By Rob Blakeman, first uploaded on Boxing News 24.
The wait has made the anticipation greater. Finally, on Saturday night it will happen. Billed as the fight of the decade, two of the best boxers in the World (in any weight division) will meet for all the marbles at Middleweight. The lineal Champion will emerge from the inevitable fireworks that will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, America on the 16th.
(Photo Credit: Tom Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions)
The unbeaten Kazakhstani professional Golovkin is the favorite-but not an overwhelming one. Nevertheless, with the same knockout ratio held by Mike Tyson when his career was at this stage he is an acknowledged ferocious puncher with devastating power in each hand. He also has a chin like stone which has enabled him to make errors, get hit, and still win and it could do so again on Saturday. He will have no fear of Alvarez, for Golovkin, its business as usual-seek and destroy.
Canelo in contrast must fight the perfect fight in order to win. He is only recently fighting at Middle Weight having moved up from 147 pounds over a couple of years. He needs to stick to a well thought out game plan, show plenty of lateral movement to stay out of trouble, throw fast combinations while simultaneously using elusive head and body movement ‘bobbing and weaving’ combined with indefatigable stamina if he must go 12 rounds to win on points. He is only 26 so he’s young enough to put in such a performance but can he take the punches of a true, seasoned middleweight? Golovkin is a youthful 35 and has never been on the floor in more than 380 fights so it’s is difficult to imagine Alvarez hurting or stopping him. He must therefore clearly hit Golovkin more times than he gets hit and make it to the final bell. He must also not just get a debatable decision but win convincingly if he is to avoid the controversy of last year’s ‘pound for pound’ fight between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev. Ward won on a split decision which left a bitter taste in the mouth for many and even when Ward did a real job on his opponent and stopped Kovalev in a rematch earlier this year flimsy accusations of low blows blemished the victory for some so overall it was a less than satisfying experience even though the better man won. This has to be different if greatness is to be achieved by whoever proves to be the better man on Saturday.
Let’s be honest; It’s a big ask for the Mexican Alvarez who already has one loss on his record although this was to the flawless Floyd Mayweather. He can of course put his single bad day at the office down to experience and should really feel no shame in being beaten by one of the best fighters who ever lived but he has still tasted defeat. This time there is real danger of pain and hurt such as he hasn’t felt before along with defeat. Golovkin has never lost and I wonder, could that be the difference when they are both ‘in the trenches’ as it were? It’s hard to guess. They are both proud men and a win here will mean true historical greatness for one of them. For the loser it’s a difficult pill to swallow-to be the second best Middle Weight in the World particularly if it’s a humiliating knockout loss such as that in the final battle between two other modern greats.
The last battle to be billed as ‘Fight of the Decade’ was Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Márquez IV back in December 2012. With 3 knockdowns and displays of incredible skill and courage it lived up to the hype and Pacquiao was literally flattened by running onto a fierce overhand right thrown by a desperate and near beaten Marquez in the closing second of round six.
Can Saturday’s fight beat that for drama? Let’s all of us fight fans hope so.
Poem of a Champion.
The average runner runs until the breath in him has gone,
But the Champion has the iron will that makes him carry on,
For the rest the average runner begs when limp his muscles grow,
but the champion runs on leaden legs, his courage makes him go,
the average man is complacent when he’s done his best to score,
but the champion does his best, and then does a little more.