Re­fresher on what a real, great fight looks like

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - THOM LOVERRO

The long-an­tic­i­pated Gen­nady “Triple G” Golovkin-Canelo Al­varez mid­dleweight show­down Satur­day night in Las Ve­gas had enough of a bur­den to carry with the time it took for this fight to hap­pen — three years in the mak­ing.

Then it was forced to carry the dis­ap­point­ing legacy of box­ing’s last big fight — the Floyd May­weather-Manny Pac­quiao de­ba­cle more than two years ago, the megafight that left a bad taste in the pub­lic’s mouth.

Now the Golovkin-Al­varez bout has a new cross to bear — liv­ing up to the great­ness of the May­weather-Conor McGre­gor his­toric meet­ing in the ring just three weeks ago.

For those who ac­tu­ally be­lieved what they saw be­tween May­weather-McGre­gor was great — or real, for that mat­ter — the pre­vi­ous sen­tence is sar­casm.

It was so dis­heart­en­ing to read and hear about how many fools fell for the May­weather-McGre­gor con job — not just the pay­ing pub­lic, but the me­dia who, at one time in this busi­ness, had a level of in­tel­li­gence and knowl­edge that would have pre­vented them from writ­ing sen­tences like this:

“May­weather, dur­ing the first three rounds of the fight, seemed less cun­ning than con­fused ... May­weather and McGre­gor promised to give fans a good fight. And some­how, against all odds, they did.”

This was in The New Yorker. The New Yorker! David Rem­nick’s New Yorker!

Some­body was con­fused, all right. But it wasn’t Floyd May­weather.

Now, those who thought they were watch­ing a fight last month, if they have any money left over from the $100 they shelled out for May­weather-McGre­gor, may need an in­struc­tion man­ual to watch Golovkin-Al­varez — which, at the very least, should be a good fight, pitting the hard-hit­ting, big­ger Golovkin, the undis­puted, un­de­feated (37-0, 33 knock­outs) against the box­ing artist Al­varez, who has won ti­tles in two dif­fer­ent weight classes but spent much of his ca­reer as a ju­nior mid­dleweight at 154 pounds.

At one time, when this fight was first be­ing de­bated, Golovkin was the clear-cut fa­vorite. But now, at the age of 35, some ob­servers be­lieve he is on the down­side of his ca­reer, while Al­varez, 27, with a record of 49-1-1 and 34 knock­outs, is at his peak, and is con­sid­ered a slight fa­vorite.

Two lo­cal box­ing greats who once held the ti­tle belts on the line Satur­day night — Keith Holmes, a for­mer World Box­ing Coun­cil two-time mid­dleweight ti­tle holder from 1996 to 2001, and Wil­liam Joppy, the for­mer World Box­ing As­so­ci­a­tion 160-pound cham­pion — both be­lieve that Al­varez will emerge the win­ner.

“When you go back to my fight with Quincy Tay­lor (who Holmes de­feated in 1996 to win the WBC mid­dleweight ti­tle), I was ranked No. 1 at 147 at the time and moved up to 154 pounds,” said Holmes, who in re­tire­ment has de­vel­oped a com­pres­sion work­out shirt called Ripflexxx. “I went into that fight with Tay­lor weigh­ing 157 pounds, so I don’t look at who is the nat­u­ral mid­dleweight here. I just look at how a guy deals with his op­po­nents.

“I think Canelo will do great against Triple G,” said Holmes, who said he is writ­ing a book. “I see a lot of holes that Triple G has. He’s open for body shots and he doesn’t like body shots. I think Canelo is pretty good with get­ting on his toes and Triple G is ba­si­cally a guy that (Muham­mad) Ali would al­ways say is al­ways in the mud. He’s not able to bounce. I like Canelo.”

Joppy, the three-time WBA mid­dleweight cham­pion, also from 1996 to 2001, is also an Al­varez fan. “This is a great matchup,” said Joppy, who is work­ing as a per­sonal trainer, train­ing some lo­cal fighters and also, like Holmes, writ­ing a book about his ca­reer. “I’m lean­ing to­ward Canelo. Look at their records and the op­po­nents they’ve faced. Triple G has never fought any­one like Canelo.

“I wouldn’t be sur­prised if Canelo stopped Triple G,” Joppy said. “Canelo is the bet­ter boxer, and he’s tough. I know Triple G can crack and has some se­ri­ous power. He has bricks in his hands, but who has he fought? I re­spect him, but I don’t think he is in the same elite class as an An­dre Ward or a Floyd May­weather, or Canelo.

“If you go back and watch his fights, Triple G gets hit a lot, and not just one shot, but three or four punch com­bi­na­tions,” Joppy said. “Canelo has got­ten bet­ter ever since he fought Floyd May­weather (los­ing a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion to May­weather four years ago). He’s grown from that fight.”

Un­for­tu­nately, the pub­lic has not. They need a re­fresher on great fights. Satur­day night may serve that pur­pose.

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