After beating Liam Smith to win the WBO Light Middleweight title, Canelo Alvarez said the usual things. That he isn’t afraid of anyone, which was aimed at Gennady Golovkin, probably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world today. Realistically, just like the mega disappointing fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, it’ll happen after the zenith point of the potential fight.
Alvarez, who is also The Ring and the lineal middleweight champion, won’t fight again in 2016 due to a fracture in his thumb following his impressive win over Smith, beating the 28-year old Liverpool-based fighter with a 9th round TKO. Already appearing twice in 2016, Alvarez wasn’t likely to fight again this year, which further established him as a mauler of British fighters (beat Amir Khan as well) and the biggest PPV draw in the sport outside of Pacquiao, who is in and out in terms of being fully committed to boxing.
Alvarez is 26, and while he loves fighting light middleweights, he belongs in the 160 category, where Golovkin roams and dominates. The 34-year old Kazakhstani, a silver medalist from the 2004 Athens Olympics, is 36-0 as a pro, winning 33 of his fights by knockout. He fought Dominic Wade back in April, winning in the second round, and destroyed Kell Brook 10 days ago, leaving the previously undefeated British boxer dazed and confused, with the fight stopped in the fifth round. Golovkin has said a number of times he wants to fight Alvarez. Unlike Khan and Brook who had to go well beyond their natural weight to get the big fights, Golovkin and Alvarez are just fine at 160. Someone doesn’t want this fight to happen.
The assumption is that it’s Alvarez. The Golden Boy for Golden Boy promotions has one loss on his record, getting completely outboxed by Floyd Mayweather in 2013, a fight Canelo probably headed into way before he should have. Right now, despite the power and durability he shows when fighting smaller guys, it seems that Golovkin would be too much for him. In 36 fights Golovkin isn’t just undefeated. He’s never been actually hurt by anyone, or at least he’s hiding it too well, despite not being too strict about defense. He’s quite open to getting hit. He simply doesn’t get shaken up, and delivers twice as worse to anyone facing him.
The fear here is that such a big fight both in terms of quality and financially will waste away. Golovkin is going to start declining at some point, and that day isn’t far away. Sergio Martinez didn’t get the big fight until he was way over the hill, beaten by Miguel Cotto. Alvarez beat Cotto last year in a fight that drew close to 1 million PPV buys. Golovkin doesn’t have the drawing power of Cotto, but Alvarez alone is a huge name these days, and the prospect of the biggest middleweight fight in years, with Golovkin holding the WBA, IBF, IBO and WBC middleweight titles, will help unify the division championship.
In a sport so violent, where a bad fight could end up in a career-changing beating, Alvarez might be doing the right thing, even if it means he’s running scared from a presumably better fighter. Maybe Golovkin not moving up to face Andre Ward deserves the same criticism, but he’s classic at Middleweight – why should he move? Alvarez seems natural at the 160 too, but for some reason, maybe financial ones, he’s drawing this one out, maybe waiting for Golovkin to show some sort of weakness against someone else.