Over the past three weeks, more than a few people have either come up to me or called me with this simple request: “I heard a rumor Saul “Canelo” Alvarez was training at a nearby gym. Do you know where that might be?”
In a vainglory attempt to hide my ignorance, I lied and answered, “Of course, but I’ve been sworn to secrecy.”
The little white lie put me under tremendous pressure. Why couldn’t he be more like Kim Kardashian with her "selfies" and her announcements of where she will be on a daily basis?
Having a sports celebrity of Alvarez’s magnitude training at a nearby gym would surely be front page news. Alvarez would be mobbed by fans even when taking his family to the nearby mall, restaurant or supermarket. Anything he touched would become an instant souvenir.
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) was training to fight another tough opponent, 31 year-old Alfredo “Perro” Angulo (22-3, 18 KOs) from Coachella, CA.
In Angulo’s last fight, he knocked Erislandy Lara down twice, but then suffered serious damage to the orbital bone by his left eye and had to quit in the 10th round.
To be first with this scoop about Alvarez and his hideout, I began fantasizing about what it would be like to work for TMZ or another dirt digger like the National Enquirer magazine. ‘Of course, I would hire myself a private eye. 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 going to court to explain why I was infringing 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 does is go into The House of Boxing Gym in Paradise Hills 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 the gym, this deep thinker felt it was his best lead.
‘Later, following up on a second lead, he hits up a barber in the Village of Del Mar and asks, “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, last 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 receive 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 new rental home in Carlsbad, an affluent seaside resort city occupying a seven-mile stretch of Pacific coastline in North San Diego County. My subterfuge had ended.
Apparently Canelo has made Carlsbad his home for the next couple months - especially after spending lots of dough on transforming the large garage into a gym and scheduling several local San Diego City boxers for sparring sessions with Canelo and his brother who also has a fight coming up.
So my friend, Leon, not only spared me a lot of time but any expense involved in hiring an abrasive, gangster-like private eye. The savvy Leon had practically opened the front door of Alvarez’s hideout.
When thinking back to this dilemma, I should have been more Columbo-like and asked, “Where would Alvarez, a lover of nature, especially flowers, live if he wanted complete privacy, live close to the beach, spend an afternoon with his daughter at either Legoland or Disneyland, be close to Mexico and yet live in a neighborhood where the residents wouldn’t know him from Adam? My Where’s Waldo search should have been a lot easier.