Thursday, March 22, 2018  |


GGG, long avoided, finally has superfight he’s yearned for vs. Canelo

Photo by Tom Hogan / Hoganphotos-Golden Boy Promotions


LAS VEGAS — One by one, they fell at the hands of Gennady Golovkin.

Pulverizing left hooks and damaging right crosses inflicted punishment that led him to 23 consecutive knockouts and 17 successful title defenses.

But like an ugly duckling, GGG couldn’t secure a fight befitting his elite status. Miguel Cotto? He was the lineal champion but had no interest in facing such a ferocious puncher. Sergio Martinez? Ditto. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Carl Froch and Canelo Alvarez, for a time, all weren’t exactly pushing their way to the front of the line to meet Triple-G.

Instead, Golovkin was forced to dispense of middling foes like Dominic Wade, Curtis Stevens and Willie Monroe. These certainly weren’t the sort of matchups Golovkin envisioned when he traveled from Kazakhstan to Los Angeles with designs on greatness. Make no mistake, though: Greatness was his.

Frustration had set in. Would his moment ever come? Would he ever find himself smack-dab in the middle of a Las Vegas fight week, his name in bright lights, the stakes so high that to push the red and black chips all in could mean losing everything he’s worked so hard for?

It all seemed so far away then — even just six months ago.

“You just gotta keep winning; success is the best medicine for jealousy and envy,” Golovkin’s trainer, Abel Sanchez, recalls telling the fighter who was down in the dumps, unable to secure the kind of dance partner he deserved. “So just keep winning. Just keep doing what you’re doing, keep knocking people out. Eventually, those guys are going to have to come to you.”

Finally, they did — well, one man came knocking: Canelo.

The red-headed Mexican heard the fans; heard the media’s outcry to accept the challenge and meet boxing’s so-called boogeyman.

Golovkin, now 35, found himself in a very new position Tuesday on a plush couch just outside the MGM Grand lobby. He was surrounded by cameras and microphones, a black Air Jordan hat emblazoned with his initials, GGG, in gold. This time, Golovkin wasn’t there to discuss some fight he didn’t particular care for. Some challenge he didn’t relish. Finally, the time was here. The sort of event every great boxer wishes for.

“This fight is more important for boxing,” Triple-G said. “This is a true fight. It’s not show. It’s not money fight. … Who’s pound-for-pound (No. 1)? Who’s maybe the biggest face in boxing? Biggest fight. Biggest champion.”

Frustration was never apparent during those arduous days at Sanchez’s Summit Boxing Gym in Big Bear, California. Golovkin always gave it everything there. But other times? The disappointment of trudging through another ordinary bout was clearly wearing on the Olympic silver medalist.

“You saw the frustration, like in the Monroe fight, when he put his face out like ‘hit me, let’s give the fans a show,'” Sanchez said. “Then you have the IBF demanding that we fight Wade or even Tureano Johnson … that’s frustration for these guys.

“When they get to a certain level, it’s like a sparring match. It’s not worth the effort of going through training camp. Because training camp is just as physical and just as demanding and just as hard for Canelo as it is for a Monroe or a Wade.”

The consternation was present for a long time, spanning from Golovkin’s U.S. debut in September 2012 to earlier this year, when it seemed the superfight was just as far away as ever before. Then, in May, after Canelo beat Chavez Jr., Golovkin suddenly was in the ring to finally announce the bout we’d — he — had all been waiting for.

In that moment, the frustration was gone. Washed away like a seashell in the high tide.

“Now, all the talking is through,” Sanchez said. “We have to see if we can prove it.”

Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger


    Why is GGG dressed like a hotel bellhop?

    • Kiowhatta

      Yeah he needs an wardrobe consultant. He hasn’t shed the kazakh 80’s fashion sense.

      • Stephen Coyle

        He’s GGG he makes fashion.

    • Giuseppe

      Because he’s dumping that ginger baggage in the basement!


