Canelo happily takes massive pay cut to fight in Mexico
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Saúl Álvarez says he was determined to fight again on home soil in Mexico this year. The massive financial sacrifice required to make it happen didn’t bother Canelo at all.
“Sometimes it’s not about the money,” Álvarez said on Thursday. “Sometimes it’s a matter of pride, and that’s when. I don’t need to say how much I lose, because I don’t care. I feel good fighting in my hometown and I’m proud.
When Álvarez steps into the ring in his hometown of Guadalajara on May 6, he will earn about half of what he would have earned had the fight taken place in Las Vegas, promoter Eddie Hearn told The Associated Press on Thursday. in San Diego.
Álvarez is eagerly taking that major pay cut – likely over $10 million – to face Britain’s John Ryder for all four world super middleweight title belts in front of more than 50,000 frenzied hometown fans at Akron Stadium.
“It’s amazing, because it affected me,” Hearn said with a smile. “Actually, I think it’s great. Saul has a lot of money, so it’s (a factor). but it’s still quite unusual. I haven’t really seen many fighters who would take much less time to do it at home.
Although Álvarez (58-2-2, 39 KOs) and trainer Eddy Reynoso were determined to set up the 168-pound champion’s next fight in Guadalajara, Hearn still dutifully presented offers from Vegas, London and even the Middle East for the next fight of arguably the most bankable fighter in the sport over the past decade.
“The first round (of offers) was already a lot more (than Guadalajara),” Hearn said. “And then when we came back and said, ‘No’, it kept going up. And I kept going back, and in the end, (Álvarez) told me to stop.’ Stop. Shut up. We’re doing it.'”
Hearn cannot yet give details on the size of Álvarez’s salary, but it was widely reported that Canelo had a guaranteed purse of $45 million for his trilogy fight with Gennady Golovkin last year – along with his earnings. likely much higher finals, possibly close to $100 million. Álvarez also well exceeded the $15 million guaranteed purse for his fight against Dmitry Bivol last May.
Álvarez, 32, turned pro at 15 in Guadalajara, but he hasn’t fought in Mexico since November 2011, when his surging career made him financially reckless. His last 22 fights have taken place across the United States in locations ranging from Vegas and Miami to the cavernous Dallas Cowboys stadium.
But Álvarez and Hearn have been working for a fight in Mexico since the British promoter linked up with the Mexican superstar six fights ago. As Canelo recovered from left-hand surgery over the holidays, he and Reynoso decided the time was right for a mandatory title defense in front of fans who initially roared for him. Even his grandmother will be in the crowd, he said.
“We are so crazy,” said Álvarez. “The vibes are just different. It’s incredible. You feel the energy. Everything moves when people shout. It’s just the best.
This decision also comes with pressure: his fans will expect something spectacular against an opponent who is not believed to be at his high level. A certain segment of Mexican fans have soured on Álvarez for reasons ranging from his two unimpressive performances in 2022 to his main residence in San Diego, where he golfs almost daily.
And Ryder (32-5, 18 KOs) is no pushover: the North London native has won four straight fights to earn this shot, including a victory over former champion Danny Jacobs. Ryder has plenty of experience dealing with hostile crowds after traveling to Callum Smith’s hometown of Liverpool in 2019 for a 168-pound title fight that started with fans gesturing at him. gorge on the way to the ring.
“I earned it, and I think it’s a lot of fun,” Ryder said. “I’m going to keep the blinders on, put on the hat and step into the ring.”
Álvarez said his hand was healed from surgery and his biggest challenge was regaining full confidence in his left hook. After this homecoming fight in which Álvarez will be a heavy favorite, he wants an even bigger challenge: a rematch with Bivol, who sent Canelo to his first loss in nearly nine years last May in a fight of the light heavyweights.
“I wasn’t 100% in this fight, and I have a lot to prove in this (rematch),” Álvarez said. “But first I have to do what I want to do at home. This is the most important thing.
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