Alvarez, Golovkin meet in fight for the middle-ages

Canelo Alvarez (left) and Gennady Golovkin posing during their weigh-in at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on Friday. Alvarez's only defeat came in 2013 against Floyd Mayweather.
Canelo Alvarez (left) and Gennady Golovkin posing during their weigh-in at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on Friday. Alvarez's only defeat came in 2013 against Floyd Mayweather.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LAS VEGAS • Gennady Golovkin and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez will meet in a ring in Las Vegas this morning (Singapore time) in what could be a fight for the ages for the world middleweight championship.

They are two tough men, punishing punchers, brilliant boxers and very evenly matched.

It is a dangerous combination and both will know that they may have to take a beating to win.

When promoter Oscar de la Hoya last week predicted "nine rounds of hell", it was no throwaway soundbite.

This could be a fight where the boxer who can take the best shots wins.

Alvarez and Golovkin seem to be blessed with chins of granite, which have allowed them to stand in front of previous opponents and fight like they cannot be hurt.

"It's genetics," the Kazakh said. "I feel something happening when I get hit, but I don't feel power... I'm confident, but everyone can get hurt."

At 27, Mexican Alvarez is the younger by eight years. This fight could have taken place two years ago but de la Hoya, his promoter, wanted to wait and believes that the timing is in his favour.

Alvarez's only defeat came in 2013 against Floyd Mayweather, who was too fast and smart for him.

Many believe that Erislandy Lara, the Cuban he faced 10 months later, should have been given the win against him, too, instead of losing on a split decision.

Certainly, Golovkin's style is not going to trouble him in the way an awkward mover such as Lara did. Golovkin is the harder hitter but Alvarez has a speed advantage.

Golovkin looked uncomfortable against the movement of Daniel Jacobs in his previous title defence in March and Alvarez believes that he can find cracks in the Kazakh boxer's work.

This will be the 10th time that Alvarez has boxed in Las Vegas, where he has been built into the star to replace Mayweather. But it is the first time for Golovkin, holder of the WBC, WBA and IBF titles.

"I believe this is my first step to history," Golovkin said. "I believe we will have a second fight, maybe more."

THE TIMES, LONDON

MIDDLEWEIGHT WORLD C'SHIP
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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 17, 2017, with the headline 'Alvarez, Golovkin meet in fight for the middle-ages'. Print Edition | Subscribe