One of the most anticipated fights of the last two years finally takes place tonight as Gennady Golovkin defends his world middleweight belts against arch-rival Canelo Alvarez in Las Vegas.
The contest been long in the making as disagreements over the timing put negotiations on hold, although fans will imminently get to witness a piece of history in the 160-pound division at boxing’s capital in Nevada.
Kazakhstan’s finest Golovkin has chased a defining night for some time now having put together the most impressive knockout record seen in recent memory, which includes an amazing seventeen world title defences.
A points win over a determined Danny Jacobs last March set Golovkin up for what is sure to be the 35 year-old’s toughest test yet against an opponent of tender years but with vast experience.
Canelo, 26, has a resume to be proud of boasting 49 wins, a solitary loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and a draw with Jorge Juarez back when Alvarez was just a young professional at 15 years of age.
The ‘Cinnamon One’ has prepared himself for ‘GGG’ by defeating Amir Khan, Liam Smith and more recently Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and heads into the Golovkin battle aiming to cement his position as the natural successor to Mayweather as the number one draw in the sport.
During a recent press tour, the two warriors met eyeball-to-eyeball to gauge each other’s mental state, whilst both were under no illusions of what kind of task lies in front of them.
“This is going to be a very tough fight against Golovkin,” said Canelo.
“There are fights that are difficult, and this is one of them. I’m going to prepare like I always do at 100 percent.
“I’m happy we are giving the fans the fight they wanted and demanded on September 16 as that is a great motivation to me.
“This is a very important fight to all of Mexican fans, and I am going to train as hard as I always do,” added the two-weight world title holder.
Golovkin said: “I’ve been waiting twenty years to be in a fight like this.
“Canelo is a different guy than anyone I have every faced. He is a huge fighter and a great champion.
“On September 16, we will both put on a great boxing show.”
On the pound for pound front, the winner can expect to be elevated above Andre Ward as the number one fighter on the planet – whilst taking home a clutch of championship belts in the process.
The fight itself is a classic match-up of power versus skill and will make for a certain Fight of the Year contender – with many experts predicting the contest will go the full twelve rounds.
Golovkin is not usually known for his one-punch devastating knockouts, it’s more a case of breaking his opponents down with every blow taking its toll until they can ultimately take no more.
Canelo will have to combat this by using his exceptional movement and attempting to get his own solid hits off to further test a chin which has so far shown to be impenetrable.
Jacobs was able to make his mark on the middleweight king, as was Kell Brook, although ultimately both struggled to deter Golovkin from coming forward and stalking both at his own convenience.
On the other hand, Canelo has had things all his own way of late after struggling to deal with Mayweather’s elusiveness in their 2013 encounter, after which the then 22 year-old has grown from boy to man.
All in all, fans can look forward to the biggest PPV offering in the United States since former Mayweather beat arch-rival Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand Arena back on May 2 of 2015 as more than two million fans are expected to pay to see the clash on HBO’s paid platform.
As we count down the clock to the first bell, we firstly look at the Tale of the Tape for GGG v Canelo followed by the last three contests with marks out of ten for each respective fighter, who in their own right have everything to gain next month.
HEIGHT: 5ft 10in
REACH: 74 inches
TOTAL ROUNDS: 172
HEIGHT: 5ft 9in
REACH: 71 inches
TOTAL ROUNDS: 353
Last three bouts:
March 18, 2017 vs Danny Jacobs
Golovkin put Jacobs down in round four and looked on his way to a stoppage win, although Jacobs regrouped to find his rhythm and eventually ran ‘GGG’ close on the cards.
Result: Golovkin UD (115-112 , 114-113)
September 10, 2016 vs Kell Brook
With the distinct advantage of being comfortable at 160 pounds, Golovkin was able to take welterweight champion Brook’s punches with minimum damage whilst inflicting maximum through his own.
In the end, Brook was saved by his corner in the fifth round.
Result: Golovkin TKO5
April 23, 2016 vs Dominic Wade
Wade was predicted to be out-of-his-depth beforehand, and so it proved as Golovkin ripped through the American in two rounds.
Result: Golovkin KO2
May 6, 2017 vs Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Despite campaigning over 155 pounds for the first time in his career, Canelo possessed way too much skill for Chavez, who was dominated for the duration of a one-sided twelve-round fight.
Result: Canelo UD (120-108 )
September 17, 2016 vs Liam Smith
Smith showed plenty of heart in the fight but was just no match for the superior power and aggression of Canelo – who was fully able to wear the Brit down before ending the contest prior to the home straight.
Result: Canelo KO9
May 7, 2016 vs Amir Khan
Canelo seemed to struggle with Khan’s accuracy and speed for the first four rounds, but began to find his range in the fifth, before connecting with a shuddering blow in the sixth to turn the Bolton man’s lights out.
Result: Canelo KO6
Final form scores: Golovkin 21 – Canelo 22
Let’s hope the fight lives up to expectations and GGG v Canelo is a ‘Mexican Style’ drama show to celebrate Mexican independence weekend.