“Como decimos en Mexico, vamos a dejarnos de mamadas” –Canelo Alvarez
In Spanish, mamada is a noun derived from the verb mamar, which literally means ‘to suckle’. Being such a graphic and physical verb, mamar is used in a variety of contexts to describe different actions: it can refer to a baby’s suckling, but it can also refer to the act of drinking yourself into a stupor, just as it can refer to the act of giving a blowjob. Playing on the first definition, a slang use of mamada is when it denotes a childish, obnoxious, or intentionally irritating action or behavior.
Similarly, calling someone un mamón is to label him an irritating figure who relies on a combination of games, loopholes, and/or patronage to avoid conflict: the exact opposite of a straight-shooter. So, while the political correctness train doesn’t arrive everywhere on time, it seems even Mexico has been paid a recent visit. You might notice, for example, that Mexican fighters don’t often call their opponents maricón anymore, this being a cousin to the now maligned faggot in English. Thus mamón is a very close substitute for the aforementioned insult to someone’s masculinity, conveying the same lack of cojones as maricón , but without causing any specific offense to the gay community.
It’s either telling or ironic that Canelo employed that particular phrasing when asked about a potential fight with Gennady Golovkin. This is because everyone who follows boxing knows that if a confrontation between the Mexican redhead and the Kazakh middleweight hasn’t happened yet it’s because Canelo and his team delayed the meeting so that a lucrative—if less than appealing—bout with Amir Khan could take place first.
And yet, in the interview that followed Canelo’s coldcocking of Khan, Kellerman had to listen to Canelo vent about mamadas, as if he, Alvarez, was the one fed up with this Golovkin business people kept asking him about in the weeks preceding the Khan fight. Why hasn’t the fight happened yet, Canelo? Because of these mamadas that someone else—definitely not me!—is to blame for. If only we could get rid of all these mamones and mamadas, me and Golovkin could get in the ring and settle the score once and for all! That was the feeling Canelo wanted to convey on May 7, and going by the reaction inside the T-Mobile Arena and on social media in the immediate aftermath, there’s little doubt a large portion of Canelo’s fans bought the line and swallowed it whole.
Alas, “Vamos a dejarnos de mamadas” took on an entirely different meaning in recent days, following Canelo’s decision to vacate the WBC middleweight title, the same one he acquired last year when he defeated Miguel Cotto. Golovkin has been campaigning hard to land the Canelo fight, and there’s little doubt the tone of said campaign is turning more confrontational the longer it goes on. On top of the memes taunting Canelo that Golovkin’s twitter account has bandied about, one of his campaign’s chief components is the hashtag #allthebelts, which serves to remind everyone that the Kazakh’s ultimate goal is to collect all the hardware available in the middleweight division.
Canelo vacated the WBC belt in the interest of avoiding “artificial deadlines,” according to a press release issued by his team last week. But this hardly assuaged the wrath of swathes of boxing fans, who view Canelo’s decision as exactly the sort of mamada the redhead vented against in his postfight interview. In these fans’ eyes, Canelo dropping the WBC belt will make it less likely—not more—that the Golovkin fight happens in September of this year. Since we’re on the subject, credit must be given to the WBC for sticking to what it stated previously, that if Canelo vacated the belt or failed to agree to fight Golovkin within the parameters set by the council, then Golovkin would be awarded the green belt ipso facto. For once, the WBC has stuck to its word, and Golovkin is now the WBC, IBF, and WBA middleweight champion. Thus, Canelistas posit that since Golovkin has been awarded the green belt, the Kazakh should now leave Canelo alone, and instead go look for Billy Joe Saunders to try and collect the last remaining trinket not in his possession.
But for you, or me, or anyone else to pretend Golovkin is in the racket solely to pursue belts would make us trolls of the highest order. Golovkin being handed the green belt is not—not by a long shot—enough for him and his team to walk away from the negotiating table where Canelo and Oscar De La Hoya are, by their own accounts, still sitting. A starving Doberman might stop barking at the butcher’s shop if he’s tossed a bone, but that’s only because he temporarily forgets about the loads of juicy meat inside. You better believe Golovkin and Tom Loeffler, his promoter, know at all times exactly how much meat is in Canelo’s and Oscar’s shop, and that’s why they’re going to keep barking. The Canelo fight would represent the biggest payday of Golovkin’s career, and the Mexican still holds the lineal middleweight title, so working out the terms for a match with Alvarez is still the best career move Golovkin and his team can make.
The more important question is whether the same applies to Canelo’s career. Dumping the green belt was both a brilliant move and a terrible decision by Alvarez. It was brilliant because it did away with all the pressure that had been building up and forcing Alvarez to fight Golovkin now! But with the green belt out of the equation, Canelo and Oscar can go back to the drawing board and reassess all their options for September, those that include Golovkin and those that don’t. On the other hand, dropping the belt was a terrible decision on Canelo’s part because it alienated so many fight fans, some of them already looking for the flimsiest excuse to jump off the Mexican’s bandwagon. If Canelo’s next outing is against someone other than Golovkin, it will be hard to make these fans want to watch it, and practically impossible to ask them to pay for it.
What is Canelo then, but a king without a kingdom? No one denies the Mexican is the shot caller, the kingpin, the moneymaker, the Big Boxing Kahuna; but what good does that do him if he lays claims to no domain? Canelo’s return to super welterweight is less likely by the day, if not already an impossibility. Even if Alvarez managed to boil down to 154 pounds again, there’s little money to be made there–and even less glory to be attained–against the likes of the Charlo brothers or in a rematch against Erislandy Lara. Alternatively, Canelo’s super middleweight frame renders his “I’m not a real middleweight” line outright laughable, just another mamada.
