This Saturday night from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, the super middleweight championship of the world is on the line as Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin tangle for the third time. Really, putting all the titles aside, they are really battling for personal bragging rights, once and for all.
What was once a very respectful rivalry, is now one that is incredibly contentious.
They flat out don't like one another at this stage. Which quite frankly, is part of the appeal of this match-up.
Not only are they world-class fighters, but they want to genuinely hurt one another. Any pretense of sportsmanship or decorum has evaporated over time.
There has been a debate over how much interest there really is in 2022 for Canelo-GGG. Yeah, back in 2017 it was the biggest and most important bout in boxing. And their rematch a year later, which was an even better fight than the original, was the last true boxing pay-per-view to cross the million buy barrier.
It can be argued that there is a bit of fatigue as it relates to this pairing. Much like there was prior to the fourth meeting between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012. That fight and its shocking knockout of 'the Pac Man' was a fitting conclusion to one of the great modern rivalries. Perhaps, the same dynamic exists between these two.
They know one another so well, they can't help but make good fights when they share a ring.
There are those who believe that this trilogy is at least a few years too late in coming to fruition. A lot has happened since they last met. Alvarez, despite his recent loss to Dmitry Bivol as a light heavyweight, ascended to becoming the biggest name in boxing, and for a few years the label as the pound-for-pound king of the sport. Golovkin on the other hand has fought just three times since suffering the only loss of his career, and is now 40 years old.
Ed Mulholland, DAZN
Putting all that aside, Alvarez is the Ring Champion at 168, having unified the division last year. While Golovkin is rated number one by Ring at 160, and is a unified champion. There are not many better match-ups on paper that are currently on the boxing schedule.
The consensus is that 'GGG' clearly won their initial bout (but had to settle for a draw), the rematch won by split decision by Canelo, a closely contested battle. There is still unfinished business between the two.
But it has to be stated, in an era when boxing is much more of a business than a sport, this may be it's last great rivalry. Think about it, moving forward when will we see two elite fighters go at it two or more times? OK, I'll grant you Roman Gonzalez-Juan Francisco Estrada (who will tussle for the third time in December) and the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder clashes.
So after this upcoming weekend, what is the next great multi-fight set in boxing?
I missed the halcyon days of the 80's with the likes of Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran, who carried boxing in this era with their scrum. Yet, on my travels through Bash Blvd, I still got to see the likes of Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, and their rivalries with Pacquiao. (Barrera and Morales themselves had a memorable trio of bouts.)
Who can forget the series between Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez (yeah, they fought four times, but their final fight to me is like the 'Rocky V' of that franchise). Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward had a memorable 30 rounds with one another.
In an era where many proposed fights are non-starters because of promotional rivalries and/or network alliances, and many times just flat out Secret Service-level protection from their handlers -- coupled with the lack of real activity that now exists with the marquee boxers -- we rarely get the bouts that matter even once.
So enjoy Canelo-Golovkin III, it might be the last great boxing rivalry.
This card will be available on DAZN PPV on Saturday (8 pm, ET, 5 pm, PT)....So LeVeon Bell is the undisputed champion of former NFL running backs, as he scored a KO of Adrian Peterson on 'the Social Gloves' card this past weekend....Has this west coast heat wave ended, yet?....Georgia, as of now, is by far the best college football team in the land....I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org....