September 11 2018
By: Jacob Ellis
After all the twists and turns in this epic saga, we go back to where it all begins. As both unified 160 lb king Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs) and lineal title holder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (49-1-2. 34 KOs) return to The City of Lights meeting once again for a super-sized sequel to their mega middleweight world championship fight on Saturday night. From T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. We cover everything between the ropes and beyond ahead of this much-anticipated event.
Let’s rewind a year to their preceding meeting. The Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico native Canelo came into that contest just weeks after his 27th birthday. The age which is widely considered to be an athlete’s absolute physical prime. GGG on the other hand had recently turned 35 several months before. Also seeing a sensational streak of 23 straight knockouts ended with a unanimous decision victory over top contender Daniel Jacobs days prior. Even with that decisive win many believed the Kazakh wrecking machine might be wearing down.
A last note on the point which must be taken into consideration. Golovkin is an elite pressure fighter. If you take a close look at boxing history, there is no comparable example of anyone with that style still unbeaten and reigning atop a division at his age. All-time great champions like Roberto Duran, Joe Frazier and Julio Cesar Chavez had further begun to trail off by their mid-30s. So this fact alone should indicate how GGG is a highly extreme outlier in that regard.
Canelo by the same coin had until then competed a greater majority of his professional career below the 160 pound limit. His grudge match with fellow countryman Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. held at a catchweight of 164.5 lbs being the first foray for him there. Looking fit and strong, he beat Chavez up over twelve rounds while scoring a lopsided UD in May 2017.
Following that, Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya along with Canelo agreed to finally meet GGG in the ring then September of last year. They fought on fairly competitive terms throughout the contest with periods where action was less than thrilling. Many felt Golovkin deserved to win. However the judges’ official verdict was a split draw.
Judge Adalaide Byrd in particular was heavily excoriated for a painfully egregious final tally of 118-110 that favored Alvarez. She apparently then got sidelined for some length of time as a punitive measure in response to that offense.
If that wasn’t enough drama let’s now fast forward to February 2018. Everything seemed to be taking shape for a second scrap on Cinco de Mayo. Yet Canelo stunningly would twice test positive for the banned substance Clenbuterol under an agreement with Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) within days leading into March. A simmering situation went full boil and spilled over as the accusations flew. Canelo’s camp vehemently defended him. But, something clearly had to be done. Which led the Nevada State Athletic Commission governing body to suspend him a period of six months for those findings.
Golovkin later filled the lost date and stat sheet as well with an early finish, knocking out late replacement Vanes Martirosyan. With that settled, there was reasonable doubt a second bout might actually ever happen. Still they managed to strike a deal. And, here we are back right where we started now. By Fate. To settle a score. Exactly the way it was meant to be.