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Canelo-Golovkin: The fight HBO wants you to see…. just not right away

Canelo Alvarez(Photo Credit:Ed Mulholland/Golden Boy/Golden Boy via Getty Images) By Robert Earle Stanton, 2015 Allen Hoey Award winner and author of “Selling the Pain.” This past Saturday Night if any casual fans tuned in, or disgruntled casual fans tuned in to see the replay of Mayweather vs Pacquiao they got their “Money’s Worth” by watching Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, now 45-1-1 with 32 knockouts take out James Kirkland, now 32-2 with 28 knockouts in a bout that was Hagler/Hearns-esque in style.

Knockout artist Kirkland rushed Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and backed him in a corner from the opening bell to get knocked down to somehow survive the first round and first half of the second where he was drilled with clean rights and hooks by “Canelo” to get dropped in the third round by an uppercut to get up and have the referee say, “Show me something” before “Canelo” hit him with a right hand that twisted his body around and laid him out flat.

“Canelo” even seemed concerned, coming over and standing over the carcass of Kirkland, the “Mandingo Warrior” as this had big impact on the boxing world, maybe more than it should. Saul Alvarez, dubbed “Canelo” at a young age, being given, it seems, his biggest props yet. However to a real fan “Canelo” who weighed in at 154 1/2 (as did Kirkland) 1/2 of a pound over the Jr. Middleweight limit, simply took out a guy tailor made for him who hasn’t fought since late December 2013.

One year and three months ago this could have been a different fight as James Kirkland was coming off of his three biggest wins in a row – being the first to stop 20-1 Alfredo Angulo, and it was not for Kirkland’s trainer, Anne Wolfe, Kirkland may not have gotten the DQ win over “King” Carlos Molina (a Molina that “Canelo” seemed disinterested in fighting as Molina beat a Cintron and “Canelo” would stop Cintron after instead of fight Molina) in late December 2013, Kirkland’s last fight, almost a year and a half ago, in Jersey, where Kirkland savagely stopped the 22-0 “Jersey Boy” Glen Tapia, ruining him (for he also got stopped again this past week) Kirkland also had his trainer and mentor Anne Wolfe with him at that time, the person who knows how to bring that beast out in the best way – but instead of getting “Canelo” vs Kirkland one year and three months ago because of Part time Rap Artist/Boxing Promoter “50 Cent” Kirkland went close to a year and a half on the shelf and did not box and was in exile from trainer/mentor Anne Wolfe – instead an unknown trainer working with him in his biggest fight.

So in reality did we expect anything less? This was a showcase for not Saul Alvarez, but the creation “Canelo” who is again, 45-1-1, who was coming off getting by a controversial Split Decision over Erislandy Lara and prior to that stopping a 22-3 Alfredo Angulo (who was beat by Cintron, trashed by Kirkland, and stopped by Lara) and prior to that “Canelo” who was undefeated at the time, seemed lost in the ring losing his Jr Middleweight crown to Floyd Mayweather. “Canelo” did unify two Jr Middleweight titles via 12 round Unanimous Decision over a 26-0 Austin Trout prior to that – which is what makes this story ironic. Trout was undefeated prior as Jr Middleweight Miguel Cotto was coming off of a spirited loss to Floyd Mayweather and got shockingly upset by Trout. Cotto, however, would implore the efforts of Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach and they would take on a Delvin Rodriguez where Cotto seemed to have his mojo back as they would go up to challenge Middleweight Champion Sergio Martinez who was making the 7th Defense of his WBC title that he won in 2010. At a contracted 159 pounds, the veteran Cotto never looked better, coming out and and dropping the Middleweight Champion 3 times in the first round where Martinez would injure a knee, and be in pain all the way through the 9th where he was dropped again as the fight would be stopped and Miguel Cotto would become a four division world champion. But that was just the start of it.

