If you can’t train properly, you can’t fight properly.
That could explain – at least in part – the subpar performances of 168-pound champion Canelo Alvarez the past few years, a loss to Dmitry Bivol and unanimous, but uninspiring decisions over Gennadiy Golovkin and John Ryder.
Most observers attribute the Mexican star’s performances to a gradual decline, which he understands given the optics. However, he said you’ll see that the culprit was injuries, not wear and tear, when he defends his belts against Jermell Charlo on pay-per-view Sept. 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Alvarez has had sore knees and the right-hander has fought with an injured left wrist in his past few fights. He had surgery to repair the injury after his fight with Golovkin, late last year.
“I wasn’t able to train 100 percent because of my hand,” he told me and Kenneth Bouhairie on The PBC Podcast. “I was still in rehab for the fight with John Ryder. The fight with Golovkin I was still having issues with my wrist. That’s why [I didn’t perform well].
“When you get into the fight, you don’t have confidence to go [all out], to go 100 percent, to throw punches [all out]. But now I feel 100 percent. I can throw my hand, I can work with [trainer] Eddy [Reynoso] on the pads, I can throw my hand hard.
“That makes me feel confident in the fight. When I’m able to train 100 percent, I know I have everything to put into the fight.”
Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KOs) didn’t want to make any promises or predictions going into what is perceived to be a difficult matchup with Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs), who is moving up two weight classes to challenge the champion.
It’s easy to talk, he said. He plans to show his doubters what a healthy version of himself can do in the ring.
“I can tell you right now a lot of things,” he said. “I’m going to do this, I’m going to be different, I’m going to make this and that. But in the fight you will see the difference. I always prove [myself] in the fight.”
He went on: “Look, for 16 years I don’t have any injuries until the fight with Golovkin, until my knee and then my wrist. At some point you need to have some issues with your body. For a long time, so many training camps, you need to have some issues with your body.
“… It was just one year, my knees, my wrist and everything. But now I’m 100 percent. I’m going to bring my best on Sept. 30.”
And for those who wonder whether the 33-year-old is simply tired of the routine after 18 years and dozens of training camps as a professional?
Forget it. He still enjoys the process.
“No, I love my routine,” he said. “I love training, I love training camp, I love the sacrifices for boxing, all the discipline. I love it, I still love it. One time I told Eddy, ‘When I lose that love for boxing that’s the last day I’m going to be involved in boxing. That’s not the case.”
Alvarez seems to be in a good place mentally. We’ll see how he looks physically.