This coming weekend at the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, the long-awaited rematch between Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin will finally take place but will do so under with a sour taste in the mouth given the failed drug test scandals.
Ahead of the first fight anticipation was incredible with fans licking their lips at the prospect of two of the best fighters in the world squaring off to decide what many would feel is the best middleweight in the world today.
Canelo came into the fight as the young Mexican poster boy of the sport with a huge fan base that has seen him become perhaps the biggest star in the sport having claimed wins over the likes of Shane Mosley, Austin Trout, Alfredo Angulo, Erislandy Lara, James Kirkland, Miguel Cotto, Amir Khan and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Golovkin, in contrast, has had to bide his time for his status to reach such lofty heights but came into the contest as the undefeated world champion knocking out pretty much everyone in his path in destructive fashion.
Victories of the likes of Mathew Macklin, Daniel Geale, Martin Murray, David Lemieux, Kell Brook and Daniel Jacobs had seen his fan base slowly grow to become one of the most popular active fighters.
The fight itself was a hugely intriguing one in which Canelo was undoubtedly the slicker boxer landing his combinations but as the fight went on Golovkin’s pressure began to pull through.
General consensus said that Golovkin’s work rate had done enough to claim the win but a split decision draw was declared. Calls of robbery were rife on social media but the reality is that it was a good competitive fight and whilst Golovkin can consider himself unlucky this was by no means a disgraceful decision.
That being said judge Adalaide Byrd scorecard was nothing short of appalling with a 118-110 score in favour of Canelo declared.
With the entertainment of the fight and the controversy of the outcome, a rematch looked inevitable to take place in May. This was unfortunately not to take place due to the aforementioned two failed drug tests.
Much to the shock of the boxing world Canelo tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug Clenbuterol but claims that it was only in his system due to consuming contaminated Mexican meat.
His claims have been widely disputed and in all honestly completely ridiculed by many and has left fans doubting the legitimacy of his claims. There is now a huge cloud over anything to do with Canelo.
His reputation has taken a considerable hit with social media full to the brim of jokes and anger aimed at the Mexican fighter.
Despite this, after serving a farcical ban he is now free to once again square off with Golovkin this weekend in a contest which is of course hugely exciting but one that is marred by controversy.
Looking to put this to one side which I find extremely difficult, the rematch is a truly fascinating one with opinion split as to who will walk away victorious.
One train of thought says that Golovkin’s prowess at cutting off the ring, continual pressure and power punches will see him through to victory. He will look to simply walk through Canelo’s punches and unleash his fury on the Mexican.
The second prediction says that Canelo’s youth, hand-speed and technical skill will claim a points win over an ageing Golovkin who isn’t quite as good as he was a few years ago.
There is a suggestion that Golovkin at 36 years old is a fighter on the decline and that another year on from the first fight that he will have faded a bit further. There seems some credibility to this claim as Golovkin doesn’t appear quite as vicious as he once was.
There is, however, no doubting that he is a formidable fighter for anyone to face and writing him off is an extremely unwise decision. He is heading into this rematch full of motivation to prove the judges’ scorecards of the first fight wrong and to punish Canelo for the drug scandal.
Likewise, Canelo is also likely to be extremely motivated. He has been on the receiving end of a huge amount of criticism and he seems the sort of character that will use that to motivate himself and push himself harder than ever.
Canelo does, however, find himself in the strange situation of potentially being the loser whether he wins the fight or not. If he loses then it will be said that Golovkin was the better fighter and even if he wins it will be tainted by the failed drug tests.
He will forever find his legacy tarnished by this and many will refuse to credit him even if he does claim the victory.
In terms of breaking down the rematch and producing a prediction, I edge in favour of a close Canelo points win. I just feel that his youth, hand speed and general boxing skill are enough to frustrate Golovkin who is at times not the hardest to hit.
I expect the contest to be an extremely competitive one with periods of success for both men but am predicting a points win in favour of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
This is a fantastic fight between two of the elite of the sport today but sadly it is to a large extent ruined by controversy.