Canelo Álvarez accused of blocking two media critics from covering his fight

Before his win over Jaime Munguia, Canelo Álvarez was accused of influencing the denial of credentials for two well-known sports reporters, Ricardo Celis and David Faitelson.

Celis, a broadcaster who has called Álvarez’s fights for DAZN since 2018, was replaced on the microphone by Jaime Motta. Celis, with more than 35 years in boxing, said Álvarez’s team requested that he not be part of the broadcast. Celis also is a commentator on the independent site ProBox TV, alongside Juan Manuel Marquez, a former world champion and well-known Álvarez critic.

Celis was told a month ago he was going to be the play-by-play voice of the Saturday’s bout along with Claudia Trejos, his partner at DAZN, and planned to travel to Las Vegas on Wednesday. However, on Tuesday he was notified he would not be part of the broadcast team at Álvarez’s request.

“Our job there is to talk about boxing. Not everything we do paints them rosy, because that’s not the way the world is,” said Celis, a contract employee for DAZN. “Canelo sometimes does good things and we say it, and sometimes [boxers] do bad things and we say it.

“I have spent 35 years working in boxing. I have narrated thousands of fights. I’ve never had a fighter veto me or put this kind of censorship. It’s like a warning, ‘If you talk bad about me, the same thing that happened to Ricardo and David is going to happen to you.’ It is a very bad precedent.”

Celis has called Álvarez’s fights since the Mexican fought Rocky Fielding at Madison Square Garden in 2018.

Álvarez’s team representative, Kanessa Tixe, told the Los Angeles Times en Español that the Mexican boxer’s team did not handle media credentials, and had no comment to the alleged veto imposed on Celis and Faitelson.

Broadcasters DAZN and Televisa TUDN did not respond to The Times’ request for comment. Premier Boxing Champions, promoter of Saturday’s fight, said it had no comment on the matter.

Ricardo Celis and David Faitelson say boxer Canelo Álvarez blocked their fight media credentials.

Well-known Spanish language reporters Ricardo Celis, left, and David Faitelson, right, say boxer Canelo Álvarez blocked their fight media credentials.

(Celis via Associated Press / Faitelson via TUDN)

Faitelson, a well-known TUDN commentator who has interviewed Álvarez on multiple occasions during his ESPN career, accused Álvarez of denying him accreditation for the fight. The Mexican journalist, known for his criticism of Álvarez in recent years, said he arrived to the press room in Las Vegas on Wednesday and learned he had been denied credentials.

“It seems to me that this is a terrible outrage, the truth is that I still don’t understand it,” Faitelson said in an interview with Mexican newspaper El Universal. “I think Saul ‘Canelo’ Álvarez, who I think is a magnificent boxer, has to understand that criticism is part of his career. He has to assimilate it and understand it.”

On Thursday, Álvarez was questioned by digital media and washed his hands of the issue.

“Not at all, the company is the one in charge of that, I’m not in charge of that, I’m involved in my own thing, focused on what I have to do,” said Álvarez, who has had several verbal exchanges on air with Faitelson. “If the company vetoed him, he must have his reasons too. He is a person who discredits every one of my fights, so why do they want him here? I think the company has many reasons.”

Faitelson said in an interview with Diario Récord that he tried to talk to Álvarez’s trainer and manager, Eddy Reynoso, as well as Álvarez about it, but they did not speak to him.

“We all know the situation. The only thing I regret very much is that this sets a precedent and that from now on, any manager, player or boxer or whatever, suddenly says: ‘He doesn’t speak well of me, he criticizes me, so I won’t let him in,’” said Faitelson, whose coverage of fights in Las Vegas began in 1988 with a Julio César Chávez bout.

“The big guys accept positive and negative criticism, the little guys accept arrogance and tantrums,” said Fernando Schwartz, a well-known Fox reporter who has also accused Álvarez of denying him entry to one of his events.

This article first appeared in Spanish on L.A. Times en Español.

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