Let’s take a critical look at the past week in boxing, which featured the final chapter in the rivalry between Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The “good” that came out of the third fight between Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin on Saturday is that it’s over.
The 40-year-old Triple-G looked his age for two thirds of the bout and 39 in the last third. Alvarez faded down the stretch of a fight he never really wanted, complaining afterward that he aggravated a painful wrist injury that will require surgery.
The result was painful to watch.
The first seven, eight rounds weren’t remotely competitive, as Alvarez pushed the action and the plodding Golovkin focused on avoiding punishment rather than dishing any of it out. He threw almost nothing but inaccurate jabs.
It was as if Golovkin – who had pushed his rival to his limits in their two previous fights – didn’t belong in the ring with him at this stage of the game.
A clearly frustrated Johnathan Banks, Golovkin’s trainer, said in a ringside interview during Round 8 that his man needed to get to work. The fact is he didn’t show up for work for most of the fight.
Triple-G began to fight back in the eighth or ninth round, which made the fight competitive from then on. He claimed that the late start was his strategy, perhaps because he no longer has the stamina to fight hard for 12 rounds.
That effort didn’t save Golovkin or the fight.
The rally (if that’s what it was) was too little, too late, as he lost a unanimous decision by scores — 116-112, 115-113 and 115-113 — that were this ridiculously generous to the loser. (See “worse” below.)
And a few competitive rounds don’t transform a horrible fight into a good one, unless you like watching a shell of a once-great fighter face an injured opponent who didn’t seem the least bit inspired.
The first two fights between Alvarez and Golovkin were good fights. The third couldn’t have been more forgettable.
What’s next for Alvarez and Golovkin?
Alvarez said he wants to give his body time to heal, including what he said would be a surgically repaired wrist. Then he will pursue a rematch Dmitry Bivol, assuming the Russian defeats Gilberto Ramirez in November.
“And I’ll beat him,” Alvarez said after the fight Saturday.
I don’t think so.
Bivol’s unanimous-decision victory over Alvarez in May was convincing. He was the bigger, much better fighter that night. And I saw nothing in Alvarez’s third fight with Golovkin that leads me to believe he could overcome Bivol in a rematch, although I’ll take his word on the injury.
I get the desire for a rematch. Pride. However, I think Alvarez would be wiser to face opponents smaller than Bivol, guys like David Benavidez and Jermall Charlo. Those fights would be more winnable for Alvarez and better received by the fans.
Who wouldn’t want to see Alvarez vs. Benavidez? That’s the most exciting potential matchup for the Mexican.
Alvarez will have plenty of time to consider his options. I’m hoping he puts his pride aside and goes in a fan-friendly direction.
He made it clear after the fight that he plans to move back down to 160 to defend his middleweight titles, which makes me uncomfortable.
He might still be able to beat the likes of Kamil Szeremeta and Ryota Murata, his victims in his previous two fights. But can you imagine him fighting Demetrius Andrade or Jermall Charlo? I don’t want to think about that.
The Gennadiy Golovkin who once destroyed everyone in his path is gone. Maybe it’s time to move on.
I could ask this question about all too many fights that go the distance: What were the judges watching?
I gave Golovkin one of the 12 rounds. I can see giving him two, maybe even three if you gave him the benefit of every doubt. But five?
That’s what judges Steve Weisfeld and David Sutherland saw. They both gave Golovkin the first round and four of the last five. Judge Dave Moretti gave the loser four rounds, all coming in the final seven.
I acknowledge that Golovkin was more competitive in the final third of the fight but he was still inaccurate with his shots – mostly jabs – in those rounds. He was better but not particularly effective.
Alvarez didn’t have his best stretch, either. However, I thought he continued to land the more eye-catching shots.
Consider this: Had judges Weisfeld and Sutherland given Golovkin just one more round, a one-sided, not-really-competitive fight would’ve been a majority draw. Imagine the uproar had that occurred.
The bottom line for me? The official scoring had to be jarring for disappointed fans because they saw what they saw, a fight dominated by Alvarez that should’ve been scored as such. They know the scoring didn’t reflect what happened in the ring.
It was as if the judges bent over backward to justify a bad matchup. That’s not their job.
News item No. 1: Terence Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs) and Errol Spence Jr. (28-0, 22 KOs) have agreed to terms for a welterweight showdown on Nov. 19, although no one has signed anything. That’s the best possible matchup in boxing, reminiscent of great 147-pound matchups of the past. I wish Crawford (34) were a little younger but I’m not complaining. I hope it happens. …
News item No. 2: Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua apparently will meet on Dec. 3. It’s a strange matchup given Joshua’s back-to-back losses to Oleksandr Usyk, which has damaged his legacy. Why not fight Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight championship? Because an all-British matchup between Fury and Joshua is bigger than Fury-Usyk in terms of business, certainly in the U.K. It might be the most lucrative fight in the history of that country in spite of Joshua’s obvious vulnerabilities. I get it. Fury can fight Usyk later. Who wins the aforementioned fights? I now lean toward Crawford in a close fight with Spence because he’s the better, more dynamic all-around boxer. And no active heavyweight can beat a focused, fit Fury. …
Boxing can be funny. Junior bantamweight titleholder Bam Rodiguez (17-0, 11 KOs) destroyed Carlos Cuadras and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and then struggled on the Alvarez-Golovkin card against an opponent he was expected to handle easily, four-time title challenger Israel Gonzalez (28-5-1, 11 KOs). Rodriguez deserved the unanimous-decision victory but he had to work hard for it. Why? Give Gonzalez credit. The 25-year-old Mexican is a good, experienced fighter. And Rodriguez probably suffered somewhat of a let down after his life-changing victories earlier in the year. The 22-year-old from San Antonio deserves credit for getting the job done. And, of course, he remains a Fighter of the Year candidate. … Super middleweight contender Ali Akhmedov (19-1, 14 KOs) looked terrific in his shutout-decision victory over veteran Gabriel Rosado (26-16-1, 15 KOs) on the Alvarez-Golovkin card. Golovkin’s stable mate outboxed and outworked Rosado, who was never given a chance to get anything done. I’ll always wonder about Akhmedov’s chin light of his knockout loss to Carlos Gongora in 2020 but he clearly can fight. Rosado, 36, has now lost his last three fights. The end for the scrappy Philadelphia fighter is near.
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