Saul “Canelo” Alvarez slams a right into Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin during their undisputed super middleweight championship (Photo by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom).
LAS VEGAS — Boxing is already a painful sport, which can be made much more painful when a boxer is fighting in pain.
Early Sunday morning, Canelo Alvarez went public about a pre-existing injury to his left wrist that will require surgery after he defeated his nemesis, Gennadiy Golovkin, in the third fight of their trilogy to retain the undisputed super middleweight world championship Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena.
Alvarez (58-2-2, 39 knockouts) holds the IBF/WBC/WBO/WBA/Ring super middleweight titles and has fought six times within the last 21 months. He said he injured his wrist in his November 2021 victory over Caleb Plant to become the first undisputed super middleweight world champion.
Apparently, Alvarez’s unanimous-decision loss to WBA light heavyweight titlist Dmitry Bivol on May 7 occurred with torn cartilage in his left wrist, an injury that will require surgery and up to 12 weeks of rehab.
The injury hampered his endurance.
“I’m gonna take my time,” Alvarez said early Sunday morning about coming back. “My body needs [rest]. You know, last year I fought four times in 11 months. So, that is why. But I need to take my time a little bit. Maybe May, September, I don’t know. But take my time.”
The wrist injury may explain a few things. Despite the close scorecards, Alvarez dominated three-quarters of the fight against Golovkin (42-2-1, 37 KOs), until the ninth round. Each time it looked like Canelo would walk through “GGG” he seemed to put on the brakes.
He admitted his left wrist hurt “really bad” during the Golovkin fight and realized afterward that it was too risky to undergo another training camp with the possibility of creating further damage without surgery.
“I had these issues since the Caleb Plant fight,” Alvarez said. “So, [I said], ‘Ah, it’s OK. It’s OK. Let it [go]. Let it [go].’ And then training started, and it’s a problem, problem, problem. And I need surgery.”
Since December 2020, the 32-year-old Alvarez has fought super middleweight titlists Callum Smith, Billy Joe Saunders and Plant, squeezed an easy mandatory against Avni Yildirim in there, took on Bivol and closed 2022 with his second victory over Golovkin.
The Ring’s 2019 and 2021 Fighter of the Year did not pinpoint when he plans on returning, estimating the recovery time could fall anywhere from May to September 2023.
He did stress that he would like a rematch with Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs). Bivol, however, has a hurdle to face in WBA mandatory challenger Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (44-0, 30 KOs) on November 5 , from the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.
on May 7 at T-Mobile Arena.
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito [twitter.com].