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Canelo Alvarez facing do-or-die moment in Golovkin fight

Photo by Tom Hogan - Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
13
Sep

No matter how Canelo Alvarez tries to downplay it, Saturday’s showdown at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with Gennady Golovkin is the most important fight of his boxing career.

“I’ve been in big fights before,” Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 knockouts) said during the grand arrivals on Tuesday. “Obviously this is very important and I’ve prepared like I’ve never prepared to look for the knockout. I’m prepared to answer a lot of questions on Saturday night.”

Although he is correct that he has been in big fights, there is a weight on this particular fight unlike any other. This isn’t Floyd Mayweather and it won’t be considered a “learning experience” if he doesn’t have his hand raised in victory. And considering the time it took for this fight to come together, the burden to be victorious has become greater than ever before.

Simply put, Canelo Alvarez cannot afford to lose to Gennady Golovkin.

Every fighter will tell you that their next fight is the most important. That’s what they are supposed to do in order to not pile on the pressure that already comes with the fight. That’s the media’s job.

“Every fight I risk everything,” Canelo said when asked if this was a do-or-die situation. But this is unlike any other fight.

Of course, there was Mayweather. But nobody really expected him to win considering that he was relatively inexperienced against elite competition. That loss was forgivable. But it taught Canelo everything that he needed to know about the business of boxing. And, in this case, the business of becoming boxing’s next superstar. Canelo would proceed to win his next seven fights with Golden Boy deploying a very specific strategy that balanced recognizable names with solid (but not overly dangerous) competition.

He outskilled James Kirkland and Liam Smith, outsized Miguel Cotto and Amir Khan, gutted it out against Erislandy Lara and bookended those fights with a pair of national-pride bouts against Alfredo Angulo and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. where he entrenched himself as the Mexican superstar who is worthy of carrying his country on his broad shoulders.

The fight with the unbeaten Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) was looming, and although he desperately wanted to silence the critics, Oscar De La Hoya had a plan that his red-headed fighter needed to adhere to. Yes, his machismo would be called into question as Golovkin dispatched of opponent after opponent, but Canelo needed to mature as a fighter against a series of opponents that gave him different looks.

Say what you want about the idea that De La Hoya waited for Golovkin to age and show cracks in his armor, but this was as much about building Canelo for this moment as it was waiting for GGG to slow down. But the risk only has a payoff if there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

The past few years have been full of fight fans labeling Canelo as “scared” to face Golovkin. And the pressure to make the fight surely was a factor in finalizing the date because there was nobody left for Canelo that would satisfy fight fans. This wasn’t as painstakingly long as Mayweather-Pacquiao but it certainly struck a nerve with fans as each fight went by with nothing more than a tease.

But, we’re here now.

“I can assure you that I will do my part and I will do my best to give you all a beautiful fight,” Canelo said. “The most important thing for me is victory. I always prepare myself to give the best. I want this for my people, my team, for my country. And that’s what I’m going to do this Saturday. I’m going to go in there and win the fight. I prepared myself for the knockout. Look, anything can happen in this fight. But that’s what I’ve prepared for — to knock him out.”

Oscar De La Hoya told RingTV.com that the winner of this fight should undoubtedly be considered the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world. While he may be right, what they are really fighting for is the right to become the sport’s biggest star. And there is more pressure on Canelo than there is on GGG. Not to say that Golovkin can afford to lose, but he’s on the back end of his career and doesn’t have many years left. With Canelo being only 27, he has the potential to carry the sport for many years. And with that comes the possibility of being the sport’s biggest money fighter for many years. That also is accompanied by the responsibility of carrying the sport into the mainstream.

Everything goes up in smoke if Canelo loses to GGG in devastating fashion. Granted, losing a close fight wouldn’t completely ruin that opportunity. But being stopped by a fighter that many said he was scared to challenge would deal a mighty blow to his future.

For the hardcore boxing fan, a loss is forgivable. But casual fans are the ones who decide the difference between a blockbuster film or one that is critically acclaimed but a box office failure. In order for them to keep spending money, that fighter needs to win and possess qualities that are appealing to the masses. And losing a fight is simply not appealing to the casual fan.

It’s an unfortunate reality that is the difference between stars and superstars. With Floyd Mayweather gone, Canelo can become the sport’s next superstar.

This is do or die. This is the most important fight of his boxing career. Everything is on the line.

Canelo said that all of the questions will be answered on Saturday night. But the most important one is whether or not Saul “Canelo” Alvarez will be the one to carry boxing into the new era.

 

  • TMT NYC-DA REAL GHOSTBUSTERS

    Floyd will shock everyone by un-retiring and showing up at the post fight interview to challenge the winner.

    • Rick

      Haha you just ruined the whole thing. I’m not even gonna watch it now.

  • Mark Schoeman

    I really hate the do or die framing. Great fighters lose fights. The greatness comes from taking those fights, putting it on the line, and win or lose coming right back to do it again. It’s a disease in boxing, this you either win every fight or it’s all over. What other sport operates this way? It’s why we don’t see all the fights we should see…because guys see the marketplace, that the safer play is risk management.

    I think GGG’s boxing (especially his footwork) and power will carry the day Saturday, but Canelo is going to give him his toughest fight yet and will put it all on the line…and that makes him a winner in my eyes and why I’ll be back to watch him his next time out.

