‘He’s disrespected the sport, public and supporters. I am ready for him’
After their first fight ended in a controversial draw, Golovkin is out to make Canelo pay in the rematch
Among the gamblers and chancers of Sin City, Gennady Golovkin is taking aim in the MGM Grand Hotel, landing hard blows on Saturday’s opponent Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, the Nevada State Athletic Commission, and even Golden Boy Promotions, his Mexican opponent’s overseers.
As he prepares for his second battle with Canelo, Golovkin, who defends the World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association and Ring Magazine middleweight titles, is angry.
The unbeaten 36-year-old – who has knocked out 34 of his 38 victims – is composed, but with quiet menace, ahead of the rematch after their controversial draw a year ago. Most observers, including this one, saw Triple G win comfortably.
Golovkin is a wrecking-ball fighter with freakish power in his elbow-tofist levers, and a dominant force in the 160lb division for the past five years. But he always espouses sporting conduct, and there is a beautiful brutality about him.
The long delay in the rematch; the refusal from Canelo to embark on a media tour ahead of this fight; the leniency of the Nevada State Athletic Commission in meting out just a six-month suspension for Canelo’s two positive out-of-competition tests for the drug clenbuterol, a banned muscle-building steroid, have all infuriated Golovkin.
They have motivated him, made it personal. Now he craves painting a masterpiece of destruction, inside the ring at the T-Mobile Arena in the Mojave desert. It is payback time.
Golovkin tells The Sunday Telegraph: “Canelo and I, we have different mentalities. What he’s done has disrespected the sport, the public and his supporters. Before, I respected him. And I respect people who respect boxing. These guys don’t respect the boxing, only business. He’s a smart guy. But he lost respect because he used drugs.
“He did a lot of damage to boxing. For somebody like him to make such a bad mistake and then continue to work with the same people, with the same team who brought him to this situation, it shows he doesn’t recognise certain things.”
Golovkin said of Canelo, who has lost only once, to Floyd Mayweather, in a 52-fight career: “I pointed out some things that were evident, some marks on his body that looked like injections [prior to the first fight]. It was obvious he was taking something. I was really surprised it took so long for the commission to come to a decision.”
Will the clenbuterol issue enter his mind when they step into the ring? “I’m only thinking about the fight. We know each other much better. The second fight will be much more interesting because of that. He was able to run around me in the first fight. It will be more difficult to do that.
“I’m very calm. Nor does the Nevada Athletic Commission really affect me at all. I think I won the first fight; the decision is only a consequence.
“The important thing is fighting and having a second fight with him. It’s important for boxing, the fans and both of us. He will need to fight in the second fight, because he lost so much respect from the fans.”
Golovkin was hardly surprised Canelo eschewed a media tour.
“He talks a lot about how it doesn’t make sense to stand face-to-face. Of
course it made sense. People are not stupid. He would have been faced with some uncomfortable questions and he probably doesn’t have enough courage to face the truth, to face those unpleasant questions. The important thing is that we are now fighting.”
There is every reason to suspect that Golovkin could have mixed it with the great middleweights of the Eighties. He might not have beaten any of the Four Kings – Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns – but he is a modern great.
“I had a good experience in the first fight, but I’ve a different mentality for the second fight. I believe this fight will be much better. Much bigger, more action, more drama. I’m ready. I’m excited. I want to put on a big, dramatic show – and this is my chance. It’s so important to have this second fight. For history, and to put the record straight. Really put it straight.”
Brutal business: Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (left) and Gennady Golovkin trade blows during their controversial draw in Las Vegas last year