Canelo Alvarez’s motivation: MSG, shot at history, fan-friendly deal

MEXICO CITY — Several factors motivate boxers at specific points in their careers. What is driving Canelo Alvarez to make history for his Dec. 15 super middleweight fight against Rocky Fielding is having the privilege to fight for the first time — and win — at the mecca of boxing known as Madison Square Garden, which hosted eight of Muhammad Ali’s bouts.

In an exclusive interview with ESPN Deportes’ A Los Golpes, the Mexican fighter also admitted that one the factors that tipped the scales toward his eventual signing with DAZN — aside from the $365 million deal — was its fan-friendly format.

“We’ve been wanting to fight in New York for several years,” Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs) said. “It’s been offered to us many times but for whatever reason it didn’t happen. But now we have the opportunity to be there, and for me it’s motivation, another chapter in my career. Being at Madison Square Garden, where well-known boxers like Muhammad Ali have fought. It’s a great accomplishment for me.”

Alvarez said Fielding (27-1, 15 KOs) was chosen as the opponent on the recommendation of his trainer Eddy Reynoso, and because it gives him a shot at winning a title in a third division.

“The told me about the opportunity to win a title at 168 pounds and be one of just 10 Mexicans to win titles in three divisions,” he said. “And if that’s what Eddy wants, it’s what we’ll do.”

On growing closer to his fan base through his new deal, Alvarez said that “it’s something that’s good for any athlete, it’s for the best.

“What’s most important, as a team we always say it, is to be able to give a nod to the fans,” he added. “That appealed to us a lot, that they pay less to see a Canelo fight. It was appealing to me, because a lot of people who like boxing couldn’t see one because they didn’t have the means. Now, with this, well, I liked the idea a lot.”

Instead of paying $70 for a single pay-per-view event, fans will be charged a monthly fee of about $10 with DAZN.

Alvarez, the former super welterweight champion, also underscored what he overcame to defeat Gennady Golovkin in September.

“Sometimes as a fighter or trainer, you don’t pay attention to those things … I was inactive for a year, five months after my knee operation, my second fight at 160 pounds and all that,” he said. “My team and I accomplished a lot. We feel proud about that and it serves as great motivation for me. We knew without a doubt that we could do it, but that was a great night for us as a team.”