hoya are still good friends.
He took a breath, hesitated to answer, then halfheartedly stammered his way to a “yes” before looking away.
When the Los Angeles Times mentioned to Alvarez its report and interview Monday with De La Hoya in which the promoter said, “you will absolutely see Canelo and GGG fight next year,” Alvarez directed a punch toward his boss and squashed any indication that a third fight with Golovkin would take place after his first in 2017 with the Kazakh fighter was ruled a draw, and the second in 2018 a disputed majority decision in favor of Alvarez.
“Oscar says many things that make no sense,” said Alvarez. “Gennady Golovkin does not represent anything for me right now. He comes from practically fighting a nobody. He doesn’t represent a challenge that I haven’t had already in our two fights … For me, yes, we are finished.”
De La Hoya is no stranger to fights in and out of the ring. He sued Top Rank head Bob Arum at the turn of the century to get out of his contract with the promoter before closing the book on his Hall of Fame career.
“How ‘bout these last few months?” an exasperated De La Hoya intimated as he walked into a room filled with reporters. “It’s been stressful, but this is what boxing is all about. When you have a target on your back, and everyone is after you, you have to fight. What better person than me? No other promoter has laced the gloves in their lives like I have.
The jabbing and theatrics outside of the ring have come to a standstill, at least for now.