By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – Abel Sanchez doesn’t expect inactivity or his surgically repaired right knee to adversely affect Canelo Alvarez on Saturday night.
Gennady Golovkin’s trainer figures Alvarez will be just as mobile and sharp in their rematch as he was when they fought last September 16 at T-Mobile Arena. The 28-year-old Alvarez hasn’t fought since he and Golovkin battled to a dubious draw nearly a year ago.
They would’ve fought again May 5, but Alvarez’s six-month suspension for failing two performance-enhancing drug tests in February extended his hiatus. The former middleweight and junior middleweight champion will end the longest layoff of a pro career that began in October 2005 when he faces Golovkin in their second fight.
Once he was suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for twice testing positive for clenbuterol, Alvarez underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in April to remove a cyst and repair damaged cartilage. Sanchez doesn’t anticipate Alvarez’s knee or his lengthy layoff to give Golovkin an advantage in their 12-round fight for Golovkin’s WBA, WBC and IBO middleweight titles.
“I don’t think so,” Sanchez said before a press conference Wednesday at MGM Grand. “I think that [Alvarez] understands what he has in front of him. He understands exactly who Gennady is. He’s gonna be the same guy that he was last year. If he wasn’t a hundred percent, I don’t think he would risk that big ego [that’s] as big as his head.”
Maximum mobility is an important component to Alvarez’s game plan against the heavy-handed Golovkin, but he says his knee didn’t bother him at all during his recently completed training camp in San Diego.
“They took out a cyst that I had,” Alvarez said in a recent episode of HBO’s 24/7. “And they cleaned it up because I also had some hurt cartilage. It had been bothering me, so I took the opportunity to have the operation. I’ve been running well, training well and it hasn’t given me any problems.”
The 36-year-old Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs) is slightly favored to beat the 28-year-old Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) in their HBO Pay-Per-View main event Saturday night (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT; $84.99 in HD).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.