GGG and Canelo have everything to play for at the T-Mobile Arena but what could a win mean for both men at this stage of their careers?
Now that the dust has finally settled on the ‘Exhibition’ that was Mayweather/McGregor the boxing world can finally return to doing what it does best: Pitting the best against the best.
On Saturday night, as I’m sure you know, that’s exactly what we have in store when Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin collides with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez to determine who really is the best in the middleweight division and, arguably, the overall best fighter on planet Earth.
It’s a genuine 50/50 megafight – a rarity these days – pitting youth and skill against insatiable power.
But although we are yet to see the results of the collision one must pose the inevitable question: Whoever wins, what’s next?
If the history of the sport has taught us anything, tradition demands the victor must move-up in weight to take on a fresh line-up of challengers.
But, in this case, would it be the right decision?
Normally when titans of their respective divisions meet under such circumstances their pro records are virtually mirror images of each other in terms of shifting weight, but not this time.
While Canelo has taken the tried and tested route of rising through the ranks from Welterweight to Middleweight (3 divisions) Golovkin chose to establish himself firmly in one spot and to cement his name despite his sensational dominance – in other words he’s a Middleweight through and through.
It’s his yard. No question. When we look at it from this perspective the fighter with the most to gain in the short term is GGG.
With a victory over Canelo he will have undoubtedly secured his place as the finest Middleweight of his era and one of the greatest of all time.
It would only make sense for him to at least attempt to conquer another mountain.
However, rather than any talk of moving up, Golovkin has always chosen to focus on the task at hand and only consider other options afterwards – a smart policy considering the amount of rising fighters who get ahead of themselves before their party is spoiled.
Also, GGG has hinted that the one fight which has always eluded him for one reason or another – the middleweight clash with Puerto Rican legend Miguel Cotto – is his ultimate dream match-up and could potentially be his last.
The ‘Kasakh Destroyer’ has made no secret of the fact he doesn’t plan on sticking around in the game for too much longer and that a fight with Cotto would be the icing on the cake of an incredible undefeated run.
After all, despite showing no signs of slowing down, he is 35 years old and is reaching the end of his lifespan in boxing years. Perhaps walking away after cutting down the Mexican would be a wise move.
Alvarez, on the other hand, was just a baby at the tender age of 15 making his pro debut and is still considered a young man in the sport today twelve years later.
He may have been involved in some of the biggest fights of the past several years but he still must have a lot left in the tank and a long way to go in boxing, should he chose to stay the course, which would without a doubt lead to a run at Super-Middleweight.
From the build up to this fight it’s plain to see that Canelo is able to alter his physical state to match the standard of whatever division he calls home. He looked menacing at welterweight.
At middleweight he looks like a beast of a man. Could Canelo pile on any more muscle-mass for the move up?
However, at only five feet nine inches, Canelo would probably be giving away a considerably large height and reach advantage should he plan to meet the likes of James DeGale who stands at a solid six feet.
While crazier things have happened (a short and stocky Joe Frazier becoming the smallest heavyweight champ in history) it is still a cause for concern.
But, based on his Mexican heritage in the sport, if anything history demands Canelo rise to meet the challenge.
Mexican legends like Barrera, Chavez and Morales all took belts in numerous weight classes. A feat Alvarez has already accomplished, of course.
But with hype, youth and strength on his side why would he stop? If he comes out on top this Saturday night the boxing would would be his metaphorical oyster.
Whatever their plans for the future, it’s nice to see the boxing faithful come together for another megafight in what will surely be a historic night in Las Vegas.
My money is on Canelo, my heart is with Triple G. And I can’t wait.