Triple G, Canelo rarin’ for re­match

Af­ter last year’s con­tro­ver­sial draw, both men have some­thing to prove

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

LAS VE­GAS — For a sport of­ten given up for dead, box­ing is sud­denly very much alive.

Turn on the TV and there’s prob­a­bly a fight on from some­where — and a good chance even the most ca­sual box­ing fan will find some­thing to like.

The heavy­weight di­vi­sion is com­ing back, and there’s a group of wel­ter­weights so tal­ented they are bring­ing back mem­o­ries of the 1980s, when fight­ers like Su­gar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns and Mar­velous Marvin Ha­gler ruled the ring and the biggest fights were mag­i­cal af­fairs staged out­doors on the Las Ve­gas strip.

Net­works are get­ting into bid­ding wars for fights, and a string of new deals means there’s more box­ing on free tele­vi­sion than ever be­fore.

And, of course, there’s Satur­day night.

That’s when Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Al­varez step into the ring at T-Mo­bile Arena to try to set­tle what they couldn’t the first time around in a hotly an­tic­i­pated re­match with the world mid­dleweight ti­tle at stake.

The fight is a do-over of their draw last Septem­ber, and this time both men have made it clear they re­ally don’t like each other.

It’s a com­bi­na­tion that should make this a pay-per­view worth reach­ing into the wal­let for — though it’s not cheap.

Box­ing still in­sists on a buyin for its biggest fights, and at $84.95 to watch at home in the US, this one needs to de­liver in a big way to jus­tify the cost.

Whether it does won’t be known un­til the two ac­tu­ally get into the ring for a fight de­layed from May af­ter Al­varez tested pos­i­tive for a per­for­mance-en­hanc­ing drug.

But there’s a lot to like about two big punch­ers meet­ing to set­tle things at 160 pounds the way fight­ers used to back in the day.

“I be­lieve it will be a big drama show,” Golovkin said. “I wanted the first fight to be a big drama show, but he wouldn’t fight me.”

Golovkin’s com­plaint about Al­varez not stand­ing toe-to­toe with him in the first fight isn’t his only is­sue with the re­match.

Tha Kazakh also be­lieves Al­varez is a cheater, and dis­misses the Mex­i­can’s claim that eat­ing tainted meat led to the pos­i­tive test for clen­buterol.

“It’s very strange be­cause we know what hap­pened. He was caught for do­ing il­le­gal sub­stances,” Golovkin said through an in­ter­preter.

“As far as his sto­ries about the meat, you have to be re­ally stupid to be­lieve these kind of sto­ries af­ter he was caught dop­ing.”

Golovkin’s other com­plaint cen­tered on the purse split for the fight.

Al­varez, who was a proven pay-per-view draw, got 70 per­cent of the take in the first fight, and was sup­posed to get 65 per­cent in the sec­ond, had it hap­pened in May.

But Triple G stood his ground as cham­pion, fi­nally get­ting a 45 per­cent share af­ter al­ready book­ing an­other fight else­where that would have paid him only a frac­tion of the mil­lions both he and Al­varez will make for their show­down.

All of which, of course, has raised some bit­ter feel­ings in the Al­varez camp.

“It’s def­i­nitely more per­sonal now. I re­ally don’t like him,” Al­varez said. “It’s per­sonal, and I take it that way. It will make me give it the ex­tra push to knock him out.”

The fight it­self is a clas­sic matchup that has the po­ten­tial to de­liver more than the first fight, which was a good scrap but lacked the drama of knock­downs and ended in a draw that sat­is­fied nei­ther fighter.

Whether it does largely de­pends on the chances both fight­ers take — or refuse to take.

Golovkin, who lives and trains in Los An­ge­les, thought he won the first fight easily, even though one judge in­ex­pli­ca­bly scored it 118-110 for Al­varez.

Golovkin, who has knocked out al­most ev­ery­one put in front of him (38-0-1, 34 knock­outs) has vowed to be more ag­gres­sive in the re­match. Al­varez, too, says he has some new tricks he will pull out to try to re­gain a fan base up­set with him af­ter his pos­i­tive test for PEDs.

What­ever the strat­egy, it’s the kind of fight that might have taken place in the 1980s, when the best fought the best un­der the stars at Cae­sars Palace.

Box­ing is on a roll again, and the biggest fight of the year should set a tone for the sport mov­ing for­ward.

A year af­ter they first met, Golovkin-Al­varez II is once again must-see TV.

and WBC/WBA mid­dleweight cham­pion Gennady Golovkin at a Las Ve­gas me­dia con­fer­ence last week. Their ti­tle re­match goes Satur­day at T-Mo­bile Arena.

Canelo Al­varez (left)

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