    • Ten Count Toronto

      Great fighter do indeed lose fights, but great fighters shouldn’t need any more “maturing” or “building” when they’ve already been pro’s for 10 years! Nor would they let their promoter go out and make such a shameful presentation to the public.

      Canelo’s side deserves the pressure because they brought it on themselves by butting in front of Golovkin’s turn at the lineal Middleweight title, then holding that hostage for a year all the while talking tough only to back out at the last moment and wait another year.

      If not for all that BS from the Alvarez/GB side, then this would be just another case of an accomplished champion moving up to challenge for the title in the next division with everything to gain and all the pressure on the other guy.

      I too feel Golovkin will win but at this point in time it would not surprise me much if Canelo legitimately wins. Either way I WON’T consider GGG to be the defining opponent of Alvarez’ career. Instead I would measure Canelo against the fighters who are closer to his own age size – Charlo & Andrade – and my enthusiasm for Canelo’s future endeavors will be dictated by the urgency with which he pursues those fights.

      • Gilberto G

        I normally would not say it but you are a hater, plain and simple, they said he needed to mature because he simply was not ready, they kney they had no chance, they learned that lesson when they lost to Mayweather.
        He had been a pro for 10 years because he skipped his amateur career, and the only reason for that was that nobody would fight him.
        What was Golovkin doing at 25? I’ll tell you, he was making his pro debug against first ballot Hall of Famer Gabor Balogh.
        They did not put themselves in front of Golovkin, it was Cotto who had the obligations but decided to follow the money, besides, what about Golovkin gladly accepting the step aside money from Cotto, twice? talk about hypocrisy.
        Also,Golovkin did not bring anything to the table, money, PPVs etc, so why give him 55/45 split the WBC demanded anyway,
        And the most important thing of all, the fight is done, so what is the problem? they could have easily drag it another year and they would have been fine, but they did not, so just don’t be a hater and enjoy the fight.

  • Ten Count Toronto

    By the way, does anybody know weather the removal of WBC sanctioning also gets VADA out of the picture?

  • The Parrfection

    I hope the pressure to have Canelo carry boxing into the new era doesn’t affect the decision-making of the judges should this fight go to decision. But of course it fucking will. The winner needs to win by KO.

    • Ten Count Toronto

      They sure picked gem when they put over Jermaine Taylor…

  • Brad McKain

    “Simply put, Canelo Alvarez cannot afford to lose to Gennady Golovkin.”

    This is silly. Win or lose he should be applauded for accepting the challenge. You are encouraging fighters to take the easy road with statements like this.

    • Gilberto G

      I think that mentality has ruined boxing, but is nothing new, I remember when Chavez Sr lost the first time, a lot of people in Mexico bailed on him, it was sad.
      On the contrary in the UFC every fighter has the opportunity to make a comeback, so while there is a risk, they know it’s not the end when they loose a fight. Still this presents another problem, it causes this never ending round robin they’ve had for years.

      • Brad McKain

        I agree with you wholeheartedly. I’m a huge fan of both sports. MMA is definitely more forgiving of a loss, mainly because there are no bs showcase fights.

  • Luis Rivera

    Could Golovkin be the next boxing superstar? Why not? if very possible GGG will demolish Canelo next Saturday, if that happens could he be the next boxing superstar?

    • Harry

      A bit too old, but he can have at least 3-4 more years, 8 more ppvs or so. Let me guess: 1. a rematch with Canelo, 2. a rematch with Jacobs, 3. Charlo, 4. Saunders (if he beats Monroe) for the WBO strap, 5. Lara, 6. a match with the winner of the SMW tournament, 7. Andre Ward at 168, 8. Third match with Canelo, probably at 168. If he will be 46-0 (40) he may want to pad his record a bit with bum fights to beat Floyd and finish his career with 51-0 or 52-0.

  • Harry

    I’d say Canelo can’t afford losing to Golovkin via a ko. Even a TKO in champions’ rounds is not a disgrace, let alone losing a close UD or SD. It would not surprise me if this will be a draw. If GGG outpunches Canelo, but won’t be able to stop him, a draw is a very likely outcome, especially because this will open a way for a rematch and this outcome would please both teams.

  • Wilfredo Vega

    Canelo’s defensive elusiveness and hand speed, this two (2) important factor in this fight will put Canelo over the top in winning the two (2) Middleweight titles vs GGG by a real hard fought 12 rounds Decision, after this bout is over on 9/16/17 you all (Boxing Fans) will say ‘Wilfredo Vega’ , you are the man!

  • Kiowhatta

    I have the distinct feeling Canelo is going to adopt a slick, points based, defensive fight, getting off quicker in the pockets against a plodding GGG, then moving in and out of range.
    If Golovkin repeats his cumbersome style of tentative forward movement, throwing singular punches, not cutting the ring off aggressively and throwing combos, then he will lose this fight on points.
    Canelo has developed his upper body movement and footwork a lot better than people make out.
    My sentimental favourite is G, but my head says Saul.
    I can see GGG frantically chasing down Canelo in the later rounds trying to pin him, but I don’t think it will happen enough. Golovkin will need to be his A1 uber best self to beat Alvarez, because Alvarez has a solid, clear game plan that was handed to him by Mayweather, Brook, and Jacobs.
    I hope I’m wrong and we see an all out war, ‘big drama show’, but as my friend said, ‘that’s what you told me about the last fight.’