Boxing

Despite bad blood, Canelo and Golovkin warm on a part 3

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In boxing, there’s a lot of fake bad blood that gets ladled over upcoming events and manufactured rivalries. Fake bad blood is, after all, the oil that lubricates the fetid gizzards of boxing’s lazy promoters.

The bad blood between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennadiy “Triple G” Golovkin, however, is very real.

And, up until now, that bad blood very much stood in the way of a third fight in their rivalry, a bout that could carry with it a total purse worth upwards of $70 million.

According to multiple media reports, Mexico’s Alvarez is leaning towards a two-fight deal with streaming service DAZN that would bag him a fight with WBA light heavyweight champ Dmitry Bivol in fight no. 1 and then a Golovkin clash in fight 2.

This flies in the face of past statements from Alvarez where he vowed to never put another dime into Golovkin’s pocket, as well as Golovkin’s steadfast refusal to concede to any Alvarez conditions for a third encounter.

Apparently, time– and money (or the Golovkin realization that there are no bigger paydays out there for him)– has softened their hardline stance against the rematch of their 2018 rematch.

The Alvarez-Golovkin feud dates back to around 2015, a time when Alvarez was becoming a major star while Golovkin was looking to cash in on his media-darling status.

Golovkin and his people pined away for a payday with Alvarez and aggressively stoked a rivalry that turned a good portion of boxing fandom against the Mexican. As Alvarez rose up the ranks and established himself as the biggest draw in the post-Floyd Mayweather boxing scene, accusations of ducking the Kazakh KO artist and fearing a brutal comeuppance at his hands dogged the 20-something star.

In 2017, a seething Alvarez gave Golovkin what he wanted and the two met in a high-profile pay-per-view event that ended in an unsatisfying draw. Early in the following year, with part 2 starting to take shape, Alvarez tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol. The planned Cinco de Mayo weekend rematch would get scrapped. Then, things really got heated.

Golovkin, whose public image had been carefully crafted around being an affable, humble, good-natured, always-smiling foreigner, dove off the script and got nasty. He accused Alvarez of being an intentional drug cheat and even of being dirty in their first fight.

“This is Canelo. This is his team. This is his promotion…Canelo is cheating. They’re using these drugs, and everybody is just trying to pretend it’s not happening,” Golovkin told media through an interpreter.

“It was pretty obvious when (Alvarez’s) muscles were all (enlarged)…and with the traces of injections, which were visible.”

Alvarez, who has always maintained an image of being even-tempered and unflappable, lashed out at Golovkin in response to the accusations.

“I’m gonna kick your f*****g ass,” Alvarez posted on social media, before referring to the Kazakh as a “little b***h.”

When the Canelo-Triple G rematch happened in September of that year, there was a tinge of nastiness in the air. Alvarez would win a close majority decision, but nothing in their rivalry was really resolved. Both walked away angry and bitter towards one another.

More than three years later, though, both fighters have warmed, at least somewhat, to the idea of a third fight. Alvarez issued a more-diplomatic-than-usual “everything is possible” late last year when asked about a Golovkin bout. Meanwhile, Golovkin recently admitted to “an interest in the fight” as “an attractive opportunity.”

Golovkin is the current IBF middleweight champ and has a planned unification bout with WBA titlist Ryota Murata in the spring. So, he’d have to win that fight before moving up to challenge Alvarez, who is the unified 4-belt super middleweight champ.

But, Alvarez-Golovkin 3 is at least possible. And that’s a full two steps further along than many assumed things would ever get.

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Paul Magno has over forty years of experience in and around the sport of boxing and has had his hand in everything, from officiating to training. As a writer, his work has appeared in several online publications, including Yahoo Sports, Fox Sports, FightHype, Max Boxing, Boxing.com, Inside Fights, The Boxing Tribune, The Queensberry Rules, and Premier Boxing Champions. You can reach him at: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com