By Keith Idec
Canelo Alvarez vividly remembers his sparring sessions with Gennady Golovkin, long before anyone expected to them to meet in this huge middleweight title fight.
There are things Alvarez learned about Golovkin that can help him both in preparation and the fight itself. Alvarez also knows that they’re both very different fighters today than when they began sparring in the spring of 2011 at the gym owned by Abel Sanchez, Golovkin’s trainer, in Big Bear Lake, California.
The Mexican superstar reflected on those sparring sessions during a conference call Tuesday to promote their 160-pound showdown September 16 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (HBO Pay-Per-View).
“I was able to pick up some things, but you can’t really compare a sparring session to a fight,” Alvarez said through a translator. “There were some things that I was able to pick up, but we’re different now. We’re different fighters now. And you can’t really base everything on what you learned in a sparring session. Yes, there are some things that I picked up. But obviously, I’m not basing everything on that.”
Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs), who was 28 when he sparred with a 20-year-old Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs), also downplayed the importance of what he learned during those gym battles.
“I just remember a couple of rounds,” Golovkin told BoxingScene.com in June. “I help him and he help me, just boxing, not true fight, sparring. Not like very hard sparring. I remember he’s a little bit young, his speed is good, his power for 154 is OK – not for 160. Different power, different time.”
Alvarez was an emerging junior middleweight back then, more than two years before he fought Floyd Mayweather Jr. in September 2013. He is 7-0, including four knockouts, since he lost a majority decision to Mayweather.
“Right now, last couple of fights, he has power,” Golovkin said. “He has more experience, he’s bigger, stronger. He’s better.”
Golovkin admits they’re much more even today than they were back then.
“That’s a long time ago,” Golovkin said. “This is different story right now, different weight, different age. Right now he has more experience and my situations – I’m older now. It’s 50-50. There’s more interest.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.