By: Brian Von Wolfe
Let’s forget about Mrs. Byrd’s alleged “bad night” and unfortunate 118-110 scorecard for a moment.
The highly unfavorable outcome is done and dusted.
The more intriguing topic is what it all means for Gennady Golovkin, the man better known as Triple G.
As the scorecards were read out on Saturday night, and the luster of what was one of the finest middleweight fights in recent memory was instantly tarnished, it was hard not to fall into the cliched thinking that this is exactly what boxing doesn’t need right now. Perhaps that is true.
However, despite what Saturday night means for boxing as a sport, Gennady comes away the winner. Not in the sense that the charming, likable iron-chinned champion won a few fans while putting on a signature “Big Drama Show,” but that the draw was an unforeseen windfall of sorts.
To put it into context, the Alvarez and Golovkin dance started in December of 2015, when the WBC allowed both fighters to take an interim bout before finally agreeing to negotiate. Alvarez signed on to fight Amir Khan and Golovkin seemingly waited.
Not surprisingly, Alvarez knocked out Khan in the sixth round and after the post fight interview called Golovkin, who was sitting ringside, into the ring. Canelo proudly claimed through a translator, “Like I said in Mexico, ‘We don’t f— around.’ We don’t come to play in this sport. I fear no one in this sport. I’ll fight him right now.”
It was a WWE-esque moment to say the least and likely a humiliating one for Golovkin as well. Fifteen days later, Canelo vacated the WBC belt and went on to face and stop Liam Smith. That was in September of 2016. That same month, Gennady went on to stop Kell Brook, seemingly setting up the showdown boxing fans had been clamoring for.
It wasn’t to be. Citing promotional concerns and time for Alvarez to build up to 160, the fight was pushed back.
It was hard not to conclude that Alvarez’s promotional arm, Golden Boy Promotions was simply waiting for Golovkin to show signs of age.
In March of 2017, Golovkin moved on and faced Daniel Jacobs at Madison Square Garden. Beating Jacobs by unanimous decision, Golovkin went the full 12 rounds for the first time in his career. Was this the sign that Golden Boy Promotions was waiting for?
Well, Alvarez went on to face Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., in May of 2017, but allegedly already had a deal in place to fight Golovkin before the fight against Chavez Jr. even started.
Alvarez defeated Chavez Jr. in what turned out to be a lopsided bout. At the conclusion of the post-fight interview, Golovkin once again entered the ring, this time to confirm that the fight between he and Alvarez had been agreed to.
It was long and strange road before the two ended up meeting at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night. At 35 years old, Golovkin worked up to what was probably one of the biggest moments in his boxing career, only to have the rug pulled out from under him. It may seem only natural that the two face off again in a rematch.
However, up to the opening bell this past Saturday night in Las Vegas Golovkin has seemingly needed the fight with Alvarez more than Alvarez has needed the fight with Golovkin. Alvarez can face average competition and still pack arenas and pull solid PPV numbers. Before last Saturday, that wasn’t really the case for Golovkin.
Golovkin remains the middleweight champion of the world, and Alvarez failed to beat him, despite a highly questionable scoring card. Golovkin can move on undefeated and continue with his original quest to claim all the middleweight belts in the division.
Had Golovkin lost on Saturday night, he would be without his belts and no guarantee of a rematch with Alvarez. Had Alvarez lost, his promotional team could have exercised the rematch clause in the fight contract.
Golovkin is better off ending this dance with Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotions. He can chalk it up to breaking even in Las Vegas.
In a less-publicized fight earlier this past Saturday, WBO middleweight champion, Billy Jo Saunders defeated former Golovkin knock-out victim, Willie Monroe Jr. at the Copperbox Arena in England.
The next natural challenge for Golovkin and the sport as a whole is to face Billy Jo Saunders in a title unification bout. Much like Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotions made Golovkin wait almost two years, K2 promotions and Golovkin should return the favor.
Golovkin doesn’t need to return to Las Vegas, nor anywhere else to face Alvarez just yet. His legacy as a boxer is calling and still within reach.