They’ve drawn the first, Canelo Alvarez got a narrow decision the second time, so this is the rubber match. It’s for a middleweight belt, but that isn’t the main draw here.
Sometimes boxing isn’t about belts, it’s about sales and money. This was long awaited and there is no issue with, people hitting each other in the face and body is a dangerous situation, money should follow.
And there’s some extra spice too…
The Issues Make A Difference
There are reasons why things aren’t easy to call :
Firstly GGG, Gennady Golovkin, isn’t in the first flush of youth. Last time out, he beat Murata and stopped him even, but he started slowly and didn’t look like the GGG we enjoy so much.
And then there’s Canelo. So prescient in the ring that all sorts of weight classes were bandied about for the brilliant boxer.
Then came Bivol. In May, Dmitry outfought and outthought a rather out-of-sorts Alvarez on his way to a unanimous points victory.
Both men needed the victory. And it wasn’t so easy to pick a winner either. We love that, don’t we?
So What Happened In The Fight?
Not much, really. In round 9, the commentary comment ‘this is what we’d hoped for’ seemed plaintive, a response to some trading of punches.
This was round 9. That’s late in the 12 round fight for a bit of action. Was that all?
Well, no, but they say it takes two to tango and whilst that is too harsh a criticism, GGG didn’t chance his arm – either of them.
Alvarez had the hand speed advantage and Golovkin perhaps didn’t want to try so much offence because of the fear of getting countered.
Mike Coppinger of ESPN said;
‘Golovkin, at age 40, started incredibly slow and barely threw a right hand over the first two quarters of the bout.’
But the jab. That’s the way to set up more shots. That’s the way to keep people at bay. That’s the way to frustrate opponents and let them know you’re there. In this fight, GGG tried the jab in the 2nd round, fast hands from Alvarez made him back up a little and we seldom saw a jab from him after that.
Alvarez began pretty quickly, growing in confidence as he saw not much coming back, then staggered him with a big overhand right in the 5th.
Golovkin must have known that Alvarez would go to the body and he did, with not much to counter it. Golovkin looked a little tentative, which played into the views of those who thought that an older and recently less busy GGG wouldn’t be able to handle Canelo.
But that would be to ignore Alvarez’s quality, controlling the pace, picking his shots, taking his time, not having to do too much, but doing that with speed, precision and remarkable effect.
We even saw GGG clinching in the 10th round, a rarity; even more unusual was his lack of those body shots, 31 to 6 round 9. That’s pretty definitive.
The 9th Round
This was the one in which Golovkin made Alvarez more than interested with a left hand then went after him all guns blazing…
…actually, he didn’t. He didn’t follow up his best punch of the fight, they traded, but Golovkin didn’t assert his authority.
Alvarez just went back to business in the next round, targeting the body, as if nothing had happened. Because in a way, it hadn’t – if GGG had taken his chance, it might have been different.
Was It Worth The Wait?
Not really. Alvarez won by unanimous decision and surely no one watching could have expected anything else.
I gave GGG one round. The 9th. That was the most entertaining round too. The other 11? Alvarez picked his opponent apart with unerring precision.
So yes, it takes two to tango. But a tango isn’t danced with your partner trying to knock you to the floor.
It’s a dangerous game. We call boxers to fight. We expect it. But we don’t control them. And that’s for the best.