Russ Anber: Absolutely. Marquez was sure to go in, and I still use him as an example today of someone that might be too good for the judges that are judging them. These judges don’t see the subtlety, the ring craft, they don’t understand the technique or the movement. The things that these fighters do are beyond them. It’s beyond the lame judge that’s watching them and to think of a more recent fight like that it would have to be Teofimo Lopez versus Vasiliy Lomachenko. I think that fight is a prime example of what we are talking about. Everyone who really knows boxing, like Andre Ward, Roy Jones Jr, Terrance Crawford, and the list goes on, scored this a very close fight. A draw or a one-round win for Lopez is acceptable, I think I can live with that. Everyone blamed Lomachenko for starting late; it wouldn’t have mattered according to the official judges. I think that’s sad, 2020 has been a crazy year. Judging in 2020 has been all over the place. No consistency and what makes it worse any accountability. That’s boxing what are we going to do, let’s just hope we can fix it.
IM: Speaking of bad judging did you see Emanuel Rodriguez versus Reymart Gaballo? That was a robbery. That decision in favor of Gaballo was horrible.
RA: No unfortunately I did not see that fight. But there you go. Nothing new in boxing. Whenever there’s bad decision everyone wants to jump on governing bodies, fighters, managers, promoters but nobody ever holds the athletic commission accountable. I think that’s a dangerous position, which they can get away with doing no wrong. Refs can make mistakes, judges can make bad scorecards and there’s no accountability. There’s no consequences. Life goes on as usual with someone getting hurt yet there’s no repercussion for that. I think that’s wrong; I think that whole system is designed wrong. The commission is supposed to be there to regulate things, to make sure the rules are followed. In my 41 years in boxing Ivan I had my worst experience ever by far with the commission representatives that were in Texas for Canelo Alvarez's win versus Callum Smith.
IM: What happened?
RA: Well, as you know I was there to work Smith's corner. These representatives didn’t act like an athletic commission enforcing the rules, they were looking to start an argument and threaten me and my team saying that we could not work Smith’s corner. They said it for nothing, simply for talking to them. They were saying watch your attitude. Attitude is not a rule. Don’t be patronizing to me, this was all about power tripping, them just being ignorant. I felt bad for the Smith team. They were foreigners coming from England, and also for myself being in boxing for 41 years. I am usually good with the commission I have no problem with the commission. The commission always knows I am not there to cheat. I hate cheaters, especially in boxing.
IM: I always say 90% of the boxing industry is amazing but there’s that small 10% that give attitude.
RA: Well it’s like life you know.
IM: Now let me ask you about Smith and the fight itself? Prior to this fight many thought that Smith was going to get knocked out but at the same time there were some fans that believed that he was going to beat Canelo.
RA: Everyone that I spoke to thought that Smith was a live dog. I’ve been with Smith since his American pro debut on the Kell Brook versus Shawn Porter undercard. I’ve been lucky enough to work his corner for many big fights, which includes his win over George Groves. In that fight, Smith won the Muhammad Ali trophy (World Boxing Super Series) in Saudi Arabia. I thought Smith was a live dog for Alvarez, a puncher, big and strong, I thought those were his advantages. It’s easy to say as we all do with our sports teams in our respective cities that when a team beats your team, we always say our team played terrible. Well the other team had a role in that. So in the end I have to give credit to Canelo. What ever Smith should’ve and could’ve done was neutralized by how good Canelo is. Canelo is on another level; he’s an elite in boxing. The number one guy in boxing in my opinion is Canelo. He has speed, power, boxing ability, ring generalship, defense, inside fighting, jab, right hand, left hooks. And he throws everything the right way. Canelo is textbook in all most every aspect of boxing and that’s what pound-for-pound means. Pound-for-pound means how good a fighter is in everything related to boxing. If we take a pound-for-pound top fighter and put him in any division he would win. There are some fighters in certain divisions that are equal but Canelo does everything extraordinarily. He is a very gifted throwback fighter who has turned a height disadvantage into a major advantage. Canelo is beating bigger guys and in his two fights versus Gennadiy Golovkin (GGG) he fought going forward. In their first fight (scored a draw), Canelo boxed well and in the rematch (Canelo won a close decision), he simply fought going forward, taking it to GGG. I think that right there shows how complete Canelo is as a fighter. It’s similar to Andre Ward and how complete of a fighter he was. Canelo is the complete package although Terence Crawford is right there with him. I still believe that Lomachenko is right there too, regardless of Lomachenko losing to Lopez but let’s face it Vasiliy had to fight a bigger guy in Lopez so we tend to forget how good of a fighter he is as well.
IM: You mentioned GGG; I don’t care about a trilogy between him and Canelo. How about you?
RA: I want to see it but at the same time, there’s a whole lot of fights out there for Canelo. Between the two fights, we saw 24 rounds between these two fighters. A third fight would be difficult because what if GGG wins, that means we would have to see a fourth fight. If a trilogy, happens it should be earned and not, well let’s just make it happen. GGG had 24 rounds to make it and maybe he didn’t. I think guys like Jermall Charlo, Billy Joe Saunders, Demterius Andrade-- there’s a bunch of other fighters for Canelo to be made instead of GGG. Yes, GGG looked well in his most recent fight yet I don’t know how his most recent opponent [Kamil Szeremata] was a mandatory challenger. Yes, GGG looked good but it was against an opponent with only 5 KOs. GGG had to look good but Canelo looked great against Smith, the number two if not the number one super middleweight in the world.
IM: What about Artur Beterbiev versus Canelo?
RA: I don’t like to when guys are trying to handicap fighters, Beterbiev is the WBC / IBF light heavyweight champion and if Canelo wants that fight I am sure that Beterbiev would be glad to accommodate him. I would love to be on the opposite side of Canelo once again. It’s always a great part to be part of it. This would be my second time being across from Canelo. I don’t like to call guys out especially since Beterbiev is in another weight class, it always bothers me when a fighter wins and people say how come these fighters don’t fight King Kong when it’s not even in his weight class. Canelo is not [really] a light heavyweight. When Canelo chooses to fight as a light heavyweight then we can talk, but the other fighters, which I just mentioned, are the same weight in the same weight class, they are still young and undefeated. No handicap, those are legit fighters.
IM: But let’s not forget Canelo fought Kovalev at light heavyweight?
RA: Beterbiev isn’t Kovalev
Pleaee visit Boxingtalk tomorrow for part two of this interview.