It would be impossible not to dedicate this week’s column to Gennady “GGG” Golovkin.
Saturday night in Las Vegas at the T Mobile Arena, Golovkin finally received the world recognition as the best fighter in the middleweight division and one of the best in the world.
Canelo Alvarez fought GGG in a very entertaining fight that had the sold-out arena chanting throughout, hoping that Alvarez would bring back those glory days of Mexican warriors like Salvador Sanchez, Julio Cesar Chavez, Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, and Juan Manuel Marquez and win the fight of his life precisely on Mexican Independence Day. It didn’t happen.
It was GGG fighting “Mexican Style,” going forward at all times, dominating the action and trying to engage in a brawl which eventually happened in the last three rounds. Alvarez decided to be the aggressor in the 10th round, too late in my personal opinion.
There was a long uphill road to get to do this fight. Too many difficult things happened and make no sense mentioning, but at the end it was a great night for boxing. Ultimately, this was the fight the WBC had mandated and it took place.
The fight was in the middleweight division, which has been one of the greatest in the history of the sport. Carlos Monzon, Nino Benvenuti, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Julian Jackson, Gerald McClellan, Bernard Hopkins, and in recent years – which created all the anticipation for this match – Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez, Miguel Cotto, Canelo Alvarez, and Gennady Golovkin.
I am extremely proud of Gennady Golovkin for his accomplishments inside and outside the ring. It has taken him too long to be the star of the sport, and this mostly due to his low key, humble way of being. He has never been involved in any scandal, which often makes people famous and popular.
He is a family man, married with two kids. GGG has remained loyal to everyone who has been there through his journey to glory – his management team, his promoter, and his trainer and mentor, Abel Sanchez. GGG cares for the sport, respects the rules and the structure, and respects the belts which recognize him as champion. He followed his dreams and continues to dream.
Gennady is the favorite son of a whole nation: Kazakhstan. He is close to his fans and is constantly doing things to help and support his country.
GGG feels that Mexico is his second home – Chavez is his hero, Abel teaches him the style, and he eats Mexican food every day. His favorite place for vacation is Cancun, and he travels to Mexico City after every fight to visit children’s hospitals and schools.
A draw. That was the official result as announced by Michael Buffer. GGG retains his titles and remains WBC champion, and Canelo proves he stepped into the ring to fight the best and was competitive in making a very entertaining fight.
Mexico has two special celebrations: Cinco de Mayo and September 16. They are so important that today, and for many years, all major promotions and champions’ schedules are planned for those two dates and work to contract them. Mexico is the second most important country for boxing in the world. As far as number of world champions, it holds the second place only behind the United States, and boxing fans from the U.S. are largely of Mexican origin and Latino countries.
The WBC created the “Adolfo Lopez Mateos” commemorative belts for these two dates to celebrate the fights taking place on these occasions. This year has been the “Huichol” belt, and a different community will be featured every year. These belts are pieces of art that have the heart of Mexico on them.
It is difficult to express the moment when GGG received the Huichol belt after the fight. He and his team are honored to take such a masterpiece uniting Kazakhstan and Mexico through a belt, building bridges of peace and harmony, of good sportsmanship, fair play and clean boxing.
Boxing is going through a sensational moment worldwide. 2017 has witnessed great fights since the first bell with Badou Jack versus James DeGale back in January. I am certain that it will be extremely difficult to select the Fight of the Year, the Knockout of the Year, and all the other awards as, fortunately, there are many to evaluate for the honors.
Floyd Mayweather placed boxing at the top of the world with the sensational fight against UFC hero Conor McGregor. Anthony Joshua brought 90,000 fans to Wembley in his fight versus Wladimir Klitschko. Claressa Shields was the main event in a Showtime fight, opening doors for women’s boxing, and we are still in September with some huge fights still to come during the rest of the year.
I refuse to write about the scoring controversy of this past Saturday. There is no room for that to overshadow the great fight which happened and the very well-deserved crowning of Gennady “GGG” Golovkin – “and still the WBC middleweight champion of the world!”