When Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin shared a ring for the first time in September 2017, the biggest blow to land that night appeared to be the overhand, which the Mexican catapulted onto “GGG’s” jaw midway through the ninth round . The speed and impact were equally frightening, but not as much as Golovkin’s stoic expression as he turned his head back to face Canelo and trotted on towards the younger fighter – an unmoved, unfazed, undeterred Terminator.
While that punch stands as one of the big viral moments of this generation in boxing, some would argue that the hardest punch to land that night in Las Vegas was the gut punch for Golovkin and his supporters as the result of his title fight middleweight was revealed with Canelo. Despite the Kazakh leading the dance with near-constant forward pressure and putting up a collection of cleaner shots than his opponent, GGG was just a 115-113 winner on a scorecard. The others read 114-114 and a stunning 118-110 in Canelo’s favour.
Twelve months later, the two returned to the T-Mobile Arena for clarity when none was needed, only to once again frustrate Golovkin more than Canelo’s offense or defense. Alvarez was declared the winner of the majority decision – one 115-113 winner on two scorecards while the other was 114-114. The fight was an instant classic, undoubtedly closer than the first of the rivals, but a significant part of the observers allowed Golovkin to win again. To add insult to the perceived injustice, the rematch had taken place four months later than planned after Canelo tested positive for the banned substance Clenbuterol.
And so Golovkin had emerged from two bouts against the ordained face of boxing with a loss – the first of his professional career – and a draw, although the consensus was he had won one of those contests, if not both.
Now, four years later, at the age of 40, Golovkin will once again enter the T-Mobile Arena for a September showdown with Canelo, hoping to document a win over his rival on the official record, not just in the mind the fans. Age is not on the modestly brutal boxer’s side, nor is weight, as he sets out to challenge Canelo.
The strange truth is this: Because as compelling as Canelo vs. GGG II was, and as interesting as their initial clash was, this trilogy fight feels outdated, unnecessary, and unfair to Golovkin.
Even those clamoring for a third fight between Canelo and GGG would have liked to have seen it sooner after their first rematch, not four years later, but the factors that were deterrents then remain so now.
Thirty-seven of Golovkin’s 42 wins have seen the Kazakh, who came out of the ring meek but vicious in it, crushing his opponents. However, his first two encounters with Alvarez seemingly proved that the Mexican’s notoriously tight chin can absorb even Golovkin’s wildest performance. In the advanced age of GGG, compared to sports, the strength only decreases; a KO shot is probably further out of his reach now than it was in 2017 and 2018. The first two Canelo-GGG fights also seem to have proved that Golovkin won’t get the nod on the judges’ scorecards; If that happened, it would have happened five years ago, if not four years ago. And while Golovkin has shown remarkable resilience against Canelo’s best attack, like failing to sell the aforementioned Alvarez Haymaker in their first bout, that resilience this time around might only show signs of a recession.
That’s what Golovkin’s fans fear: that he’ll emerge from this famous trilogy with two losses and one draw, when his performances deserve so much more. This is of course meant to anticipate the outcome of Saturday’s trilogy fight, but the majority expects Canelo to finally claim a clear win over Golovkin, possibly even a break that will drastically change perceptions of this great rivalry and lead to an unfortunate revisionism from GGG could career.
And everything stems from that first encounter with Canelo.
Alvarez was able to afford his decision loss to Floyd Mayweather in 2013; His first professional defeat against a much more experienced opponent only slightly stunted the 23-year-old’s growth as Mayweather’s successor. He was even able to afford his loss to Dmitry Bivol in May, his first loss since the Mayweather result, due to respect among fans and pundits for the Mexican’s attempt to win a second light heavyweight title.
If he had lost that infamous first fight, as many fans and critics believe, five years later he would have found himself in the position he is in now: needing a win to prove himself after a loss. Then again, perhaps more observers would have accepted a narrow decider for Canelo in the rematch, and a trilogy fight would have felt more real.
Instead, the rivals return to the same venue in the same month as their first two fights, with the same result that seems inevitable: Golovkin walks away with less than he deserves – this time with less than his career would earn.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/boxing/canelo-ggg-3-fight-preview-golovkin-b2167932.html Why Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin 3 could be a punch in the gut for GGG