IS Saul Alvarez the only man who doesn’t fear Gennady Golovkin? After an excellent victory over Miguel Cotto in Las Vegas on Saturday, Saul Alvarez is the new WBC middleweight champion. His battle cry after was simple. “I know Golovkin very well,” he said. “I have respect for him. But I’m not afraid of anybody. I’ll fight anybody, anytime.”
Golovkin has cut a swathe through the middleweight ranks, most recently dispatching David Lemieux to unify the IBF and WBA titles. Mexico’s “Canelo” hasn’t even fought at 160lbs but he’s shown every sign that he’s prepared to fight the best. Floyd Mayweather certainly exposed a callowness in Alvarez in 2013. But Alvarez, now 25, has developed. Cotto boxed well, kept mobile and used his experience, but Canelo was even better. He had an advantage in size, but also speed. He countered well, threw a fast, accurate right hand. Their fight was not as grueling as expected, but the skill level and activity from both men were superb.
If anyone can challenge Golovkin’s dominance it surely has to be Canelo. “GGG” would be favoured, his footwork alone could be his key to victory. But Alvarez would offer the feared Kazakh his toughest test to date.
The sticking point might be the weight at which Alvarez and Golovkin would fight. The contest with Cotto was made at 155lbs and it was unclear what Canelo meant when he said, “This is my weight class”. Maybe he meant middle, maybe he meant 155lbs. He did insist, “I feel really good, I feel really strong at this weight. I can make the weight easily.” It will need to be resolved whether Alvarez moves up or GGG comes down but Golovkin-Canelo would be the super-fight of 2016.
It has been a packed weekend of action. Martin Murray, who performed bravely against Golovkin once again fell just short of winning a world title in Germany, conceding a split decision at super-middleweight to WBO champ Arthur Abraham. Murray hurt the champion at times though this was too close a fight really for him to win the decision in Germany. He has however demonstrated that he can compete with world class super-middles. Might be hard though for him to get a fifth world title shot after four failed attempts.
Murray’s rival for the coveted position as the nicest guy in boxing, Anthony Crolla did complete a fairytale story. Last Christmas he was left severely injured after stopping two burglars in his neighbours’ house. He missed out on a world title fight and his career was thrown into doubt. It looked like his chance had finally gone when in July he fought WBA boss Darleys Perez to a disputed draw. Yet he made sure of a magical victory in Manchester on Saturday. Getting his rematch, he outboxed and outworked Perez before knocking him out in the fifth round with the sweetest of left hooks to the body. Dreams, sometimes, do come true.