Five years ago today I wrote about a fight. Mayweather v Alvarez.
Alvarez was just 23 back then and very much “the new kid on the block”. The young Mexican was unbeaten, talented, quick hands and was fast becoming a superstar. Mayweather was already a superstar. At 36 he was the biggest thing in Boxing.
That fight saw Mayweather give young Canelo Alvarez a lesson in Boxing. How to hit and not be hit back.
Fast forward four years. Mayweather has retired and Canelo has had 7 more fights and won them all. Surely now he is the master of his weight division and the best there is?
Not quite. During those four years another fighter has come along, had ten fights and won them all. He seems indestructible, throws punches from every angle, hard, accurate punches that wears his opponents down until they can take no more. He has a chin of solid granite. Hit him as hard as you can and this guy does not go down. Some pundits are saying that “pound for pound” he’s the best fighter on the planet. He’s from Kazakhstan and his name is Gennady Gennagyevich Golovkin nickname “Triple G.”
So, the Boxing world held its breath. Surely these two great fighters had to meet to find out who was the best Middleweight in the world today.
A deal was done and a date was set. Golovkin v Alvarez would take place in Las Vegas on 16th September 2017. I booked it on Pay Per View at a cost of £15, my son went one better. He managed to get a ticket and flew to Vegas to watch it live.
Surely now we’d find out who was the best? No we didn’t. After 12 rounds of great boxing it was declared a draw. A very, very controversial draw.
Most people who watched the fight that night (me included) thought that Golovkin had won the fight by three or four rounds. It was close, some rounds could have gone either way, but overall it was expected that Golovkin would get the decision. One judge scored the fight to Golovkin, one judge scored it as a draw and the third judge ( obviously taking some mind altering drug) thought that Alvarez had won almost every round and gave him the decision by a wide margin.
So once again we had no outright answer. A rematch just had to happen. It was announced that it would take place in May 2018.
But in March 2018 it was discovered that Alvarez had tested positive for a banned substance called Clenbuterol and would be disciplined by Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Alvarez defence was that Clenbuterol is widely used in Mexico by farmers to fatten up their cattle before slaughter. As a fighter he has to eat lots of Meat for protein and that’s how the substance was able to get into his system. The NSAC was lenient. Alvarez was given a six month ban, backdated to February 17th (The date of his first positive drug test). The May fight with Golovkin was cancelled and rescheduled for September 15th 2018.
Now, at last, finally we’d get to see who was the best. Once again it would be in Las Vegas and once again I paid my £17 for Pay Per View.
The fight was a classic. Rarely these days do you see two fighters stand in the middle of the ring, toe to toe for 12 rounds, each taking and throwing hard, accurate punches. Alvarez was cut early on just above his left eye. Golovkins face began to puff, swell and turn purple from the middle rounds onwards. When the final bell sounded both men lifted their arms in triumph.
The UK commentators gave the verdict to Golovkin, they also said this was the opinion of their American colleagues. I thought it was close but had Golovkin winning it by two rounds. A mate of mine, Caleb Traux (former Super Middleweight Champion) was convinced that Alvarez had won it by four rounds. That’s how close each round was.
When the judges scores were announced, two gave it as a draw and one gave it by two rounds to Alvarez. He was now the undisputed Champion. Or was he?
The official stats came out yesterday. Golovkin threw 879 punches and landed with 234. Alvarez threw 622 punches and landed with 202. If you break it down round by round, in eight of the twelve rounds Golovkin threw more and landed more punches than Alvarez. So surely the judges should have given the verdict to Golovkin?
But…the more powerful, eye catching punches were thrown by Alvarez. He was the fighter that was always on the front foot pressing the action, which made it look like he was winning.
My conclusion…is that I have no conclusion.
I am just certain of two things. One, both are great fighters that would hold their own in any era, whether it was with Hearn, Hagler and Duran, or Benn, Watson and Eubanks. And secondly, there with definitely be a third Golovkin v Alvarez fight. And once again I will pay my money and watch with anticipation…