The long-anticipated Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez middleweight showdown Saturday night in Las Vegas had enough of a burden to carry with the time it took for this fight to happen — three years in the making.
Then it was forced to carry the disappointing legacy of boxing’s last big fight — the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao debacle more than two years ago, the mega fight that left a bad taste in the public’s mouth.
Now the Golovkin-Alvarez bout has a new cross to bear — living up to the greatness of the Mayweather-Conor McGregor historic meeting in the ring just three weeks ago.
For those who actually believed what they saw between Mayweather-McGregor was great — or real, for that matter — the previous sentence is sarcasm.
It was so disheartening to read and hear about how many fools fell for the Mayweather-McGregor con job — not just the paying public, but the media who, at one time in this business, had a level of intelligence and knowledge that would have prevented them from writing sentences like this:
This was in the New Yorker. The New Yorker! David Remnick’s New Yorker!
Somebody was confused, all right. But it wasn’t Floyd Mayweather.
Now, those who thought they were watching a fight last month, if they have any money left over from the $100 they shelled out for Mayweather-McGregor, may need an instruction manual to watch Golovkin-Alvarez — which, at the very least, should be a good fight, pitting the hard-hitting, bigger Golovkin, the undisputed, undefeated (37-0, 33 knockouts) against the boxing artist Alvarez, who has won titles in two different weight classes but spent much of his career as a junior middleweight at 154 pounds.
At one time, when this fight was first being debated, Golovkin was the clear-cut favorite. But now, at the age of 35, some observers believe he is on the downside of his career, while Alvarez, 27, with a record of 49-1-1 and 34 knockouts, is at his peak, and is considered a slight favorite.
Two local boxing greats who once held the title belts on the line Saturday night —Keith Holmes, a former World Boxing Council two-time middleweight title holder from 1996 to 2001, and William Joppy, the former World Boxing Association 160-pound champion — both believe that Alvarez will emerge the winner.
“When you go back to my fight with Quincy Taylor (who Holmes defeated in 1996 to win the WBC middleweight title), I was ranked No. 1 at 147 at the time and moved up to 154 pounds,” said Holmes, who in retirement has developed a compression workout shirt called Ripflexxx. “I went into that fight with Taylor weighing 157 pounds, so I don’t look at who is the natural middleweight here. I just look at how a guy deals with his opponents.
“I think Canelo will do great against Triple G,” said Holmes, who said he is writing a book. “I see a lot of holes that Triple G has. He’s open for body shots and he doesn’t like body shots. I think Canelo is pretty good with getting on his toes and Triple G is basically a guy that (Muhammad) Ali would always say is always in the mud. He’s not able to bounce. I like Canelo.”
Joppy, the three-time WBA middleweight champion, also from 1996 to 2001, is also an Alvarez fan. “This is a great matchup,” said Joppy, who is working as a personal trainer, training some local fighters and also, like Holmes, writing a book about his career. “I’m leaning toward Canelo. Look at their records and the opponents they’ve faced. Triple G has never fought anyone like Canelo.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Canelo stopped Triple G,” Joppy said. “Canelo is the better boxer, and he’s tough. I know Triple G can crack and has some serious power. He has bricks in his hands, but who has he fought? I respect him, but I don’t think he is in the same elite class as an Andre Ward or a Floyd Mayweather, or Canelo.
“If you go back and watch his fights, Triple G gets hit a lot, and not just one shot, but three or four punch combinations,” Joppy said. “Canelo has gotten better ever since he fought Floyd Mayweather (losing a unanimous decision to Mayweather four years ago). He’s grown from that fight.”
Unfortunately, the public has not. They need a refresher on great fights. Saturday night may serve that purpose.
• Thom Loverro hosts his weekly podcast “Cigars & Curveballs” Wednesdays available on iTunes, Google Play and the reVolver podcast network.
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