Boxer Canelo offers apologies after Messi threat
Mexican boxing world champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez has apologized after he threatened footballer Lionel Messi online following his country’s 2-0 defeat against Argentina at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Canelo reacted furiously after footage emerged on social media of Messi appearing to step on and wipe the floor of his team's dressing room with a Mexican jersey following last week’s football match between the two nations, prompting the veteran boxer to issue a thinly-veiled threat to the iconic forward.
“He better pray to God that I don't find him!!” Canelo wrote on social media in response to the footage.
“Just like I respect Argentina, he has to respect Mexico!”
Canelo’s comments prompted numerous rebukes from influential Argentines, including UFC welterweight Santiago Ponzinibbio who stepped in to defend Messi – and even challenge the multiple-time champ to a fight.
But with the dust now settled and calmer heads having prevailed, Canelo took to social media on Wednesday to offer an apology for his comments and said that it was his turn to take an online bashing on the chin.
“These last few days I got carried away by the passion and love I feel for my country and made comments that were out of place for which I want to apologize to Messi and the people of Argentina,” he wrote in Spanish, in a message published to his official Instagram account.
“Every day we learn something new and this time it was my turn.
“I wish both teams much success in their matches today and here we will continue supporting Mexico until the end.”
Both Messi and Canelo, though, could end up happy come close of play in Wednesday's fixtures at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, with a win for Argentina against Poland and the same for Mexico in their clash against Saudi Arabia ensuring that both teams will progress to the knockout stages.