Or does it? Perhaps there’s more truth to Canelo’s assertion that he’s not a middleweight than we’d like to admit. This is not meant in the sense that he’s small for 160 lbs. (which he isn’t), but in the sense he has yet to face an opponent who packs legitimate middleweight power. So far, Canelo’s chin has barely budged when under attack by blown-up welterweights and super-welterweights: Kirkland’s, Cotto’s and Khan’s punches barely made him blink. But what would happen if the redhead got tagged cleanly by Lemieux’s left hook, the same that dropped Hassan N’Dam four times; or by the Jacobs right-hand that stopped Peter Quillin in less than a round? Given that Golovkin might be the strongest puncher in the division, Canelo’s unproven chin at middleweight is a legitimate concern not only for his team, but also for every fan who would purchase the Canelo vs GGG pay-per-view expecting a competitive fight.
This is all enough to drive some outlets to tab Canelo an underdog by as much as 4-to-1, just a notch better than the 5-to-1 odds that Khan faced for the Canelo fight, a bout which just about everyone with a pulse labelled a farce. Fans pushing for Canelo vs GGG mention it’s a “best vs best” fight that needs no further marination, but Canelo’s standing at the top of the middleweight heap is far from proven–notwithstanding the titles he lifted from Cotto–as his record shows he has never even fought a true middleweight. A seven-year-old with an Etch-A-Sketch could prove that both Daniel Jacobs and Billy Joe Saunders are more accomplished at the weight than Canelo. And even overlooking that fact, wouldn’t Canelo vs GGG become a more interesting fight if Alvarez went into it as a proven champ with a couple of title defenses against legitimate middleweights under his belt?
Whether or not you agree with the above, there is one thing we can all agree on: Canelo’s team mishandled the buildup to the Golovkin fight. Big time. The right thing to do—meaning, the thing that would’ve pissed off the least amount of people—would’ve been to fight Cotto with no middleweight titles on the line. That would’ve sent a clear signal that Canelo wasn’t ready to fight at the full middleweight limit, and much less ready to face Golovkin. It would’ve also bought time for Canelo to build a legitimate resume at 160 lbs., maybe take the WBO belt at some point, and then look at the Golovkin showdown sometime in 2017. Instead of that, Team Canelo got stupid-greedy, the kind of greed that made them go for the severely devalued middleweight titles, which Canelo had no business holding, in the process painting themselves into a corner regarding the Golovkin fight. Then they signed up for the Khan mismatch. And now we got all this mudslinging and name-calling on our hands, just a bunch of mamadas that will take a while to work through and put aside.
But it’s no use crying over spilled milk, right? So let’s move on. Canelo and Oscar now have two choices: sign up for the Golovkin fight—clearly the riskiest fight Canelo could take right now—or play the waiting game and piss off a lot more fans. As with everything in life, there are pros and cons to each option. Signing up for GGG now would give fans what they want, and it would make tremendous business; it could also result in a one-sided beatdown if it turns out Canelo was far from prepared to withstand the Kazakh’s fearsome power. On the other hand, delaying Canelo vs GGG could make it a more competitive encounter in the future, provided Canelo takes the necessary steps to become a “real” middleweight by fighting “real” middleweights. Unfortunately, delaying the fight would also mean the mudslinging and the name-calling would continue for at least another twelve months.
And if you thought this whole affair wasn’t muddled enough, this week a legal embroglio has surfaced that threatens not only Canelo vs GGG coming together, but the Mexican’s very ability to fight for money. The redhead’s former promoting company, All-Star Boxing, has been pursuing Golden Boy Promotions and Canelo Alvarez for years, claiming the kid from Juanacatlan signed with Oscar’s company while there was still a valid contract between them and Alvarez. Reports claim that Oscar tried at least once to settle the affair out of court, but like mosquitoes biting at your ankles in a picnic by the lake, All-Star Boxing just refused to go away, and is this very week in court, stating their case against Canelo and Oscar, seeking what is surely an ungodly amount of money in reparations and damages. While some view this as an opportunistic attempt on the part of All-Star to make a buck; others find it interesting that this lawsuit found its way to court at the same time Team Canelo were looking for something–anything!–that could justify putting this Golovkin business on the back burner again. No matter what you think of it, one thing’s for sure: the All-Star lawsuit has become yet one more obstacle on the road to Canelo vs GGG. Mamadas come in bunches, you see.
So there you have it. Mudslinging, name-calling, legal actions. It looks like it will be harder than we thought to pull a big fight out of all this confusion. Yet as things stand today, two truths remain unassailable: 1) Canelo is the biggest attraction in boxing; 2) Golovkin is the best middleweight in the world. And right now Canelo vs GGG is as big, in monetary terms, as Stevenson vs Kovalev, Kovalev vs Ward and Stevenson vs Ward all combined. Times five. But you can also argue that Canelo vs GGG would be less competitive than any of those light heavyweight bouts. Still, there’s a huge match to be made here, which means there’s a good chance it will happen. Will we see it this year or next? Will it be a one-sided beatdown or a genuine “best vs best” fight? Only time will tell. But for the sake of boxing, and for the sake of fans everywhere, let’s hope those handling the careers of Canelo and Golovkin know what the hell they’re doing. From Canelo’s lips to God’s ears: “Vamos a dejarnos de mamadas.” –Rafael Garcia