That was last June and all respect has gone away from Cotto 39-4 (32) (who defends his Middleweight title vs Daniel Geale, 31-3, with 16 knockouts at the Barclays Center June 6th brought to you by HBO) And if HBO has their way, Cotto, the proud Puerto-Rican Champion, will win, defending his middleweight title and the stars will align when he takes on the Pride of Mexico, “Canelo.” This fight was supposed to happen already, actually, yet because of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, who both had backup plans (Floyd had a rematch back up plan with Cotto and Manny Pacquiao had a back up plan with Aamir Khan, Cotto vs “Canelo” fell through when “Canelo” maybe suffered an injury and could not fight Joshua Clottey and put a deadline on Cotto signing, who was negotiating with bigger bucks. In the wake of “Canelo” vs Kirkland, Cotto vs Geale is now an afterthought, a just, “Let’s hope Cotto wins so this can happen.” Actually, Cotto is looked at as the underdog.

If HBO could write a script and have it the way they want to have it, they will have the two “other” biggest draws in the sport, “Canelo” beating Cotto (a 24 year old is preferred to a 34 year old veteran) which again, is a huge event. You have the “Puerto Rico vs Mexico” logic that will fill a stadium, and if the 10 year younger “Canelo” can come off winning the WBC Middleweight Title (he’s never even fought at Middleweight before, yet last Saturday Night fighting above Jr Middleweight for the first time is an indication of what’s coming) and going up against the other biggest draw in the sport as it would be a unification title fight – WBA Middleweight Champion and feared knockout artist, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (who has also thrown his name in the hat for a fight with Floyd Mayweather in September).

Gennady “GGG” Golovkin is 32-0 with 29 knockouts. who is 33 years old from Kazakhstan and is an Olympic Silver Medalist. He sells. He knocks people out. Even if they don’t have the most credentials, “GGG” won the WBA Middleweight Title over 14-2-1 Nilson Julio Tapia in 2010. He has made 12 defenses since – all by knockout. The person who lasted the longest was his last fight in February when he made a 29-1-1 Martin Murray a literal punching bag. If I ran off the names on his hit list no one would know who they were, however, maybe they heard of Geale, who he KO’d in the 3rd round, which is interesting, the guy Miguel Cotto defends his WBC title against next month.

The point is HBO does not care if GGG has really not fought anyone or if “Canelo” just had the biggest two and half round highlight reel vs Kirkland (while losing the biggest fight of his life by a mile vs Floyd and getting by with a controversial SD over Lara) The point is “GGG” and “Canelo” Sell – and what better of a sale is “Canelo” vs “GGG” for the unified WBC/WBA Middleweight Unification?

All things aren’t that easy, however. Again, even though “GGG ” is a young 33 and Cotto is an old 34, if Cotto successfully defends his WBC title vs Daniel Geale he has to defend it vs “GGG” or is stripped of it, making Cotto vs “Canelo” a seller but not really since it’s not for the Middleweight title. I’m sure they’ll somehow figure that out while “GGG” bides his time with just another body when he takes on unknown Willie Monroe, Jr, who has 19 wins, 1 loss, with 16 knockouts.

So how does this triangle play out? We’ve seen the beginning, “Canelo” knocking out James Kirkland. We’ll see this upcoming Saturday Night “GGG” defend his WBA title for the 13th time vs Monroe, Jr. and we’ll see June 6th how Cotto looks defending his WBC title for the first time against a guy that “GGG” knocked out in the 3rd round.

The shame of it is that Miguel Cotto was once like “GGG” at 32-0, as he held a Welterweight title. The difference was Cotto was a lot younger and was coming off beating names like Mosley and Judah and beat 5 undefeated fighters including guys like Quintana and Torres. That Cotto was going in the ring to fight Margarito and would avenge that first loss. That Cotto fought the best in Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Clottey, Mayorga, ect. and would win the Middleweight title he holds vs Martinez but perception has changed since then and in boxing, perception rules.

In the words of Johnny Rotten on Sid Vicious, “No Respect.”

“Canelo” vs “GGG” is where the money is at.

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