Abel Sanchez, you have seen his name in the news a good bit last week.
The California-based tutor has been a newsmaker of late but he’s more often seen on the outskirts, as support staff, as an integral member of the fight team of A-grade pros. In that vein, he’s seen Canelo Alvarez up close and personal over a span of 24 rounds, and he also has been able to assess Daniel Jacobs up close.
Sanchez was with Gennady Golovkin from when GGG was 18-0, until now. The Kazakh boxer announced last week that he was going in a different direction, and would be working with another cornerman for his next fight, which will unfold June 8 at Madison Square Garden on DAZN.
Sanchez didn’t mince words, and stated quite publicly that he didn’t like how this split went down. Money mattered too much, he said, and he was standing by principal. Him and GGG agreed upon a split when he was 18-0, and the agreement was working all the way up to those two fights with Canelo — and then, GGG wanted a change. Sanchez didn’t want to work for a lesser ratio of pay, and the two partners dissolved their match. These things happen, the fighter/trainer alliance can be much like a marriage. Familiarity can breed love and loyalty, and then contempt and animus. People grow and grow apart, or they grow closer to someone else, who maybe convinces them to see an old situation through new eyes. Change is the only constant.
So Sanchez, with whom I chatted Tuesday, will adapt. He will continue to work with fighters like Murat Gassiev, Michel Soro (who’ll be fighting Brian Castaño for a WBA crown), Arsen Goulamirian (who is going to be named WBA cruiserweight “world” champion in May), and Serhii Bohachuk, who fights May 19 and is 13-0 (13 KO).
“These guys are in the gym now,” Sanchez confirms.
So he’s staying quite busy. I asked Sanchez his take on that Saturday night middleweight clash in Vegas between Canelo and Jacobs, two men who he’d seen in close quarters for long spells. His guy on those nights went 0-1-1 vs Canelo, according to judges, and 1-0 versus Jacobs.
So, Abel, what do you think we’ll see Saturday, at T-Mobile, in Las Vegas, and on DAZN streaming service? Me, I see this as a 60-40 fight in favor of Canelo. I like Canelo’s belief in self. I like his temperament in the ring. The patience, for me, really stands out, I told Sanchez.
“Yes, better skills, speed. It will be close for seven to eight rounds,” Sanchez told me, “then Canelo takes the last part of fight.”
Sanchez sees this one going the distance, for the record.
—Michael Woods worked at NY Newsday and ESPN The Magazine and currently publishes NYFights.com, and calls fights for Facebook FightNight Live.