Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin seek their places in boxing history
Middleweight bout has all the hallmarks of a classic
Now that the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor circus has left town, attention shifts to Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez and their showdown for middleweight boxing supremacy.
For those who were disappointed by last month’s so-called superfight between a boxer and a UFC fighter that was staged before a less-than capacity crowd, Saturday’s sold out world title contest at the same T-Mobile Arena will be welcome change.
Kazakhstan’s three-belt champion Golovkin against Mexico’s biggest star Alvarez is one of the most anticipated fights in years, featuring the most explosive fighters in the division.
“This is a fight boxing can be proud of. It is boxing’s biggest fight. It is a fight for history,” said Golovkin.
Most people don’t think this will go the distance as both fighters are skilled ringmasters and have the ability to deliver knockout blows when the opportunity presents itself.
They both prefer to do their talking with their fists and their fight was always a matter not of if, but when, as they need each other to validate their places in boxing history.
Golovkin, who will be making his Las Vegas debut, has fought his entire career at 160 pounds (72.5kg) while Alvarez, 27, fought just once above 155 – in his last fight against Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr.
The undefeated Golovkin, whose World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation titles will be on the line, said he is expecting the toughest fight of his career against a boxer six years his junior.
“This is my biggest fight,” he said. “I worked hard to become champion of the world. I worked hard with Abel (trainer Sanchez) to stay champion of the world.”
Alvarez also expects a difficult fight.
“He is the most dangerous opponent of my career, but I’m ready for him and what’s next to come,” said the former WBC and WBA super welterweight champion.
“We know that in fights, it takes two to tango. I’m ready, and you know what you’ll get from me.”
Alvarez, who is gunning for his 50th career win, is coming off a lopsided win over of Chavez on May 6. He beat Chavez by unanimous decision as all three judges scored it 120-108.
In his last fight, Golovkin outpointed Daniel Jacobs at Madison Square Garden in New York. Jacobs had an unexpected surge over the final three rounds before losing by a narrow decision which led some to believe that the 35-year-old Golovkin might be starting to show his age.
Alvarez’s biggest fight before this one was a 12-round loss to Mayweather in 2013 in an entertaining fight which Mayweather deserved to win. Alvarez was also held to a draw by journeyman Jorge Juarez in 2006 when he was 15.
Alvarez’s trainer Eddy Reynoso said his fighter has improved a lot since the Mayweather loss.
“He is more mature, a more complete fighter,” said Reynoso on Thursday at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. “You always learn something from victories but defeats teach you more.
“You can see the mistakes you made and you learn not to go that route again. He learned a lot from that defeat to become a better fighter.”
Golovkin is one of the best conditioned athletes in the sport. He even missed the birth of his second child on Friday because he was in the gym training. He stayed in the gym for two hours after his wife, Alina, gave birth to the couple’s first daughter.
Golovkin may be the champion but he is not the overwhelming favourite and Sanchez says the crowd inside T-Mobile will be decidedly for Alvarez.
Golovkin said even if the crowd is for Alvarez he will enter and leave the ring as the champion.
“The biggest day is coming. This is a true fight, there is a lot of money coming,” Golovkin said.
“I bring my belts, all my belts. I feel like a champion. This is my game, this is my fight, I am the boss.”