LOS ANGELES – Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin kicked off the promotional tour of their much-anticipated trilogy fight on Friday at The Hollywood Legion Theater, and there was no love lost between the two archrivals. 

The two squared off face-to-face for the first time since Alvarez scored a disputed majority decision win in 2018. The pair also fought to a split draw in 2017.

The careers of Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs) and Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KOs) have gone in different directions ever since. 

Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs) has campaigned across 160 to 175 pounds and currently stands as the undisputed super middleweight champion. He’s coming off a loss to Dmitry Bivol.

Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KOs) has remained at middleweight ever since the second tilt and currently holds two titles at 160 pounds. 

GGG has fought just four times since Sept. 2018 against the likes of Steve Rolls, Sergiy Derevyanchenko, Kamil Szeremeta, and Ryota Murata. Golovkin even signed a deal with DAZN to stay within striking distance of Alvarez, but a fight never materialized in a timely fashion.

Although Alvarez signed a lucrative deal with DAZN months after the Golovkin rematch, he eventually got himself out of the deal with the streaming service and out of his promotional contract with Golden Boy. He’s since steered his own ship as he pleases across several weight classes, and as a promotional and network free agent.

Golovkin, meanwhile, has always been willing to strike a deal and even called out Alvarez throughout negotiations for purposely stalling the fight. 

The two will finally meet at 168 pounds on Sept. 17 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on DAZN pay-per-view, but before they do, Alvarez unloaded at Golovkin with a verbal attack.  

“I was busy fighting with the best fighters out there. That’s why [it took four years for the third fight] … Of course [he’s waited around and not done anything but wait for me]. He wants his last payday. Look at my fights after GGG, and look at his fights,” Alvarez told BoxingScene.com and other reporters.

“He’s not talking sh!t anymore because he has me in front of him now. Call the lion when you see he’s coming – and I’m coming.

“He always pretends to be a nice guy but he’s an assh-le. He’s an assh-le person. He’s f------ not. It is what it is. I don’t pretend to be another person. This is the way I am. 

“He always says I am scared and running away when I am fighting the best guys out there and he’s fighting Class D fighters. He’s talking a lot of things about me – that’s why it’s personal.”

The Kazakh KO artist Golovkin is now 40 years old and nearing the end of his career. 

Alvarez is adamant their meeting will be the last time Golovkin steps into the squared circle. 

“[It will be] so sweet [to push him off the proverbial cliff at the end of his career]. Of course [I want to retire him]. I will be [the last guy he ever fights],” Alvarez said with an ear-to-ear smile and arms folded. 

Alvarez added that it gives him extra satisfaction knowing that he made Golovkin wait for four years for a shot at revenge – all while doing so on his own terms, in his desired weight class.

“It makes me feel good,” Alvarez said with a wide grin. “I don’t know why he’s surprised why this fight is personal for me. He knows what I think about him. I hope he’s taking it personal too. He’s going to need it.”

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com.