There is a long roll call of British boxers who know from painful experience why the fight between Saul Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin will set the sport alight again in Las Vegas this weekend.
The most prominent is Amir Khan, who is predicting the end of the unbeaten Golovkin’s seven-year middleweight reign and the rise of “Canelo” Alvarez to superstar status.
The contest at the T-Mobile Arena is being hailed by many as the potential fight of the decade with the 35-year-old Kazakh putting four titles on the line — the WBA, WBC, IBF and The Ring belts — against the tough Mexican.
Golovkin is unbeaten in 37 fights, winning 33 by knockout while Alvarez has lost just once in 51 bouts, to Floyd Mayweather Jr four years ago.
“As hard as they both hit I think Canelo will win on points,” insisted former world light-welterweight champion Khan, who was knocked out by Alvarez in the sixth round of their clash in May last year. “He is an excellent counter-puncher and likes fighters coming to him, which Golovkin does.
“Golovkin tends to walk down fighters. He is physically stronger but he won’t have it all his own way because Canelo is just as imposing and won’t be bullied.
“This will be a very special fight. These are the two best middleweights in the world taking on each other.”
Some detect a waning of the big-hitting Golovkin’s sharpness after his past two performances, a points win against American Daniel Jacobs in March and a fifth-round stoppage of Britain’s Kell Brook in London last September, in which the champion appeared slightly laboured. Alvarez, meanwhile, has won with power and class seven times since his only defeat.
Among the victims, along with Khan, was Liverpool middleweight Liam Smith, who was knocked out in nine rounds in Texas last year. In 2011, it was the Britons Matthew Hatton and Ryan Rhodes who succumbed during Alvarez’s rise to prominence.
Golovkin’s defeat of Brook at the 02 was his first fight in Britain but he also beat Merseysider Martin Murray and Birmingham’s Matthew Macklin.
Khan added: “Canelo is only getting better. Golovkin is an excellent fighter but he had trouble dealing with Jacobs and Canelo has even more skills.
“I’ve been in the ring with him and he’s quick, has good movement and is a big puncher.
“People think Golovkin is the puncher going into this fight but Canelo’s power should not be underestimated.”
Brook is also predicting victory for Canelo, saying he showed the Kazakh was fallible when they clashed.
He said: “We’ve seen the best of Golovkin and I think people actually know — and this is a big factor — he is just human. He can be hit and he can be out-boxed, he can be beaten and top fighters are going to go in with that mentality.”
Promoter Oscar De La Hoya says the fight will rival the epic 1985 contest between Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns. Hagler successfully defended the same WBA, WBC, IBF and The Ring belts against fellow all-time great Hearns in three brutal rounds.
And De La Hoya, who won world titles in six weight divisions, said: “This event needs no hype whatsoever. This is for supremacy, to see who the best fighter on the planet is. It’s really hard to remember when we’ve witnessed this type of match-up.
“You have to go back to the Hagler days, to Hearns — and we’re still talking about that fight, that’s exactly what this event is all about.”
Source: John Dillon| ES