Pound for pound kings Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin could be put on a collision course next year if both emerge unharmed from their bouts this weekend, but do boxing fans really want to see another sequel?
Both Alvarez and Golovkin could be forgiven for looking past their respective opponents on their return this week. Wins for both could be the first steps to finding a path to a lucrative trilogy fight between the two superstars, but in a boxing landscape increasingly dominated by celebrity fights and Instagram followers, how much appetite for another restart does the Canelo Golovkin franchise exist?
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First things first, neither Golovkin nor Canelo face an easy task. Golovkin – fresh from giving Cristiano Ronaldo some Ringcraft tips – will fight unbeaten Pole Kamil Szeremeta, a 31-year-old fighter with a perfect record in 21 fights. No test he has faced in his career has been as severe as the one he will meet in the ring late Friday.
Kazakhstan’s Golovkin has defeated every man he has ever set foot in the ring with the obvious exception of his two fights (draw and loss) against Mexican star Canelo. A highly technical boxer, ‘GGG’ is rightly considered one of the best prize fighters of his generation, and a look at bookmakers’ odds of winning suggests Friday’s fight is little more than a formality.
Szeremeta, a former holder of the European middleweight title, is not known for his fighting power. Less than a quarter of his wins come from afar – and he has to box very smartly indeed to suppress one of the top strategists at Golovkin.
Canelo, meanwhile, faces the more difficult task – at least on paper. Englishman Callum Smith has long been considered a fighter at the top of the world, and what better way to prove that by expanding his unbeaten record at the expense of arguably the sport’s biggest current draw?
Canelo, only 30 years old, will fight a 57th professional fight in a career where he competes in numerous different weight classes and shares the ring with fighters as diverse as Floyd Mayweather (his only loss), Golovkin and even Sergey Kovalev.
And even in the case of Kovalev, a light heavyweight, Canelo hasn’t tangled often with a fighter who has the physical advantages Smith has. Canelo is a 5-foot-9-inch Englishman dwarfed by the 6-foot-3-inch Englishman.
But in case both Canelo and Golvkin get past their undefeated challengers, what then? The Kazakh fighter has openly stated that he is looking for a fight to link the series with Canelo, who after initial hesitation seems increasingly open to a third fight with Golovkin. The broadcaster DAZN is now seen as more than agreed, although Canelo has no official contract.
But with Golvkin getting closer to his 39th birthday, some wonder if his best opportunity to beat his younger rival has come and gone – but he probably knows that his chances of winning are getting smaller every month.
For Canelo, the trilogy fight with ‘GGG’ is the most fertile payday available to him. Having already done 24 laps with him without being defeated, he would certainly be confident of getting intact with another win and his seven-year unbeaten streak.
While the timing may be favorable for both Canelo and Golovkin, is this something fight fans want to see? Canelo has a built-in audience that would pay money to see his man save on a lifeless broom, but a third fight with a potentially dwindling “GGG” might be a tougher sale for your casual boxing fan.
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These days, a fighter’s skill in the ring ranks second only to his ability to attract a crowd, as evidenced by the wave of success that has followed the recent trend of white-collar boxing on an industrial scale. Hell, you don’t even have to be a boxer to box these days.
Both Canelo and Golovkin are among the best fighters of their generation – a fact that is rightly recorded in the record books. While the third fight may come, especially if both fighters are excelling this week, the simple fact is that, for at least some, they’d rather pay to see Canelo-Boxing Jake Paul – a fight that would be so close sanctioned murder, as sport allows.