Canelo Alvarez and GGG fail to muster any rematch excitement during livestream

Kevin Iole
Combat columnist
Apparently Canelo Alvarez (left) and Gennady Golovkin are saving their punches for a Sept. 15 rematch. (Getty)

Maurico Pedroza did his best to be stir up controversy, and Abel Sanchez attempted to oblige him, but neither middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin nor challenger Canelo Alvarez would really bite.

As a result, it was, as it often is at a boxing news conference, the guys who aren’t going to get hit who had the most to say.

Golden Boy announced a partnership with Facebook on Monday in which it will stream a series of fight cards. On Tuesday, it used the Facebook technology to stream a news conference designed to kick off ticket sales for the Sept. 15 rematch in Las Vegas at T-Mobile Arena between Golovkin and Alvarez.

Golovkin was at his training camp in Big Bear, California, with trainer Abel Sanchez, promoter Tom Loeffler and an interpreter. Alvarez was in Guadalajara, Mexico, with promoter Oscar De La Hoya, trainer Eddy Reynoso, manager Chepo Reynoso and interpreter Robert Diaz.

Both fighters largely stared forward stone-faced, had little to say and what they did say was non-threatening. Sanchez, Golovkin’s trainer, did his best to stir up controversy, but the fighters largely weren’t having it.

The result was an hour that probably did precious little to hawk ticket sales, which is normally the point of these things.

Promoters clearly were hoping for fireworks, particularly since Golovkin had been highly critical of Alvarez for testing positive in February for Clenbuterol and forcing the cancellation of a planned May 5 fight.

In the nearly three months between Alvarez’s positive tests and Golovkin’s fight on May 5 with Vanes Martirosyan, Golovkin unloaded on Alvarez in an uncharacteristically harsh and aggressive way. That had to make promoters believe the final meeting between the two until fight week would be explosive and ignite interest, but it never materialized.

“The reason for the cancellation [of the May 5 bout], we all know,” Alvarez said. “There’s no reason to talk about that.”

Ah, but there is, Canelo. The avid boxing fans know about the fight and how compelling it has the potential to be, but there are millions who aren’t as tuned in. Those are the people this news conference was designed to reach.

And so the split-screen failed to show the fighters sneering at each other, staring nose-to-nose, and it had precious little in the way of aggressive talk.

“Of course, we were all disappointed,” Golovkin said of the May 5 cancellation. “I was disappointed. The fans were disappointed that the May 5 bout didn’t happen. But right now, everybody is happy that we’ve all agreed to have this next fight on Sept. 15. Both us and our fans should be happy.”

That kind of talk probably wasn’t what De La Hoya, who says he had to kick in his own personal money to finalize the fight, had in mind when he hired two satellite trucks at a huge cost to stream the news conference.

The closest they came to any fireworks is when Chepo Reynoso scolded Sanchez. Pedroza did his job the best he could as a moderator, asking Alvarez and everyone on the Golden Boy side what they thought of Sanchez’s taunts.

“Look, I think Abel Sanchez just likes to talk,” Chepo Reynoso said. “He talks too much. At the end of the day, on Sept. 15 it’s going to be Canelo and Triple-G fighting with their fists, not with their mouths. [Sanchez] likes to be the star of the movie, but this is not about him. It’s about Canelo and Triple-G. What we need to do as cornermen, as trainers, is to do our job quietly, because it’s not about us. Learn to be quiet, please.”

Sanchez never quit trying, but he didn’t manage to get much of a buzz. At one point, he said the style of the fight would be determined by whether or not Alvarez brought his courage. He said that the first fight was a track meet, mocking Alvarez for his lateral movement during a split draw last year.

Through it all, Alvarez sat stoned-faced and silent.

Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin showed little emotion during a news conference streamed on Facebook. (Screenshot via Facebook)

The fight figures to be outstanding, and with slight adjustments, it’s not inconceivable to believe it will end in a decisive knockout.

It would have been nice, though, if one of the fighters saw the urgency to make that point emphatically on Tuesday. Mostly, they acted like they wanted to be anywhere but where they were.

The Facebook partnership figures to be a good one long-term for Golden Boy. This simply didn’t deliver because the fighters appear to have tapped out on talking long ago.

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