Saturday Night on HBO PPV, the two best middleweights in the world will attempt to settle the score as unifed middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin faces former unified junior middleweight title holder and lineal middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez for the second time.
It is a fight, that despite the efforts of all involved, has taken twelve months to get done and the rabid fan bases of the two most popular active fighters in North America are anxious to see if the twelve rounds or less these two men will fight tomorrow will finally prove who is the better man.
In their last clash, 364 days ago, a close fight came out a highly disputed draw.
While most understood the 114-114 scorecard from Don Trella and the 115-113 scorecard in favor of Golovkin from Dave Moretti, the 118-110 scorecard rendered by Adelaide Byrd in favor of Canelo Alvarez caused an outrage from boxing fans not seen in years, resulting in Byrd being suspended for months in boxing and MMA. While there were many close rounds, the majority of fans and media thought that Golovkin had won the fight, despite an excellent performance in the early rounds by Canelo. As the fight went on, Golovkin’s high jab offense wore down Alvarez, who found himself backed up into the ropes throughout the fight. Fightbooth had it 116-112 for Golovkin, with the man from Kazakhstan taking eight of the last nine rounds.
Both men came away from that fight with plenty of things they could work on. As well as he performed, Golovkin clearly had trouble with Canelo’s speed and counterpunching style early, with many thinking he gave the Mexican too much respect. He also neglected his vaunted bodypunching attack, not getting shots to the midsection until the middle rounds. Once that body attack came in the middle rounds, the fight swung decidingly towards Triple G. Golovkin will need that body attack for twelve rounds this time.
For Canelo, his biggest problem last September may have been his conditioning. The red-headed twenty-eight year old fought very well early, using his feet to set up combinations to the head and the body. But when Golovkin started coming on in the eighth round, Golovkin seemed to tire. When he tried to rally in the tenth, he didn’t seem to have the gas to do so. Canelo will need better conditioning this time around. Also, lack of body punching notwithstanding, Triple G’s jab heavy gameplan was very effective. Golovkin also pushed Canelo consistently against the ropes, where he isn’t the best of fighters. It was definite factor in this fight.
This rematch is interesting no matter what, but this fight took a whole new complexion in March, when Canelo tested positive for the steroid clenbuterol. The steroid is commonly found in meat in Mexico, and Canelo isn’t the first fighter from south of the border to test positive because of tainted meat. This positive test resulted in the fight originally scheduled for May 5 being canceled and Canelo was given a relatively light six-month suspension.
Gennady Golovkin was pissed.
Before the first fight, there was a ton of respect between these two fighters. They almost liked each other, going back to their famous sparring session that they had back in 2011 in Big Bear, California, as reported by the excellent boxing writer Douglass Fisher. All of that is gone now. The HBO 24/7 special saw Golovkin, not bothering to speak English, call Canelo “a swindler” and saying Canelo didn’t give a damn about his fans. Whatever happened with Canelo and the steroid, Triple G believes that Canelo is a drug cheat (and Canelo’s body over the past year is some kind of circumstantial evidence.) Canelo hasn’t exactly taken Triple G’s insults lightly either. That much was evident at the weigh-in.
This anger may be the defining thing in this rematch. With the kind of emotions that neither has had before in their professional career, how will these two fighters deal? If one person has the advantage here, it might be Canelo, who had massive animosity going to into his May 2017 fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Golovkin has always kept his cool in his fights. Can he do so and execute this Saturday?
All anger aside, this fight will come down to who can make the better adjustments, as it always has been. The anger and emotion just brings a whole new dimension to this fight. Yet one thing has to be considered. When Canelo Alvarez hit Gennady Golovkin with the same right hands that had erased Amir Khan and James Kirkland, Golovkin barely flinched. It doesn’t seem that Canelo has the power to hurt Golovkin. Now that Triple G knows that, will it change the second fight? That may be the biggest question.
Yet no matter how you’re supporting, there is one thing that all fans can agree on-no more draws. It’s time to “Settle the Score,” and someone make sure Adelaide Byrd keeps her ass at home…