LAS VEGAS -- Unified middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez sat just a few feet from each other at Wednesday's final news conference inside the KA Theater at the MGM Grand, but they might as well have been a million miles away from each other.
The final prefight news conference before they meet again in a highly anticipated rematch on Saturday (8 p.m. ET, HBO PPV) at T-Mobile Arena was more business meeting than hype affair as the two fighters did not so much as look at each other or address each other. Other than a slew of thank yous, each had little to say about the other or about the fight when they were at the podium.
Canelo and GGG did not even pose for the traditional face off for the camera, the shot of two fighters nose to nose days before a fight that is supposed to help goose public interest and sales.
Because of their animosity toward each other, they also refused to participate in a joint news conference when the fight, originally scheduled for May 5 but canceled after Alvarez failed two drug tests in February for the performance-enhancing drug clenbuterol, was rescheduled after they worked out a new deal and Alvarez's six-month suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission was up for the positive drug test. Alvarez insists the positive tests were due to contaminated meat he ate in his native Mexico.
Still, it was shocking they did not pose together following Wednesday's event.
"There's a lot of emotion in this fight and neither guy wanted to face off," said Eric Gomez, president of Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Alvarez. "Hopefully, they will face off at the weigh-in on Friday."
Making the low-key news conference even more unusual was the surprise absence of Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya. Gomez ran the event in his place. A Golden Boy spokesman told ESPN that De La Hoya missed the media gathering due to a "family emergency." He provided no other details.
Gomez did his best to hype the fight that boxing fans have anticipated since the first exciting Canelo-GGG bout on Mexican Independence Day weekend last September, also at T-Mobile Arena, where the result was a highly controversial draw that left virtually everyone upset.
"This is a case of both fighters putting everything aside and giving the fans what they want," Gomez said. "The fans were thirsty for more after the first fight [last] September, and I'm happy to say this Saturday they will get Round 13 and we can go on from there."
The rematch was very difficult to make and even more difficult to put back together when they had to renegotiate terms following Alvarez's positive drug tests, but it eventually was made because it is the fight the public has demanded for each fighter and because it is by far their most lucrative. The fight last September generated about 1.3 million pay-per-view buys and the third-biggest gate in boxing history at $27,059,850. Golden Boy announced Wednesday that the rematch had sold out earlier in the day.
Tom Loeffler, Golovkin's promoter, made the point that no matter how difficult it was to finalize the deal and no matter how acrimonious things have been between the fighters -- Golovkin has been very outspoken in his belief that Alvarez was purposely using PEDs, which Alvarez has vigorously denied -- the fact is they are fighting again.
"A lot of fighters, especially top fighters, talk about fighting each other," Loeffler said. "These two warriors actually now have signed for the second time and will fight each other for a second time this Saturday night. The first fight pretty much left a lot of fans unsatisfied. A lot of people were demanding to see this rematch and here we are."
While Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs), 28, and Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs), 36, a Kazakhstan native fighting out of Santa Monica, California, didn't have anything to say about the fight on Wednesday, they did on Tuesday when they met a small group of reporters following their grand arrivals at host casino MGM Grand.
Alvarez made it clear once again that he is sick and tired of Golovkin's constant accusations that he used PEDs on purpose and Golovkin's claim that he spotted needle marks on his body.
"Those are the kicks and screams of someone who is drowning," Alvarez said through an interpreter. "Those are the excuses that they're making for what's coming this Saturday, which is a loss for them. Look, I've been monitored for most my career; I've been monitored by [the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association] since 2011, and that's why they have authorities. If I would have had something [illegal in my system] the authorities would have picked it up."
Besides the slams on Alvarez for the positive drug tests, Golovkin and trainer Abel Sanchez have taken shots at Alvarez, claiming that he ran from GGG last September instead of fighting like the warrior he claims to be.
"I'm bothered by all the stupid things they've been saying and I've been using it as motivation in my training for this fight," Alvarez said. "Maybe they said what they said to get me mad, and you know what, they did it. I'm angry, but I'm going to use it [in] my favor for this fight.
"After the first fight, I saw the errors that I made, and what I have to do. I made a complete, radical change, and you're going to see that this Saturday."
Golovkin isn't much interested in Alvarez's so-called excuses for the positive drug tests or any changes he may have made. He just wants him to come to fight.
"I just want him to do what he said he would do," Golovkin said.