To earn third fight with Canelo, GGG must prove he has something left
By Matthew Reyna @MatthewReynaTX: In his two fights with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin earned 13 rounds on my scorecards. I scored the first fight 115-113 for Golovkin and the second fight a draw based on the strength of Golovkin’s rally in the late rounds.
Reasonable observers can disagree on the winner and the margins, but Golovkin certainly did not lose the first match 118-110 as reflected on the scorecard of judge Adelaide Byrd.
A rubber match between the two would have been a natural fit in 2019, but over the last 18 months, Golovkin has fought his way out of contention for the megafight.
Since the second fight, Golovkin has won three fights against weak competition. He arguably failed his biggest post-Canelo test when he squeaked by Sergiy Derevyanchenko by a razor-thin decision in a fight that many experts thought he lost. I scored the fight 114-113 for Derevyanchenko, perpetually waiting for the late Golovkin rally that never came.
In his other two fights, Golovkin looked uninspired before stopping massive underdogs Steve Rolls and Kamil Szeremeta–neither of whom are considered top contenders.
On the other side of the equation, Canelo has drastically raised his stock since the bell rang on their second fight. Because of the controversial nature of the two fights, boxing fans had their share of questions about Canelo’s staying power as a legitimate superstar. Asked and answered.
Canelo is 5-0 with three knockouts since the second Golovkin fight. He has convincingly beaten top fighters like Daniel Jacobs and Callum Smith, and even moved up to the light heavyweight division and viciously knocked out borderline future Hall of Famer Sergey Kovalev for the lineal title. As he prepares for a spring unification fight with undefeated Billy Joe Saunders, Canelo’s stock has never been higher.
Canelo’s active schedule for 2021 means that a potential third fight with Golovkin will not happen until the first quarter of 2022 at the earliest. At this point, the burden is on Golovkin to prove he is deserving of that fight.
To this observer, there are only three fights that could serve as accurate barometers for what Golovkin has left: Jermall Charlo, Jaime Munguia, and Ryota Murata.
If Golovkin fights and convincingly beats two out of three from that list of legitimate middleweight contenders, he would be deserving of the 2022 megafight with Canelo. Even just one win over the undefeated titleholders Charlo or Munguia would be enough to convince most observers.
What we cannot do is allow Golovkin to limp into the third fight with Canelo off of the ‘strength’ of victories against boxers like Rolls and Szermeta.
A third fight between Golovkin and Canelo is still the biggest match that can be made in boxing and surely would be aired on pay-per-view. Fans deserve to know beforehand if they are paying for a legitimate match or Pacquiao-Morales III.
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