Have you ever heard the parable of the old man, the young boy and the donkey?
The trio travel from town-to-town, sharing time aloft the donkey and time on foot. Their long, arduous journey continues to split opinion with the residents of each town. Some believed the old man was deserving of his place on the donkey,Â he had earnedÂ it through his hard work and standing within his own community. Others preferred seeing the young boy resting, rewarded for his promise andÂ potential,Â protected from fatigue.
The parallels between this old story and the initial bout between Gennady âGGGâ GolovkinÂ (38-0-1, 34Â KO’s)Â and Saul âCaneloâ AlvarezÂ (49-1-2, 34 KO’s)Â are evident. You canât please all of the people, all of the time. Some fans were adamant that Golovkin had won the fight comfortably,Â continually pushing the pace. Others wereÂ yelling from theirÂ casas, hailing Caneloâs precise counter-punching on the back-foot.Â It was ruled a split-draw.
It had been highly-anticipated and was billed as âthe fight of the decadeâ. Golovkin had been largely untested throughout his middleweight reign, whilst Canelo had climbed the divisions, leaving a mixture of devastating finishes andÂ immaculate boxing â suffering his only blemish to Floyd Mayweather.
The fight was intriguing, with the Kazakh the aggressor throughout, though not landing the concussive blows many had assumed. Canelo bamboozled him at times, slipping and sliding, infamously crackingÂ Golovkin with a thunderousÂ overhand right which the champion simply shrugged off.
The conclusion of the contest, more specifically the grand reveal of judge Adelaide Byrdâs card, had ruined what should have been a celebratory night for the sport. She scored the fightÂ 118-110Â for the younger man, stunning fans worldwide at first glance. Golovkin was hoisted upon the shoulders of his team as the uncrowned King with the fans seemingly in agreement.
âI thought I won the fight,âÂ Canelo told the post-fight press row.
âI think I was superior inside the ring. I won at least seven or eight rounds. I was able toÂ counterpunch, and even make Gennady wobble a couple times. Itâs up to the people if we fight again. I feel frustrated over this draw.â
Golovkin, on the other hand, seemed more at ease with the draw, claiming, âThis was a real fight. Look, I still have allÂ the belts. Iâm still the champion.â
Whether intentional or not, the contest had sparked debate over a potential changing of the guard at 160lbs. It seemed impossible to look past a return-bout â until Mexican meat farmers everywhere were lambastedÂ for their tainted produce. Yet, here we areâŠ The juicy second helping merely days away.
September 15th.Â Las Vegas.Â DĂa de la Independencia.
The calm, reserved, professional Gennady Golovkin is gone. Since Canelo failed his drug test for minor traces of clenbuterol, the âGGGâ camp have been relentless in their campaign for justice. The undefeated champion claimed that Canelo had shown his âtrue faceâ and also referred to the situation as âtruly outrageousâ.
Whilst there are some clear physical differences in the Guadalajara manâs physique, those could be a result of alternative stylistic preparation. Slimmer and with less muscle-mass,Â it appears Canelo is focusing on the notable speed advantage that seen him landing those flurries on the retreat.
Golovkin hasÂ appeared rattled in the last two months, seeming more-and-more frustrated at the adoration his Mexican nemesis has received from governingÂ bodies and fans alike.
âWas I upset that Canelo failed two drug tests? Yes.”Â said Golovkin.
“But I was more upset at Caneloâs team. The excuses they gave, their attitude, and Caneloâs reaction, it showed that they have no respect for the sport or the fans.â, he raved. CouldÂ his emotional investment in the fight cause him to break team?
The purveyor of the âBig Drama Showâ is now thirty-six-years-old. After flicking through the BoxRec rankings, only Anthony Mundine (#18) is older within their middleweight top-twenty. It has been suggested that September 15thÂ could be a bridge too far for the ageing force from eastern Europe. His bout with Danny Jacobs showed a notable slowing of his pace, although on that occasion was enough to clinch victory on the judgeâs scorecards.
With every heavy-footed advance, GolovkinÂ ages. Canelo Alvarez is in his athletic prime, having already boxed over fifty bouts since turning professional aged only fifteen!
Their initial meeting seemed to indicate the sharper boxing was from the Cinnamon-topped megastar. Another year has elapsed,Â with âGGGâ edging closer to forty whilst Saul calmly slides below thirty. CouldÂ thisÂ be the time to topple the unified champion?
During press week, Canelo boasted, âGolovkin knows who I am. He knows what Iâm about. Let me put it even better – he still doesnât know how much more I have left to show. Iâm looking forward to showing him that on September 15. I have toÂ win convincingly. It has to be a knockout to erase any doubts.â
His opposing number hit back, setting out his stall with only days to go until the first bell.
âI am happy to get at Canelo again.”
“It is another big chance to beat him again. Of course I wantÂ to knock out Canelo. It would be nice if Canelo came to fight this time. I donât believe what he says about how he will fight me this time. He said the same thing before our first fight. I will definitely be more aggressive in this fight.â
The fight is poised, tantalisingly in the balance. Whilst the general public may not have scrambled to join the hype train this time around, the boxing public are intrigued. Can Golovkin dig out his most impressive performance to date andÂ eradicate the threat of a sole defeat? Could Canelo embark on a championship reign at his highest weight-class, after dethroning the divisionâs most feared fighter?
On Saturday night, worlds will collide. Central America challenges eastern Europe. Sin City shall come alive once again, dancing to the rhythmic sound of leather meeting skin. There can only be one.
Article by: Craig Scott
Follow Craig on Twitter at:Â @craigscott209