Eleider Alvarez and his coach made a pact together.
When he would suffer his next defeat, it was understood that the boxer had to hang up his gloves in order to leave his sport in good health.
This is the scenario that will occur after the painful loss against Joe Smith, which took place on Saturday night at the MGM Grand's Conference Center in Las Vegas.
Alvarez (25-2, 13 KOs) was uncompetitive against Smith (25-3, 21 KOs), who landed numerous damaging punches until he scored a knockout victory in the ninth round. Alvarez suffered a broken nose during the fight.
Alvarez's head trainer, Marc Ramsay, had already noticed a decline in his boxer's abilities when his fighter was preparing for the rematch with Sergey Kovalev - a fight where Kovalev outboxed Alvarez over twelve rounds.
"We thought we were going to do one last lap together and that we were going to make sure it was fun," Ramsay told Mathieu Boulay of The Montreal Journal.
“We were going to keep moving forward as long as it made sense. Against Smith Jr, this is the first time that we saw that we were really not in the game. I want us to stop this. We must not forget that there is life after boxing.
"We had difficulties during this camp [for the Kovalev rematch]. We continued to have them thereafter. I watch him in the gym. Eleider isn't the same guy anymore. I've been seeing it for a while. The legs are not there as before. His metabolism slowed down. He just isn't able to keep up and neither is his body.
“His metabolism is not what it used to be. The rounds in sparring are getting more and more complicated, regardless of the partners he has in front of him. We knew that the end was drawing near with him."
Several observers will try to find the precise reasons for the one-sided loss against Smith. Among the points that will be raised, there will be the training camp which was held in Quebec with the COVID-19 restrictions. However, Ramsay quickly dismissed this argument.
"It has nothing to do with it," said Ramsay. "We did what we had to do in the gym to be ready for this fight. It's not a question of tactics or preparation. Eleider is simply at the end. In boxing, this is obvious more than it is in other sports. You can't hide on a fourth line like in hockey.
“We were not in the game from the first round. Still, I hoped that Eleider could change the pace of the fight with a power shot. I could see Smith was burning gas and I was still hoping it might work.
“As the rounds went by, Eleider's defense was declining as well. After the eighth round, I warned him that it was his last round for him to do something. However, I wanted a good defense and a bomb. I didn't want him to take bad shots like he had in previous rounds."