Boxing

Ingredients are there for a classic as Canelo and Golovkin square up for Las Vegas rematch

Gennady Golovkin slips a right hand from 'Canelo' Alvarez during their first meeting
Andy Watters

WBA (Super), WBC and WBO middleweight World Championship: Gennady Golovkin (38-0-1) v Saul Alvarez (49-1-2) (tomorrow, 4am, T-Mobile Arena Las Vegas, live on BT Sport Box Office)

POWER, pedigree, riches, wrath, glory, vengeance, redemption…

The ingredients are there for tonight's Canelo-GGG rematch to serve up the ‘Fight of the Century' all boxing fans crave.

The first meeting of these pound-for-pound superstars – a year previously – was a see-sawing, tight 12-rounder and the scoring, which included Adalaide Byrd's inexplicable report of 118-110 to Alvarez, meant it ended in stalemate after the other judges at ringside scored it 115-113 to Golovkin and a 114-114 draw.

Golovkin has felt hard done by ever since and with some justification since the stats indicated that his punch output and success rate was highest in every round. Against that, Canelo's work was cleaner in the early stages and, although he faded in the middle rounds, he punctuated the closing stages with regular big shots that troubled his Khazak foe like few have before.

Since then the flame-haired Mexican has nosedived into controversy. Two failed drug tests in February led to the scrapping of the scheduled rematch in May after he tested positive for the chemical clenbuterol (an asthma prescription-only drug) which is considered a steroid and is seen as performance-enhancing.

Alvarez claimed the substance was in his system because he had eaten contaminated meat but he was banned for six months and returns determined to clear his name by prevailing against the 39-0-1 former Olympic champion.

In the aftermath of the doping scandal, the normally conciliatory Golovkin has been very critical of Alvarez, admitting: “I did lose all respect for him.”

He added: “Canelo is not the biggest name in boxing, just the biggest scandal. I feel very comfortable. It has been a great training camp. Abel (Sanchez, his trainer) has had me working on new things which I find very exciting.

“The cancellation of the rematch in May was a good life experience but it was not a good experience for boxing. I believe new judges and a new referee could be better for boxing and the fans.

“I have good experience from the first fight and right now I am ready. This fight is more interesting, more hard, more like a real war.”

At 28, Alvarez is eight years' younger than his opponent and has come in leaner and lighter for the rematch suggesting that he will look to box and move and create openings with accurate counters.

He had a lot of early success doing that in the first meeting but the Khazak adjusted and Alvarez's early promise faded before he regrouped for the late rally that got him out of jail on the scorecards.

Of course his critics claim that his recovery was aided by the illegal substance in his system and Alvarez has been stung by the criticism.

“I believe that cordiality we had - not in the ring - is over, as they keep opening their mouth,” he said of GGG and his team.

“I don't know why they're annoyed, if I'm the one that has made them the most money (Golovkin is earning 55 per cent of the purse).

“They say that is not important, that they are not arguing about it, but it's the first thing they are fighting for: the money, the purse. They only care about that.

“I don't like to talk too much. Obviously, I get mad, but I can control myself when it's time to box. That's why there will be no more cordiality.

“No doubt this will be a better fight. The desire to tear his head off is so big, and it will be much better.”

Golovkin is the favourite with the bookies and deservedly so but Alvarez showed enough first time around to leave no-one in any doubt of the threat he poses. Neither looked in any danger of being stopped, so the scorecards will probably be required again and GGG gets the nod to take this on points.

On the undercard, Cork's Gary 'Spike' O'Sullivan takes on Canadian middleweight David Lemieux.

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