Saúl Álvarez traded Big Bear for San Diego in 2014 after losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr. Since then, he has been successful and has not lost since 2013 when he lost to ‘Money’ in a contest that left him with many lessons. However, the recipe for victory for the Mexican is not a secret: discipline, a word that requires many things and that not everyone can handle.
Recently, Ryan Garcia, a young man who has begun to shine in boxing and has millions of followers on social media, pulled out of Canelo and Eddy Reynoso’s camp in San Diego because he thought the Mexican trainer only had time to the current undisputed super middleweight champion. He also did not like some statements by Canelo in which he said that Garcia was not dedicating himself one hundred percent to boxing and that was not a good sign.
At the beginning of this year, García changed the Reynoso gym for Joe Goossen’s in Chula Vista and interrupted his relationship with Canelo, despite the fact that the Mexican boxer had supported him in his fights, going to them and motivating him. That seemed to bother the considered “best pound for pound in boxing”, although the boxer has made it clear that the Reynoso camp in the border city will continue as usual.
“We continue with ours. We are a disciplined team that is always going to say what has to be said to continue with that discipline and there are people who don’t like it, who just listen to nice things, and there are times when it’s not like that. You have to say what it is and they don’t like to hear the truth, so that’s what happens, but at the end of the day we are disciplined people and that’s what we’re always going to keep in the gym,” Canelo told the Los Angeles Times in Spanish. when talking about fighters who have left the camp in San Diego.
“We are a disciplined team that will always say what has to be said to continue with that discipline and there are people who don’t like it, who just listen to nice things, and there are times when it’s not like that”
— Saúl Álvarez on discipline at the San Diego camp
Álvarez made it clear that the Reynoso camp, named Coach of the Year by the World Boxing Council and the Boxing Writers Association of America, is not comfortable at all.
“It is difficult because discipline is not easy for anyone. It is a difficult team or camp to adapt to because not everyone has that discipline,” said Álvarez, 31.
For his part, Reynoso himself considers that his camp is easy for those who work hard, but those who want to do things comfortably find it difficult.
“All of us have always liked working with the Mexican school, from the bottom up to having discipline, training hard, doing things well, that is what has given us to have champions, to reap successes, triumphs , recognitions. So I think that discipline should always be in the gym,” said Reynoso. “I have more than 20 years as a coach. I have put boxers as world champions, some leave, others arrive and stay until the end of their career.
This coming May 7, Álvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) will seek his second light heavyweight crown when he challenges World Boxing Association champion Dimitry Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs) at the T -Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Another reason for Canelo’s success has been his strong mentality. Canelo expressed that he currently doesn’t pay much attention to critics and that’s because he has learned not to listen to negative comments.
“I come from a place where I have no problem with them talking and saying. At the end of the day, see them and you see yourself and they have nothing to worry about,” Alvarez said at his camp in San Diego.
One of his gym mates is Óscar Valdez, WBC lightweight champion, who went through very difficult times last year because he tested positive for Phentermine, a weight-loss substance, in anti-doping and acknowledged that it was a very complicated moment. in his career, where he felt many “kicked him while he was down.”
For Canelo, who also underwent a positive anti-doping test for clenbuterol in 2018 and also received harsh criticism prior to his second duel against Gennady Golovkin, he said that negative comments are common in the profession and that it is normal for one to feel bad about it.
“It’s normal at first, when you don’t know how to deal with people’s criticism, there comes a time when you start to think and you see it hard. Obviously it’s normal, but there comes a time when you know that people are always going to talk. It doesn’t matter what you do, it doesn’t matter how many titles you win. There will always be those types of people who are just sitting around watching to see who they are talking about, ”said Álvarez, who recommended Valdez at the time to continue working, earning and eventually everything would happen.
“When you are succeeding in a sport, you always have criticism, but you get used to it and you become mature enough to take criticism and take the words of those who come,” said Reynoso. “There are times when you are in camp and you may have an injury or you may lose a fight, but you have to always have a strong positive mindset. I think they have to learn and little by little, gain a stronger mentality and take things as they are. When you can’t solve them or you have a problem, then you have to face it”.
Recently, some fighters, including Ryan Garcia, have suspended their fights due to mental problems, such as depression and anxiety. Athletes like Russell Westbrook of the Lakers have complained that some fans have been too harsh on him during games, while tennis players like Naomi Osaka, who walked off the court in Indian Wells last month in tears, have complained because to offensive words from the public. Canelo, who plays in a more violent sport with more aggressive fans, said his negative comments don’t affect him because he’s used to adversity in life.
“I’ve been fine for a long time, thank God. I have always rowed against the current, I have been in fights with an injury, with a lawsuit, with this, with the other. I have always rowed against the current, but never thinking about canceling the fight, I have always been a very strong-minded person and to date, “said Álvarez.
“Athletes are human beings too. They also have problems at home, they have family problems, they have health problems, nothing more than sometimes people criticize them a lot because they are athletes, they don’t usually fail. But I think that a high-performance athlete should have something that normal people don’t have. That is what they have to do to try to get ahead of any situation,” Reynoso said.
“Athletes are human beings too. They also have problems at home, they have family problems, they have health problems, nothing more than sometimes people criticize them a lot because they are athletes, they don’t usually fail. But I think a high-performance athlete should have something that normal people don’t have.”
— Eddy Reynoso, Canelo’s coach, on mental toughness
A weight challenge for Canelo
Canelo this week rejected the Bivol camp’s proposal to fight at catchweight and also did not accept any rehydration clause, so the unification fight will be at the regular 175. The Mexican said that he hopes to get into the race with 10 or 15 pounds less than Bivol and that makes it difficult, but “it’s nothing he hasn’t been able to deal with before.”
Bivol has not lost in 19 starts and has been the light heavyweight champion since 2017. It will be the 10th defense of his crown.
“He is a very established fighter, at 175 pounds. He has been a world champion for a long time, he is a good fighter, with a lot of amateur experience, with a lot of professional experience as well. It’s going to be a tough fight. He’s ranked number 2 in his division, to me he’s number 1. He’s a very technical fighter, the smartest there is at 175 pounds. It’s going to be a very difficult night for me, but also for him,” said Álvarez, who has sparred with heavyweight fighters.
It will be Canelo’s first fight on a Cinco de Mayo weekend in Las Vegas since he beat Daniel Jacobs at T-Mobile Arena in 2019 in a middleweight bout. Since then he has claimed a light heavyweight title by beating Sergey Kovalev, as well as breaking the 168-pound division.
“We know that it is complicated, that it is difficult, but they are the challenges that make you one day be in the Hall of Fame,” Reynoso said. “I think it’s a bigger challenge than 168, but we have confidence in Canelo, in what he has shown in his last fights, and we are convinced that we can do something important.”
If he wins this matchup, Canelo is expected to face Golovkin in a third matchup in September. The Mexican has a win and a draw against the Kazakh, who will first have to beat Ryota Murata on April 9 in Japan.