Will Golovkin's Recent Turmoil Lead to a Knockout of Canelo Alvarez?
By Hector Franco | Senior Writer and Editor
Published: July 10, 2018
This year has so far has been a tumultuous year for WBA and WBC middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs). What looked like a sure-fire rematch with rival Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) in May turned Golovkin’s career outside of the boxing ring into a “drama show.” Thankfully for the majority of boxing fans, the rematch between Golovkin and Alvarez will take place this upcoming September. However, unlike their first meeting where a significant portion of the promotion was based on the mutual respect the two men had for one another, the sequel has taken a more personal approach.
There will not be any press conferences with the two men standing face to face or any of the traditional pre-ordained pre-fight festivities. The story of the first fight, the controversy of Alvarez’s failed drug test and now the animosity that has come to surface between the two men will be more than enough to promote the rematch.
For Alvarez, the rematch will be his opportunity to avenge a fight that a vast majority of observers had him losing. More importantly, a victory for Alvarez can further alleviate the ramifications of having a positive drug test on his record with those who will forever believe that the young Mexican has always been a drug cheat.
Golovkin, on the other hand, is more complicated. To make a bout with Alvarez, Golovkin had to make many sacrifices. Many fighters have had to in the past to play in the same sandbox with boxing’s current prominent superstar. The question now is if the dynamic Kazakhstani puncher has been pushed to a point where he will attack Alvarez with the same ferocity he did against fighters like Kell Brook or Curtis Stevens.
When Golovkin first made his United States boxing debut in 2012, he was fighting three or four times per year. That activity level assisted Golovkin to grow in popularity and kept him fighting at an optimum and consistent level. Since Golovkin set his sights on fighting Alvarez, he has been relegated to the boxing norm of fighting once or twice per year. At 36 years of age, fighting once or twice a year may not be the worst thing in the world for Golovkin. However, for a fighter who enjoys stepping inside the squared circle, the more he fights the sharper and better he becomes. The other side of the argument would be that the higher level of competition in Daniel Jacobs and Alvarez is a stronger case for Golovkin’s recent less than stellar performances than just his activity going down.
When the decision was read that the first Canelo-Golovkin bout was declared a draw with an outrageous scorecard awarding Alvarez with ten rounds it sent waves through the boxing landscape. Golovkin had finally made it to the pinnacle of the sport to have one judge seemingly fill out their scorecard before the first bell rang. The sport of boxing is not a novice when it comes to controversial decisions and bad scorecards making it almost a constant occurrence. The decision made it clear for Golovkin that he will have to do more than just win rounds to get a victory over Alvarez.
The disappointment and stench of the first Canelo-Golovkin decision was subsided by an immediate rematch that was set to take place on May 5th. Nothing can help a fighter get over a controversial decision than a multi-million dollar payday against boxing’s biggest star. Then Alvarez tested positive for the banned substance ‘clenbuterol.’ The positive test caused a ripple effect that led to Alvarez being suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission and the cancellation of the rematch.
It was thought that Golovkin would wait until Alvarez’s suspension was over to step back in the ring. However, Golovkin was not at fault in any way for the rematch’s cancellation. He was a victim of circumstance that decided not to adhere to Alvarez and his teams’ demands as he chose to continue with the idea of fighting on May 5th. Finding the right opponent would be more daunting than it seemed.
There were many options for opponents for Golovkin such as former 154-pound champion Demetrius Andrade and IBF middleweight mandatory Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Golovkin and his team decided on perennial 154-pound contender Vanes Martirosyan. Golovkin and his team’s decision to face Martirosyan was met with a large amount of backlash. Martirosyan had never fought at middleweight and had been out of the ring for almost two years before facing Golovkin. This put the Kazakhstani puncher in a no-win situation. He would be given no credit for a victory over Martirosyan and criticized if he ran into any trouble with the Armenian fighter.
Luckily for Golovkin, he made quick work of Martirosyan knocking him out in the second round. The IBF did not sanction Golovkin’s bout with Martirosyan and would soon strip him of his IBF middleweight championship. In many ways, this could have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.
For years, Golovkin and his team promoted his goal of obtaining all of the major world titles at middleweight. The belts matter to Golovkin. From Golovkin’s perspective since his pursuit of Alvarez he has suffered from a lack of activity, fights being delayed and canceled and new levels of backlash from fans. Now one of his world titles has been taken away from him. These happenings cannot all be blamed on Alvarez. However, it will likely be used as added motivation for a fighter known for his knockouts.
The first Canelo-Golovkin bout was labeled as one of the best middleweight fights of all time. Much of that praise may be from the lack of pay-per-view events that produce an entertaining match. One does not need to look back too far to find a better middleweight title fight with the first Kelly Pavlik and Jermain Taylor having taken place in 2007. The rematch has the potential to produce a bout with more action and back and forth exchanges. The bad blood between the two men can impact how they will perform in the ring. Whether it causes Golovkin to fight Alvarez with more reckless abandon will be determined on fight night.
The way both Alvarez and Golovkin have been behaving and speaking about each other, September 15th cannot come soon enough. In boxing, a knockout can happen at any moment. In the case of the rematch between Alvarez and Golovkin, it may come down to who wants it more.
(Featured Photo: Ed Mulholland/HBO Sports)