When Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin first shared a ring in September 2017, the hardest punch that landed that night seemed to be the overhand right that the Mexican catapulted to the chin of ” GGG”, halfway through the ninth round. The speed and impact were frightening in equal measure, but not nearly as much as Golovkin’s stoic expression as he turned his head back to face Canelo and continued walking towards the young fighter – a deadpan Terminator, unimpressed and undeterred.
While that punch became one of this generation’s biggest viral moments in boxing, some would argue that the hardest punch to land that night in Las Vegas was the punch Golovkin and his followers when the outcome of his middleweight title fight with Canelo was revealed. Although the Kazakh leads the way with almost constant forward pressure and compiles a cleaner collection of shots than his opponent, GGG was only a 115-113 winner on a scoreboard. The others read 114-114 and a staggering 118-110 in favor of Canelo.
Twelve months later, the pair returned to T-Mobile Arena in a bid to clear things up where none were actually needed, only to judge frustrating Golovkin again more than any offense or defense from Canelo. . Alvarez was declared the winner by majority decision – one 115-113 winner on two scorecards, while the other read 114-114. The fight was an instant classic, no doubt closer than the rivals’ first, but a significant proportion of observers made Golovkin win again. To add insult to the perceived unfairness, the rematch had taken place four months later than scheduled after Canelo tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol.
And so Golovkin had emerged from two fights against boxing’s neat face with a loss – the first of his professional career – and a draw, despite a consensus that he had won one, if not both, of those contests.
Four years later, at the age of 40, Golovkin will step into the T-Mobile Arena again for a September showdown with Canelo in hopes of documenting a victory over his rival in official files, not just in the mind of the fans. Age isn’t on the side of the brutal unassuming boxer, nor is weight as he steps up to challenge Canelo.
The odd truth is this: As compelling as Canelo vs. GGG II was, and as interesting as their initial clash was, this trilogy fight feels ill-timed, unnecessary and unfair on Golovkin.
Even those clamoring for a third fight between Canelo and GGG would have liked to see it sooner after their initial rematch, not four years later, but the factors that were off-putting then remain so now.
Thirty-seven of Golovkin’s 42 wins have seen the Kazakh, mild-mannered outside the ring but malevolent in it, ruffle his opponents. His first two encounters with Alvarez, however, have seemingly proven the Mexican’s notoriously stern chin can absorb even Golovkin’s fiercest production. In the old age of GGG, compared to sports, the power only decreases; a knockout blow is probably more out of his reach now than it was in 2017 and 2018. The first two Canelo-GGG fights also seemingly proved that Golovkin wouldn’t get the nod on the scorecards. judges; if that were to happen, he would have done it five years ago, if not four years as well. And while Golovkin showed remarkable resilience against Canelo’s best offense, like with the way he didn’t sell the aforementioned Alvarez hay in their first fight, that resilience may well be showing signs of shrinking. this time.
This is the fear of Golovkin fans: that he leaves this famous trilogy with two defeats and a draw, while his performances deserved much more. This is, of course, to anticipate the outcome of Saturday’s trilogy, but the majority expect Canelo to finally earn a clean win against Golovkin, potentially even a stoppage that could drastically alter perceptions of this great rivalry. and lead to a regrettable GGG revisionism. career.
And everything stems from this first meeting with Canelo.
Alvarez could afford his decision loss to Floyd Mayweather in 2013; his first professional loss, to a much more experienced opponent, only slightly stunted the 23-year-old’s growth into Mayweather’s successor. He could even afford his loss to Dmitry Bivol in May, his first defeat since the Mayweather result, due to the respect fans and pundits alike have had for the Mexican’s bid for a second light heavyweight title.
Had he lost that infamous first fight, as many fans and critics believe, he would have found himself in the position he is now in five years later: needing a win to prove himself after a loss. . Then maybe more observers would have accepted a close decision win for Canelo in the rematch, and a trilogy fight would have felt more authentic.
Instead, the rivals return to the same venue, the same month as their first two fights, with the same seemingly inevitable outcome: Golovkin walks away with less than he deserves – this time, with less than his career deserves.