Canelo Alvarez has become a mentor and played a big-brother role for Ryan Garcia over the last two years.

Once the rising lightweight star switched camps to San Diego to train with Eddy Reynoso, the two quickly hit it off and developed a bond.

Garcia has been going through some uneven times of late. The 22-year-old pulled out of his July 9 fight against Javier Fortuna on April 24, 11 days after it was announced. 

Garcia cited his mental health and wellbeing as the reason why he was abruptly halting his ascending career. The Victorville born-and-bred boxer had previously shared his battles with depression and anxiety.

Alvarez (55-1-2, 37 KOs), who is preparing to fight Billy Joe Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) at the AT&T Stadium on May 8, said Garcia has his backing during the difficult time. 

“We are here to support him. He’s going to be back soon,” Alvarez told in an interview. “He needs a little time. He knows what happened. We are a team, and we will support him in every way and moment.”

The WBC, WBA and Ring Magazine super middleweight champion Alvarez has had to deal with his fair share of adversity over the years. 

This week, Alvarez revealed his brother was kidnapped and he was forced to negotiate his release days before the Rocky Fielding fight in December 2018. He also said he battled through COVID-19 while preparing for the Avni Yildirim fight in February.

Last year, Alvarez was also stuck on the sidelines due to coronavirus and dealing with a contentious legal dispute with Golden Boy Promotions and DAZN, a spat that has since been resolved.

“When asked if the uneasy times he’s been forced to deal with have caused him any mental health issues, Alvarez said: “Thank God, but no. I have had my problems in my life, but I’ve always known how to move ahead and go forward and put the problems aside. I’ve always understood there is a solution.”

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] or on