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Canelo Alvarez: GGG fight ‘couldn’t have come at a better time’

23
Jun

LOS ANGELES — For all the talk about Canelo Alvarez ducking Gennady Golovkin, could the timing of the fight be better?

Had it taken place immediately after Canelo beat Miguel Cotto at a catch weight of 155 pounds to win the RING championship in November 2015 – when talk of a Canelo-GGG clash began in earnest – Golovkin would’ve been a prohibitive favorite to win.

Now some knowledgeable observers are picking Canelo to prevail. A lot can change in a relatively short time.

Canelo was still essentially a junior middleweight and Golovkin was on one of the most dominating streaks in recent years, having stopped 21 consecutive opponents, at the time Canelo fought Cotto.

The Mexican star raised the ire of many fans when he opted to defend his title against Amir Khan and then face Liam Smith for a 154-pound title rather than defend against Golovkin – after indicating GGG was next – but he didn’t consider himself a full-fledged 160-pounder at that point.

It wasn’t until he met Smith, this past September, that he knew with certainty that he was a middleweight. He said that in the late rounds of the fight, in which he stopped the overmatched Englishman in nine rounds, he felt weakness in his legs.

That was his cue: he was ready to take the next step.

“I realized making that weight was taking too much of a toll on my body. I realized I had to move up in weight,” he said on the final leg of the promotional tour for his September 16 showdown with GGG.

Canelo felt like a new man on May 6, when he fought Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at a catch weight of 164.5 pounds and won every round on all three cards. One indication of his leg strength and energy level: He didn’t bother to sit down between rounds.

“Yes, my legs felt very good, very strong,” he said.

Meanwhile, since the Canelo-Cotto fight, the perception of Golovkin changed. That knockout streak was at 22 when he faced Kell Brook in September. GGG made it 23 when he broke Brook’s eye socket, but we saw moments of vulnerability that we had never seen before.

And then the streak ended against Daniel Jacobs in March, when Golovkin won a close, disputed decision to retain his three sanctioning-body titles.

He remained one of the best fighters of the world but, it seemed, he was no longer superhuman.

“I think those weaknesses have always been there,” Canelo said. “We just hadn’t seen them before because his opponents were perfect opponents (for him). They stood right in front of him to be hit. Now you had an opponent who moved a little and it gave him problems. That’s why he struggled.

“I’m a versatile fighter. I can do it all, I can change up. I’ll do whatever has to be done … to stay a step ahead of him.”

Golovkin was asked about such perceptions, which don’t seem to bother him. “I’m very comfortable,” he said. “Seriously, I know my (abilities), I know my power.”

The only thing that matters to the 35-year-old Kazakhstani is that he has a date with Canelo in September.

And, of course, that should be no surprise given his history. Golovkin, who has been fighting professionally for 11 years, had gained the unenviable reputation as the most-avoided boxer in boxing. It got to a point where he had to wonder whether he’d ever get anything resembling a superfight.

Thus, he couldn’t be more pleased to have landed Canelo.

“This is the story of my career,” GGG said, referring to his frustration. “It wasn’t my fault. I remember the situations … Sergio Martinez, Felix Sturm, Miguel Cotto, Canelo. Now I have the real deal fight. I’m excited.”

So are the fans.

A few years ago, a talented junior middleweight vs. the most-feared figure in the sport would’ve been a good matchup. Today, a more-developed, legitimate 160-pounder vs. an excellent fighter deemed to have flaws is a far more intriguing showdown.

From both a competitive and business standpoint, the timing was perfect.

“The fight arrives at the best moment,” Canelo said. “I’m more mature, a better fighter with more experience than, say, two years ago. It couldn’t have come at a better time.”

Michael Rosenthal is the Editor-In-Chief of THE RING Magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @mrosenthal_ring

  • Koninbeor

    How is now the perfect time? The perfect time to fight the best in your division isn’t when you win the title in that division? You’re the champion but you don’t belong there? I’m not buying this fight. I’m glad that GGG will make career high earnings with this fight but I’m not lining Canelo’s pockets. I’m much more interested in Jacobs getting dibs on the winner.

    • Are you out of your mind?

      • Harry

        Probably he is not a hardcore fan so a mock show intrigues him more than a boxing match.

        • Koninbeor

          You clearly haven’t read any of my comments on that spectacle.

      • Koninbeor

        Only on Tuesdays, Dougie. Only on Tuesdays.

    • Stephen M

      I’m not buying it either but I’m watching it. No?

      • Koninbeor

        I’ll watch the replay, not the live show.

    • Terry Cochran

      Assuming GGG wins I would like to next see Canelo lose again against Jacobs.

  • Danny Perez

    I agree 100% with this article.

  • peter fr

    come on watch ggg vs Jacobs then watch canelo vs chavez this is a joke its a beat up if it go 6 rounds Ill go he GGG beats the shit out of canelo its a mismatch

  • peter fr

    canelo is made for GGG he is going to hurt him don’t care what anyone says

  • Cashtime

    Wish we could just fast forward this, because if you think for a second Canelo has a chance you’ll be fooled after the blowout into thinking GGG is the best since Ali. GGG has a lot more tools than just punching, he has a tremendous chin, sharp accurate punches and as he proved against Stevens and Lemeuix big bombers he can outbox an opponent too. I’d give him 10 rounds to wear down Canelo who will start strong and hard but will fade down the stretch.

  • Gilberto Torres Jr.

    I can’t wait for this showdown. It’s great seeing Golovkin finally get the big fight he’s been yearning for all these years. Even though he’s 35 he’s got less wear and tear than Canelo. Canelo has fought 353 rounds compared to Golovkin’s 172. Golovkin has campaigned at 160 for his entire career and Canelo couldn’t even take out a drained Chavez Jr. 164.5.

  • dmj182

    This is a better fight than the con job that is being pulled in August with Mayweather and McGregor. Mayweather with a professional record of 49-0 vs a fighter who is 0-0 as a boxer. This fight is between 2 elite fighters who have a combined record 86-1-1 with 67 KO’s. Both with styles that guaranties fireworks. I won’t buy the con job but I will be buying this fight.