As mentioned previously, 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 pronouncements of her daily agenda?
Having a sports celebrity of Alvarez’s magnitude training at a nearby gym would surely be front page news. That gym would be mobbed by fans. Even when he takes his family to the nearby mall, restaurant or supermarket, the fans would go bonkers. 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) is training to fight another tough opponent, 31 year-old Alfredo “Perro” Angulo (22-3, 18 KOs) of 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 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, 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 gym’s 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’s answer, “Which movie is he in?” A customer in the next chair was also clueless, “Is he a singer?” That’s where the 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 received a call from a photojournalist who wanted to know – what else? – “Where in San Diego is Canelo hiding out?”
Leon didn’t skip a beat and went straight to his computer to pull up photos of Alvarez’s new home in what was reported to be Carlsbad, CA, an affluent seaside resort town occupying a stretch of Pacific coastline in North San Diego County.
According to this Facebook account, Canelo had made Del Mar his home especially after spending a lot of dough to transform the four car garage area into a gym and schedule several local boxers to spar with Canelo and his brother who have fights coming up.
So my friend, Leon, had not only spared me a lot of time he practically opened the front door to Alvarez’s home.
After discovering Alvarez had settled in Del Mar, I still didn’t have an address. Surely it would be a gated community. And from the photos which have since been taken down from the internet, the home resembles the home I have posted below.
Then, on Tuesday, February 18, I’m out delivering fight posters for ESPN’s Friday Night Fights and get to talk with Johnny Hajjo, a co-owner of the Black House Team Nogueira gym on Miramar Road and he told me Canelo was indeed living in Del Mar. How did he know? A friend of his, a chef from a famous Seafood restaurant in downtown San Diego had been hired to prepare meals for the Canelo household. This chef works Monday thru Saturday and cooks right there in Canelo’s kitchen.
The following day, Thursday, February 20, I finally confront Carlos Barragan Jr., the gentleman who has been assisting Alvarez with his training and Barragan confessed Alvarez was indeed living in Del Mar. As proof he showed me the 20 odd snapshots he had taken while a guest at the Alvarez 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 for a press conference to promote his upcoming fight Saturday, March 8, 2014 in Las Vegas.
In preparation, my Private Investigator purchased this Lojack device which he plans to attach to the undercarriage of Canelo’s black SUV or perhaps the white Lamborghini and then he plans to follow him back to his hideout. We will, I promise, have a final 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, we’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 featured in the Main Event.
At that time we’ll be just a stone’s throw from Alvarez’s hideout. Who knows, the Alvarez brothers might be attending the event on the Fairgrounds.
The other notables who once called Del Mar their home 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 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.
Owning a property in Del Mar, might just be a prerequisite for those hoping to make it into that “rich and famous” category. I’ll be checking that out.