GENNADY “GGG” GOLOVKIN and Mexican icon Canelo Alvarez are entering their world middleweight title showdown – set for the T-Mobile Arena on September 18 – with each coming off very different performances.
On March 18, in front of a packed Madison Square Garden, Golovkin beat fellow world champion Daniel Jacobs by unanimous decision in a hard-fought 12-round battle, with some observers believing the underdog deserved the decision.
It was Golovkin’s 18th consecutive title defence (if you class the WBA secondary belt as a ‘world’ belt) since becoming champion in 2010, and it was the first time he was forced to go the distance at championship level. That had media speculating that age was starting to become a factor for Golovkin, currently boxing’s longest-reigning world champion.
Two months later, on May 6 – at a catchweight of 164.5 pounds – Alvarez won a lopsided unanimous decision over former middleweight champion Julio César Chȧvez Jnr who barely threw a punch and did everything he could do to survive. Not win.
Throughout training camp, Golovkin has been asked about the comparison between the two fights – the difficulty he had against Jacobs and the ease Alvarez had against Chȧvez.
“I am not Julio César Chȧvez Jnr. and Canelo is no Danny Jacobs. There are no survivors in my fights,” said Golovkin. “Boxing is a business. If I look great against Jacobs…if I knocked him out, I would not be getting this fight with Canelo now. Jacobs was a very good fighter and gave me good learning experience going 12 rounds. I have never done that before. I felt amazing going 12 rounds for the first time. Jacobs gives everyone problems.”
Golovkin’s trainer, Abel Sanchez, agrees.
“Danny Jacobs is the second-best middleweight in boxing. It was a tough fight because the two best in the middleweight division were fighting each other. The matchup was as good in the ring as it was on paper,” said Sanchez. “Jacobs also gamed the system by skipping the IBF’s mandatory fight day weigh-in where the fighters are only allowed to gain 10 pounds from the previous day’s Official Weigh-In. Gennady, as defending champion, honored the IBF’s rule and weighed-in the next morning. Who knows how heavy Jacobs was the night of the fight? But even with that advantage Gennady was able to win. Jacobs was easily one weight division heavier than Gennady.
“Not getting the knockout may have been a double blessing for us. It showed that Gennady was capable of going twelve rounds with an elite fighter and it gave us the fight with Canelo. If Gennady had knocked Jacobs out there is no way Golden Boy [Promotions] would have the confidence to put Canelo in with us this year.
“Now let’s look at Canelo’s last fight. Chȧvez hasn’t fought under 167 pounds in five years. He was drained and barely threw a punch. If that same Chavez fights Gennady, there is no question Gennady knocks him out. Chȧvez was a sitting duck. There is no debate on who had the better win against the better opponent. Watching Canelo’s performance against Chȧvez gave us a lot of confidence too.”