It’s the fight boxing fans have been waiting months for Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin stage a rematch of their controversial draw from last year. They do battle Saturday night on pay-per-view from Las Vegas for Golovkin’s WBA/WBC middleweight titles. Golovkin comes in as the boxing odds favorite.
Their first meeting on September 16, 2007, ended in a draw, but many people believe Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs) should have walked away with his hand raised. Alvarez outboxed Golovkin in the first three rounds, but by round 4, Canelo started to show signs of fatigue while Golovkin started to find more success with his power shots. In the 5th round, Golovkin landed a very hard right hand. Golovkin continued to keep applying pressure. Canelo was a little bit tired in rounds 6-8, but he came back strongly in the last few rounds.
Just Don Trella scored it 114-114. Dave Moretti had it 115-113 for GGG. Judge Adelaide Byrd’s 118-110 scorecard for Canelo was widely criticized as one of the worst scorecards in boxing history. Byrd somehow scored 10 of the 12 rounds for Alvarez. Even Alvarez’s promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, questioned Byrd’s verdict.
Moretti, from Vegas, will be a judge this time around as well along with Steve Weisfeld of New Jersey and Glenn Feldman of Connecticut. The referee is Benjy Esteves Jr. of New Jersey.
Both sides were pushing for Kenny Bayless to be the referee because they approved of his work in the first bout between Golovkin and Alvarez. Bayless was removed from the recommended list last week Tuesday because he is unavailable on fight night for personal reasons.
These two were supposed to have their rematch in May but Alvarez tested positive for a banned substance. Alvarez was given a six-month suspension instead of the standard one year for first-time violators. Alvarez blamed contaminated beef in Mexico for his positive test and vowed to plead his case before the commission. But with Alvarez suspended because of the positive test and so little time between the hearing and the fight promoters decided to cancel the bout in May.
Golovkin did fight on that scheduled date, beating an overmatched Vanes Martirosyan by second-round knockout. As Martirosyan was on his way down in Round 2, he was hit with a hard right hook on the moment his left knee made contact with the canvas. Time was 1:53.
It was Golovkin’s 20th title fight where he successfully defended a minimum of one major belt. That equaled Bernard Hopkins record of 20 successful middleweight title defenses. However, Golovkin’s first five defenses were with Felix Sturm as super champion above him in the WBA. From October 2012, Golovkin has been the undisputed WBA champ and since then he has defended the top title 15 times.
Between the knowledge of facing Alvarez the first time and the incentive of beating a man who he thinks is a cheater is a great deal of motivation for GGG. The fallout from Alvarez’s suspension also enabled Golovkin to sweeten his purse for the rematch.
“This is the biggest fight of my boxing career because of the time for me … maybe I won’t have a bigger chance in the next few years than I have right now,” Golovkin said. “He’s a huge name, this is a huge situation and I believe whoever wins is the pound-for-pound champion. So much attention, so many sponsors, so many people watching this fight — I like this.”
Alvarez (49-1-2) will be more aggressive and take his opportunities against Golovkin, says Don Chargin, the Hall of Fame promoter who spotted the Mexican and brought him to America.
What are they saying?
“Canelo believes he made a mistake in that first Golovkin fight because he held back a little bit too much. I think he thinks he could have been more aggressive. As a result, I think it’ll be more of a barn-burner,” Chargin said.
Golovkin-Alvarez II on HBO pay-per-view has the potential to stand as the most lucrative championship boxing match since Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao in 2015, which drew 4.4 million viewers and generated $400 million. The genuine bad blood between these two is likely to only add to the spectacle.
“There was nothing special about him in the first fight,” Golovkin said. “He did not fight Mexican-style like he promised. Over the last 12 months, Canelo has shown his true self.”