        Racist! Haha.

  • Kiowhatta

    I’m hesitant to say it but watching these guys workout, their last performances, etc – I see Canelo employing a slick defense with fast combination punching whilst GGG is moving forward trying to cut the ring off and pressure Saul with his power; but Canelo is comfortable with this style, and I think his footwork and upper body movement are underrated.
    He will get the better of the exchanges as Golovkin has slowed down his combo’s, preferring to set up the jab, and throw well timed power shots.
    Alvarez will be training to go the distance, outmaneuvering GGG and unloading faster more voluminous shots.
    Not the best analogy, but I see this a little similar to the Hagler – Leonard fight.

    • Keano

      I’m still not convinced that Canelo can stand up to GGG’s power

    • Left Hook2

      I just have a hard time envisioning Canelo being able to escape from being cornered. He doesn’t have footspeed or body type of SRL, so I don’t think he can keep the shoe-shining up for more than 6 rounds. After that he slows down and is in GGG’s range. Jacobs is quicker than Canelo, and ate a ton of jabs even while trying to stay away. I am just happy for GGG that he is getting his chance to shine. It is all on him now.

      • Julio

        Canelo certainly doesn’t have the foot speed or foot dexterity to stay away from GGG. It is not his style anyways. His upper body movement is what is going to bail him in several situations. The problem he has is that GGG will not go after him in a straight line throwing mindless bombs, but rather walk him down behind that stiff jab measuring him with every shot. Canelo will have to fight at some point. He has to hurt, or at least earn GGG’s respect, otherwise he will get manhandled to a late stoppage.

    • Harry

      When Andre Ward was asked about the odds, the first thing that came to his mind was size difference. He said Golovkin’s advantage in height, reach and power can be crucial in this fight. Canelo will have a hard time closing the distance or countering Golovkin’s jab.

    • Julio

      Problem is that Canelo can/won’t run like Leonard did. He definitely has the faster hands, but he also operates based on what the opponent bring to him. For the first time freckled face will deal with someone that is a true puncher, at his natural weight class, not someone that is moving up or down in weight. I can see Canelo outmaneuvering GGG in spots, but not for the entire fight. In the end, to me is about how Canelo will respond when he gets nailed with a couple of hard shots, then we will finally see what Canelo is truly made of.

    • John Newman

      God, I hope you’re wrong. I don’t think Canelo has the footwork of a Leonard or a Mayweather (not even close), but I would agree that scooting laterally around the ring (a la Danny Jacobs) is by far his best chance to win. I think GGG is too good at cutting of the ring to let that happen (and he won’t be content to outbox Canelo like he outboxed Jacobs).

  • Giuseppe

    But is it too late?

    To say Canelo ‘came knocking’ is ludicrous. He hid under the bed until the big bad wolf got a bit puffed out.

    • RayK

      Yeah, about the ‘came knocking’ part…

    • Julio

      Yeah, that part that Canelo “came knocking” had me cracking up a bit.

    • John Newman

      Perhaps he meant to knock on May 7 2016, but then Oscar got his ear and he went somewhere less threatening.

      It’s telling (concerning GGG’s dominance) that the only real question about this fight is whether or not he’s far enough past his best for Canelo to actually challenge him.

  • BobbyPFalcon

    Martinez was an injured spent bullet. Cotto moved up in weight, and has said he isn’t a true middleweight. Froch? He’s a super-middle, and was also retired when GGG wanted a fight… Chavez? Are you kidding me? None would come knocking. I agree GGG has been ducked but this article could have been a bit better-researched…

    • Turner Wednesday

      It was written by Mike Coppinger. What do you expect.

      • philoe bedoe

        He’s the weakest writer on here……..

        • Turner Wednesday

          Agreed! My favourites on here are Tom Gray and Elliot Worsell.

          Frank Lotierzo over at The Sweet Science is excellent too!