Reporting from Las Vegas
Not so much a fight for eternity as one for the wise.
In terms of skill, class, strength and descent, there are few, if any, matchboxes in the world boxing that would bring so much quality to the ring. Add the controversies generated through and after the first fight, and the scene is set for the return match on the Mexican Independence Day weekend, which reveals much that is irresistible and disturbing about the sport.
The first fight between Gennady Golovkin and Saul & # 39; Canelo & # 39; Alvarez last September was thrilling and not a classic, but a poor leaderboard and two failed Canelo drug tests have introduced enmity that was previously lacking and changing the atmosphere around the fight.
Golovkin has eliminated 87% of its opponents, the highest ratio of all middleweight world champions in history. One of his sparring partners once said the man called the Triple-G "hits you as if you owe him money."
The Kazakh-born Golovkin Way was marked in 1991 by the dissolution of the Soviet Union, as Vladimir and Vitali Klitschko before him and Vasyl Lomachenko and others later. Earlier generations of brilliant USSR amateurs were prevented from entering the professional ranks.
Golovkin began his paid career in Germany before emigrating to the US in 2010. His popularity has increased enormously. Although he has the two most recognized versions of the world championship title on Saturday night (WBC and WBA) at stake, it's Canelo, the main attraction here in Vegas.
The Mexican was last on the stage at the last press conference and at the event, titled The Grand Arrivals, a staple of the Las Vegas Weeks of Battle, which is the boxer through hordes of fans at the entrance to the MGM Grand Hotel (a property the size of a small City), before she wanders on stage through some platitudes.
At the hotel's David Copperfield Theater, which was hijacked as a media center for the Fight Week, the name of Canelos is on the huge stage that stretches across the stage from floor to ceiling. The A side. Such details satisfy egos and are known to delay and even fail battles in the past.
In Mexico, some of Canelo's battles have reached tens of millions. Mexico is in second place behind the US in terms of the number of World Champions produced by a country.
Canelo tells of a fighting story that goes back to his early years in the streets of Juanacatlan near Guadalajara, where his fair skin and red hair, traced back to the French colonists on his mother's side, made for an unusual appearance both Mexican and he was predestined to steal those who chose to mock.
At 15, he became a professional and within two years he had completed his first 12 talent. So much for steady growth. His only defeat in 52 fights had Floyd Mayweather five years ago this weekend, although he was convicted by most on the ring to have also lost to Golovkin twelve months ago.
The scorecard that Adalaide Byrd presented that night and that Canelo earned with two laps in 10 turns is one of the most confusing of all time. The other two judges scored one for Golovkin and one for Remis. The cynics were not slow in thinking it was all a trick to guarantee a rematch.
The May 5 return here in Las Vegas was canceled when Canelo tested positive for clenbuterol twice within a few days, a substance commonly found in asthma inhalers known for burning fat.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission banned him for six months, retroactively to the time of the February offense. A top golfer who was suspended for the same period would have missed all four majors, one leading tennis player two Grand Slams. Canelo eventually missed the Zilch as the return leg was postponed for this weekend.
Reports here in the states in April indicated that, to support his claim that contaminated Mexican beef was to blame, Canelo agreed to hair-follicle tests that may point to long-term use and that the commission said produced negative results.
The catch for those who want to destroy Canelos credibility is that cases of contaminated meat in Mexico are notorious in sports. He accepts he should have done more research – so he was unlucky and set precedents to save his reputation?
The attitude in boxing about drug abuse has been too loose for too long. The American Justin Gatlin was repeatedly booed when he went to the World Championships in London last year to win gold at 100 meters. Canelo will hardly face such a ridicule.
Many boxers agree that the Vada (Voluntary Anti-Doping Association) is randomly tested in the run-up to major fights, but the monitoring program runs only during an agreed time during training camps. At other times, there are few or no tests in many countries.
And a 2014 study by the University of Oslo has shown that the benefits of some performance enhancing drugs can be felt for up to ten years – a refrain during a training camp would not necessarily affect the offender.
But when some of them demanded that Canelo be jailed and the key thrown away, his promoter Golden Boy Promotions announced cheerfully at the last press conference that the T-Mobile Arena was sold out for Saturday night.
The controversy shifts the tickets and, whatever the opposite views, Canelo has served his time.
The rematch offers endless possibilities. One year ago, Canelo won the first two and the last three rounds on all judges' scorecards. Had he worked Golovkin out to the last stage? Did Golovkin's power keep the Mexican from trading more frequently?
Golovkin threw more punches altogether – though surprisingly few for the body – while Canelo fought in patches. Everyone took firm hits without stirring, in a way that implies that the judges will be needed again this time.
And we are overdue a trilogy …