In an era in which the best boxers often avoid fighting each other, the sport is treating fans to a second matchup between two of the finest fighters of their generation when Canelo Álvarez meets Gennady Golovkin Saturday in Las Vegas.
What, when and where?
Álvarez will fight Golovkin on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena. On the line will be Golovkin’s World Boxing Association, World Boxing Council and International Boxing Organization middleweight belts.
How to watch: The fight coverage on pay-per-view will begin at 8 p.m. Eastern. The suggested price is $85. The main event will certainly not begin before 9 p.m.
What happened in the first fight?
Last September, the two men faced off in the same arena in a highly anticipated contest. Unfortunately, the result was something of an anticlimax. The fighters slugged it out brutally for 12 rounds, but neither could knock down the other or gain a decisive edge.
Although most observers felt Golovkin was superior, the fight was ruled a draw, with one judge going for each fighter and one calling it even. A judge who scored the close contest, 118-110, for Álvarez came in for particularly withering criticism.
What has happened since?
Calls for a rematch began immediately, and one was scheduled for May. But Álvarez tested positive for clenbuterol in February and pulled out of the fight. Clenbuterol is used by some athletes to drop weight. Álvarez said that the result came because he had eaten tainted meat in Mexico, where clenbuterol is sometimes given to animals.
Golovkin instead fought a less heralded fighter, Vanes Martirosyan, and knocked him out in two rounds.
Álvarez-Golovkin II was eventually rescheduled for this weekend.
How do they stack up?
Álvarez, 28, is a longtime sports hero, especially to Mexicans and Mexican-Americans. Over a career that dates to 2005, he has just one loss, to Floyd Mayweather Jr. by a majority decision in 2013. His victims include Julio César Chávez Jr., Amir Khan, Miguel Cotto and Shane Mosley.
Golovkin, 36, remains undefeated through 39 bouts, including 34 knockouts, many of them ferocious. He is an inch and a half taller than Álvarez. Golovkin is ranked the No. 1 boxer in the world pound for pound by The Ring magazine. Álvarez has recently been ranked from fourth and sixth, although he is out of the top 10 because of his positive drug tests and inactivity.
What are their styles?
It should be a battle of strength versus speed. Golovkin’s willingness to fight all comers and his hard-hitting knockouts have made him a sensation among fight aficionados. He should be the aggressor and will look to stand and trade punches.
Álvarez is more subtle. He also may have a speed and maneuverability edge. He will dart in and out and try to avoid the big punch from the more straightforward Golovkin. His defense against Golovkin’s aggression should be the key to the fight.
What are the fighters saying?
“This time, Golovkin won’t have any excuses regarding the judges because I’m coming to knock him out,” Álvarez said.
“I won the first fight and left the ring as world champion wearing all the belts. And I am going to win the second fight,” Golovkin said.
The positive drug test and delays in the fight have caused some bad blood between them.
“He could have been a real man,” Golovkin told Sports Illustrated. “Said, ‘I made a mistake.’ But he didn’t do that. He still wanted to make a fool out of people. Nobody believes him.”
“I’m bothered by this, all the stupid things they’ve been saying, and I’ve been using it in my training,” Álvarez told The Los Angeles Times. “I’m going to use it to my favor.”
Who’s going to win?
That’s hard to say. In the betting, Golovkin is a slight favorite. The betting also skews toward a decision, rather than a knockout by either fighter.
Experts surveyed by The Ring leaned to Golovkin by a 13-12 margin.
“I think Canelo wins; he will box intelligently, and he will win a decision,” the lightweight champion Mikey Garcia told ESPN Deportes.
“I’m going with G.G.G. because he’s bigger and he has power, and he’s consistent and he’s strong and fearless and he goes in there and he fights,” Mosley told The Mayweather Boxing Channel.
What’s on the undercard?
The most notable fight is a light-middleweight championship bout between the champion, Jaime Munguia of Mexico, the heavy favorite, and Brandon Cook of Canada. A middleweight bout between the Canadian David Lemieux and the Irishman Gary O’Sullivan, both former titleholders, should be closer.