THE RIGHT FIGHT AT THE RIGHT TIME
The Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin middleweight championship showdown was always a matter of “when,” not “if.” The timing just had to be right.
Canelo had never fought above 155 pounds, five fewer than the middleweight limit. He wanted just one fight at 160 or above to acclimate himself to the new division, which turned out to be his meeting with Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. in May.
Immediately after Canelo dominated his countryman en route to a shutout decision, standing in the ring, he made the announcement with Golovkin on hand.
“GGG, you are next my friend. The fight is done,” Canelo bellowed, eliciting wild cheers from the 20,510 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and making waves worldwide.
Canelo was ready, which might not have been the case even a year and a half earlier.
The weight was one issue, but there were others. Golovkin appeared to be all but unbeatable when talk of a fight with Canelo first surfaced. The one-time amateur star from Kazakhstan was a complete, experienced fighter with crushing power, as his 23-knockout streak indicated.
Meanwhile, Canelo also was on a roll – including a wide decision over Miguel Cotto to win the WBC, RING and Lineal Middleweight titles in November 2015 – but, still in his mid-20s, he had yet to reach his peak.
A lot has changed. Golovkin showed signs of vulnerability before he stopped Kell Brook last September and then struggled to get past talented Daniel Jacobs in March, winning a unanimous, but close decision that made him look human.
At the same time, Canelo, now 27, demonstrated against Cotto, Amir Khan, Liam Smith and Chavez, Jr. that he was getting better and better each time out. In particular, he had refined his boxing skills, making him a more-complete fighter.
Thus, the perception of the fight also has evolved.
Had it happened immediately after the Cotto fight, Golovkin would’ve been a prohibitive favorite and the matchup would’ve been less interesting. Now it’s essentially a 50-50 fight. Many experts are even picking Canelo to win.
That’s why the timing for the fight seems to be perfect.
“The fight arrives at the best moment,” Canelo said. “I’m more mature, a better fighter with more experience than, say, two years ago. It couldn’t have come at a better time.”