An intense Los Angeles staredown signified the official renewing of hostilities between Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Gennadiy ‘GGG’ Golovkin in lead up to their third and much anticipated ‘superfight’.
The contest, to be staged at the 20,000 seater T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 17, will pit the undisputed super-middleweight (12st/168lbs) champion in Alvarez, against Golovkin the unified middleweight (11st,6lb/160lbs) champion. The bout will be held in the higher weight class.
This match should favour the 31 year old Mexican, Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KO’s) having recently fought at 12st, 7lb (175lbs) in a losing effort to Russian Dmitry Bivol and campaigning regularly at super-middle. Kazakhstan’s, Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KO’s) has never fought outside the middleweight division but, having just turned 40 years, the time looks right to put on the additional poundage and step up.
The trilogy contest is in the top three most anticipated contests in world boxing, and for a long time looked liked it wasn’t going to happen as Canelo sought out other options to cement his legacy. GGG was left to mop up the middleweights which he’s done successfully coming off a recent unification victory against Ryota Murata in Tokyo.
Canelo, until the Bivol defeat, was largely accepted as the pound-for-pound #1 in the sport. The pack has been re-shuffled and he must stake a claim again. GGG will aim to set the record straight after not having officially beaten the Mexican in their two earlier contests. He was widely viewed as the victor in their 2017 meeting but had to accept the judges calling the contest a draw and then lost a wafer thin majority decision to Canelo a year later.
Friday’s press conference picked up where the hostilities had ended. It was their first face-to-face meeting since their last fight in 2018 after barbs had been exchanged on social media in the intervening years.
The initial face off was something to behold. Lasting close to three minutes with neither fighter breaking their stare, before they responded to media questions. Canelo, first up, said “It’s personal for me, because he talk(ed) a lot of things, I just can’t wait to be in the ring”. Continuing “He’s two different people…he’s an asshole…he talks a lot of s**t”…KO is the only way I want to finish this fight”.
GGG in response, was more circumspect “I don’t think it’s personal, I think it’s a sport”. Continuing “If he has something against me that’s fine…I’m confident in order to have your hand raised you have to do a lot”.
The fight is a matter of months away but will bring an end to a magnificent collection of fights at the same venue, with the true 160-168lb champion of this generation being crowned.
Highlight of the weekend in the UK was seen in Coventry, England on an excellent night of boxing shown on Sky Sports. The BOXXER promoted event packed in solid back to back contests but the star of the show was junior-welterweight (10st/140lbs) prospect Adam ‘Assassin’ Azim (5-0, 4 KO’s) as he stopped Belgian Anthony Loffet inside 35 seconds by TKO.
There were also big wins for Sam Eggington decisioning previously undefeated Pole, Przemyslaw Zysk at super-welterweight, for Dylan Cheema at lightweight in outpointing tough Stu Greener and, female Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist Kariss Artingstall impressively winning on her professional debut.
Meanwhile over in the US, Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez stopped former champion, Thailand’s Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, to defend his WBC junior-bantamweight (115lb/8st,3lbs) title in a stunning eighth round TKO victory. He certainly looks one for the future in this stacked division and likely beyond.