Canelo Alvarez is training in San Diego for a second title fight at 175 pounds, a May 7 meeting against Dmitry Bivol in Las Vegas, but his second fight of 2022 is already planned.
If Alvarez prevails, as expected, he'll meet his bitter rival, Gennadiy Golovkin, in a trilogy matchup for the undisputed 168-pound championship on Sept. 17. Canelo and GGG agreed to the deal in February contingent on victories from Alvarez and Golovkin in their respective spring matchups.
Earlier this month, GGG handled business with a ninth-round stoppage of Ryota Murata in Saitama, Japan, one day after he turned 40. Alvarez said he has no plans to watch a replay of the middleweight title fight but saw highlights.
"He did what he's supposed to do," Alvarez, boxing's top star, told ESPN on Wednesday. "He looked strong like always."
Golovkin, who has never competed at the 168-pound limit, will move up to super middleweight for a third crack at Alvarez. Their September 2017 bout was ruled a majority draw before Alvarez won the middleweight title rematch one year later via majority decision in a fight-of-the-year contender.
The return bout was slated for May 2018 but postponed after Alvarez tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol. Canelo said the adverse finding was the result of tainted meat consumed in Guadalajara, but GGG didn't buy the alibi and claimed he noticed track marks on Alvarez's arms heading into the first fight.
The string of comments ratcheted up the bad blood between the elite fighters and time hasn't served to wipe the slate clean.
"He always says something about me; he always talking about me. That's why [it's personal]," said Alvarez, ESPN's No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer. "First is first: We're talking about the Bivol fight. I need to win this fight and then we'll see."
"It is not personal for me," GGG told ESPN last month. "I moved on from those fights before I returned home. I do not dwell in the past. If fighting me again is personal to him, why did it take him four years to decide to do it?
" ... Maybe he wants people to forget the first two fights because they are too painful for him? I do not know why because they were both great fights."
The first two bouts were commercial bonanzas, both on pay-per-view and at the gate, and the third figures to be no different. Still, Alvarez, 31, has expressed little interest in a third meeting after he defeated Golovkin in the rematch.
DAZN, which will broadcast the PPV, is the entity that pushed hard for the fight, along with the public at large, even if many ardent supporters of boxing claim the matchup is past its expiration date. Alvarez, after all, is peaking, while Golovkin is years removed from a standout performance.
"That fight is going to be for all the people who want to watch that fight again," Alvarez said. "[It's] special because the people want to see that fight."
Two other potential future Alvarez opponents were ringside at Saturday's Errol Spence Jr.-Yordenis Ugas bout in Arlington, Texas, but delivered their performances outside the ring.
David Benavidez told ESPN the fracas began after middleweight champion Jermall Charlo began shouting insults at his father, Jose Benavidez Sr. No punches were exchanged, but the Showtime Sports president was seen on video restraining Charlo, the twin brother of junior middleweight champ Jermell.
Both Benavidez, ESPN's No. 2 super middleweight, and Charlo, ESPN's No. 1 middleweight, have lobbied for a shot at Canelo, and his response is usually that they should fight each other and earn the opportunity.
"They need to fight in the ring, why outside the ring? It don't make sense," said Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs). "They have some problems, fix it in the ring."
"I don't care if they fight each other or not," he added. "It's not my problem."