LAS VEGAS - And so, finally, twelve months after Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez battled to a hard-fought and controversial draw; four months after they were initially scheduled to meet in a rematch; and seven months after that rematch was jeopardized and ultimately postponed by Alvarez testing positive for clenbuterol, the two men are just hours away from going toe-to-toe again.
The road from initial bout to rematch began and will end at the T-Mobile Arena, but it has been a long, winding, contentious and ill-tempered one. Neither man was satisfied with the verdict rendered by the three ringside judges last September; by the time they agreed to terms for a do-over, they had already grown weary of and irritated by each other. Their moods have not improved since then: Golovkin was incensed by Canelo’s positive test, Canelo was infuriated by Golovkin’s repeated characterization of him as a drugs cheat, Golovkin was irritated by Canelo’s sense of grievance, and meanwhile, the two men’s respective trainers sniped at each other from the sidelines. So high did the tension ratchet that not until Friday’s weigh-in did the two men stand face-to-face, the first time they had looked each other in the eye since a promotional event in February, when they seemed set to face off on May 5, in the good old days when their mutual antipathy revolved around events inside the ring rather than outside it.
And when they did meet, the tensions that had been simmering for months immediately boiled over. After the two men had stepped on the scale, Alvarez marched directly toward Golovkin, pushing his forehead onto his rival’s. Golovkin’s trainer, Abel Sanchez, immediately stepped in between the fighters, and Golovkin stared impassively before turning his back as Canelo’s trainers Chepo and Eddie Reynoso shouted angrily at him and Sanchez.
“I got excited by seeing all the people in the crowd,” said Alvarez afterward, by way of explanation of his actions. “It motivated me.”
“He is like a clown,” sniffed Golovkin.
“I defeated him at the weigh-in and I’ll defeat him tomorrow night,” insisted Canelo.
“I want to knock him out,” said Golovkin.
Twenty-four hours from now, each man will have the chance to prove himself right, and to bring a year of venom and spite to a definitive conclusion.
Weights from Las Vegas:
Canelo Alvarez 159.4 pounds.
Gennady Golovkin 159.6 pounds.
Jaime Munguia 154 pounds.
Brandon Cook 153.2 pounds.
David Lemieux 160 pounds.
Spike O’Sullivan 159.2 pounds.
Chocolatito Gonzalez 114.8 pounds.
Moises Fuentes 116 pounds.