As mentioned in an earlier article, more than a few people have been badgering me with the same question: “I heard a rumor Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is training at a nearby gym. Do you know where that might be?”
In a vainglory attempt to hide my ignorance, I've been lying to these people and respond, “Of course I do, but I’ve been sworn to secrecy.”
The little white lie has put me under constant pressure. Why couldn’t he be more like Kim Kardashian with her "selfies" and give us boxing writers a heads up on his whereabouts?
Having a sports celebrity of Alvarez’s magnitude training at a nearby gym would surely be front page news. Only problem, that gym would be mobbed by fans.
How so? Alvarez's previous fight with Mayweather recorded the second all-time highest amount of pay-per-view buys at 2.2 million subscriptions, while setting a record-breaking $150-million PPV revenue and now the 23 year-old, former junior middleweight titleholder (42-1-1, 30 KOS) is training to fight another tough opponent, 31 year-old Alfredo “Perro” Angulo (22-3, 18 KOs) of Coachella, CA. Alvarez is now a hot commodity.
To be first with the scoop about Alvarez and his hideout, I began fantasizing about what it would be like to work for the TV show TMZ or another dirt digger like the National Enquirer magazine. ‘Of course, I would hire myself a private investigator. The ones that claim they can find anybody. No, that’s absurd. It would be my luck to hire a Private Dick with a reptilian brain and trunkful of firearms. Then I’d end up in court trying to explain why I infringed on Mr. Alvarez’s privacy.’
That night, I dreamt I had hired this pugnacious private eye who was a composite of Sam Kinison and Howard Stern. Not much of a boxing fan, the first thing this idiot did was go into The House of Boxing Gym in Paradise Hills (San Diego) and jack up the right arm of David Barragan the owner. Why? Because Barragan has the same last name as Alvarez’s mother before she got married. Alvarez’s birth name is Santos Saúl Álvarez Barragán. Even though Alvarez’s birthplace, Tlajomulco de Zúñiga, Jalisco, Mexico is 1,411 miles from Barragan's gym, this deep thinker thought it was his best lead.
Later, he visited a barber shop in the Village of Del Mar and asked, “Have you seen Canelo Alvarez in these parts? The barber answered, “Which movie is he in?” A customer in the next chair was also clueless, “Is he a singer?” That's where my dream ended.
Then, the other week, I’m in Pacific Beach at the office of Felipe Leon, marketing director of Mossy Ford to pick up the posters for his next Bobby D Presents Boxing Show at the Crowne Plaza Hanalei Hotel featuring Emmanuel Robles of San Diego vs. Yordenis Ugas of Miami, Fla. for the 140 lb. Interim WBC Latin Championship on February 28th. While there I received a call from a photojournalist who wanted to know - what else? - “Where in San Diego is Canelo working out?”
Leon didn’t skip a beat and went straight to his computer to pull up photos of Alvarez’s home in Carlsbad, CA, an affluent seaside resort town occupying a stretch of Pacific coastline in North San Diego County. I figured my scheming had come to an end.
Apparently Canelo had made Carlsbad his home especially after spending a lot of dough to transform the four car garage area into a gym and schedule several local San Diego City boxers for sparring sessions with Canelo and his brother who have fights coming up.
So I figured my friend, Leon, had not only spared me a lot of time he practically opened the front door to Alvarez’s home.
After discovering that he had moved to Carlsbad, I still didn't have his exact address. Surely it would be a gated community. And from those earlier photos which have since been taken down from the internet, the home resembled the home I have posted in my slideshow.
Then, on Tuesday, February 18, I'm out delivering fight posters for ESPN's Friday Night Fights and get to talking with a gym owner and he told me Canelo wasn't living in Carlsbad - he was living in Del Mar which is the next town over. How did he know? A friend of his, a chef at a famous Seafood restaurant in downtown San Diego, was preparing meals for Canelo and his entourage and having them delivered to his home in Del Mar.
The following day, Thursday, February 20, I finally confronted Carlos Barragan Jr., the gentleman who has been assisting Alvarez with his training and he confessed Alvarez was indeed living in Del Mar. As proof he showed me the 50 or more snapshots he had taken while at Alvarez's home.
On Tuesday afternoon, February 25, 2014, Saul Alvarez is scheduled to be at the House of Boxing Gym on Reo Drive in Paradise Hills, a neighborhood in San Diego proper, for another press conference to promote his upcoming fight Saturday, March 8, 2014 in Las Vegas.
In preparation, my newly hired Private Investigator purchased a Lojack device which he plans to attach to the undercarriage of Canelo's SUV or maybe his white Lamborghini to follow him back to his hideout. We will, I promise you, have resolution of this burning question.
Del Mar is the home of the Del Mar Racetrack on the Del Mar Fairgrounds where each year the San Diego County Fair takes place. Tonight, I'll be at the Bing Crosby Hall on the Del Mar Fairgrounds for the latest Boxing Show presented by promoters Jorge Marron, Paco Presents and A & T Promotions. They have a loaded fight card with many local standouts on the fight card. Fernando Garcia and Adolfo Landeros are in the Main Event.
Tonight, I will be just a stone's throw from Alvarez's hideout. Perhaps the Alvarez brothers will be attending Friday's event.
The other notables who live in Del Mar or were former residents include a who’s who from the Sports and Entertainment world.
During the late ‘60s, Desi Arnaz maintained a residence in North Del Mar on the beach west of Highway 101 near the Del Mar Racetrack after his divorce from Lucille Ball. Did you know, Desi was once arrested for brandishing a firearm while ordering people off his beach.
Songwriter Burt Bacharach and actress Angie Dickinson had a beach residence in north Del Mar near 26th street.
The current quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, Drew Brees lived in Del Mar while playing for the Chargers.
The late, great comedian/singer/actor Jimmy Durante lived on the beach for many years and even has a street named after him.
Rachel Flatt, 2010 Olympian, 2010 US Champion, three-time US Silver medalist and 2008 World Junior Champion figure skater, was born in Del Mar.
Skateboarder and business entrepreneur, Tony Hawk was raised in Del Mar.
San Diego Charger’s placekicker Nate Kaeding might still live in Del Mar.
George R. Lunn, former US Congressman and Lt. Governor of New York was a resident.
Quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals Carson Palmer is or was a resident.
Former lead singer of the rock band Journey, Steve Perry, lives in Del Mar.
Zandra Rhodes, celebrity fashion designer, splits her time between homes in Del Mar and London.
Anthony Robbins, the self-help writer and professional speaker, previously lived in "The Castle" in Del Mar.
The quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers, might still be a resident.
Jockey Willie Shoemaker lived in North Del Mar on the beach west of US 101 near the Del Mar Racetrack.
The former head coach of the San Diego Chargers, Norv Turner, might still be a resident.
It might just be a prerequisite to be "famous" before being able to purchase a property in Del Mar. I'll be checking on that.