When Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin shared a ring for the first time in September 2017, the hardest punch landed that night seemed to be the Mexican’s right-over-height punch in the chin of “GGG” in the middle of the ninth round. The speed and impact were equally frightening, but not as much as Golovkin’s stoic expression as he turned his head towards Canelo and continued to slowly advance towards the young warrior—a motionless, unaffected, unyielding Terminator.
While that punch may have waned as one of boxing’s greatest viral moments of this generation, some might argue that the hardest shot to land that night in Las Vegas was the gut punch to Golovkin and his supporters as a result of the middleweight title fight. Came up with Canelo. Despite Kazakh leading the dance with almost constant forward pressure and collecting cleaner punches than his opponent, GGG only won 115-113 on a scorecard. Others read 114-114 and a staggering 118-110 in Canelo’s favor.
Twelve months later, the pair returned to the T-Mobile Arena for clarity where nothing was actually needed, only to decide that they disappointed Golovkin once again more than any offense or defense from Canelo. Alvarez was declared the winner by majority decision – he had won 115-113 on two scorecards and the other read 114-114. It was a classic at the time of the fight, undoubtedly closer than the first of its rivals, but a significant part of the observers again won Golovkin. To add insult to the perceived injustice, the rematch took place four months later than planned after Canelo tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol.
And so Golovkin ended up with a defeat in two fights against the blessed face of boxing – the first of his professional career – and a draw, although it was agreed that he did not win either of these competitions.
Now four years later, at the age of 40, Golovkin will once again enter the T-Mobile Arena for a September match against Canelo, in the hopes of documenting his victory over his opponent not only in the minds of the fans but into the official dossiers. There is no age on the side of the modestly brutal boxer, neither is the weight as he rises to challenge Canelo.
The strange fact is that as compelling as Canelo vs GGG II and as interesting as their first clash, this trilogy match seems premature, unnecessary and unfair to Golovkin.
Even those clamoring for a third fight between Canelo and GGG would have liked to see it sooner rather than four years after their first rematch, but factors that were troubling at the time are now.
Thirty-seven of Golovkin’s 42 wins saw the meek outside the ring but malicious inside the Cossack crush his opponents. But his first two meetings with Alvarez apparently proved that the Mexican’s notoriously hard jaw can absorb even Golovkin’s wildest output. In the advanced age of FGG, strength only decreases; a knockout shot is probably farther away than it was in 2017 and 2018. The first two Canelo-GGG fights also proved that Golovkin wouldn’t be a nod to the judges’ scorecards; If that were to happen, it would have done it five years ago, or even four years ago. While Golovkin has shown remarkable resistance against Canelo’s best offense, as in the aforementioned way of not selling the Alvarez haymaker in his first match, this resistance may only show signs of stagnation this time around.
This is what Golovkin fans fear: he will leave this famous trilogy with two losses and a draw, but his performance will guarantee much more. This is, of course, to preempt the outcome of Saturday’s trilogy match, but the majority should see Canelo eventually get a clear win against Golovkin, a pause that could potentially drastically change perceptions of this great rivalry and lead to an unfortunate revisionism of GGG. waiting. career.
And it all stems from his first encounter with Canelo.
Alvarez could have risked his decision defeat against Floyd Mayweather in 2013; His first professional loss to a much more experienced opponent only slightly hindered the 23-year-old’s growth as Mayweather’s successor. He could even risk a defeat to Dmitry Bivol this May, his first loss since the Mayweather result, out of respect among fans and pundits for the Mexican’s bid to win 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 now occupies five years later: needing a victory to prove himself after a defeat. Then perhaps more watchers would have conceded a close decision win for Canelo in the rematch, and a triple fight would have felt more real.
Instead, the opponents come back to the same place in the same month as their first two games, and the same outcome seems inevitable: Golovkin with less than he deserves – this time, with less than his career deserves.