Since my previous post both Golovkin and Canelo fought and won by stoppages but the manner of how they performed and the way experts are viewing their potential matchup has certainly changed. GGG was briefly troubled by the undersized but skilled Kell Brook where as Canelo looked sharp and strong as he systematically cut down Liam Smith.
Here in the UK there was a frenzy surrounding Golovkin, his name was constantly mentioned on sports websites, TV shows, radio shows, apps and social media and I believe gave him the required exposure that he was craving as his team look to build a large enough fan base to show to Golden Boy Promotions when negotiating the financial side of that eventual mega fight. Even though maybe it was not his finest performance, it served a valuable purpose in generating interest and intrigue around Golovkin.
As Golovkin and his team continue to build his recognition of his name and reputation, Canelo has his own challenge to overcome. He has an incredible and loyal following but needs to be good enough to make a fight with GGG competitive, engaging and enthralling.
I paid particular attention to comments made by fans about the potential GGG-Canelo matchup. I read comments on social media describing Canelo as a “bitch”, “ducker” and “coward” all of which are ridiculous. Canelo is a proud Mexican who has proven himself against quality opposition with a variety of styles and he visibly bristles with agitation whenever Golovkin’s name is mentioned in interviews which indicates to me that he feels that there is a score to be settled between them. We can’t dismiss the fact that whilst achieving so much at just 26 years old, he is still capable of improving. What benefit would there be in having the fight now whilst there is still a supposed chasm in ability between the two fighters? Would a fight where Golovkin beats Canelo like a dusty rug and concludes with a devastating knockout be good for boxing and give us the entertainment that we expect from this great sport? If that’s the case we may as well watch repeats of Danny Garcia vs Rod Salka (for those that haven’t seen this fight, don’t bother, it was crap).
The fight against Liam Smith was ridiculed when it was announced and the pay per view numbers were unflattering but this fight was productive for Canelo. With GGG looking “mortal and vulnerable” against a naturally smaller Kell Brook. Canelo displayed great skill, power, punch selection, an ability to absorb punches and how to deal with an undefeated aggressive champion that kept coming forward. Following the bout I noticed that there were even some pundits, trainers, experts and fans now leaning towards Canelo, showing that this potential fight is starting to be viewed as an even money match up.
As stated in Part 1 of this blog when creating a mega fight the promotion needs to be exceptional. You need to have marketable names that are able to grab the attention of hardcore fans, casual fans and to crossover into the mainstream. Equally important is the need for both guys to be in their prime and at their best so that when it comes to fight night, we are treated to a show worthy of the pre-fight hype. A show that will provide excitement, explosiveness, unpredictability, great skill and will from both fighters. Without this we will have a Lewis-Tyson or Mayweather-Pacquiao situation. A fight that might garner interest from the public but after the fight cause disillusion and disappointment leading to boxing losing a whole generation of potential boxing fans. They were fights that served up more questions than answers as we can look on comment sections to this day and have fans pose hypothetical questions such as “Yeah Lewis beat on Tyson but what if he fought a young, prime Tyson?” or “Pacquiao was faded by the time he fought Mayweather, what if Mayweather fought the unrelenting buzz-saw that cut through the likes of De La Hoya, Hatton and Cotto? .” Mistimed fights are just are indefinitive as hypothetical fights that never happened at all as we are still left asking that frustrating unanswerable question ‘what if?’
Ali vs Frazier, Hagler vs Hearns, Leonard vs Hearns, Sanchez vs Gomez, Barrera vs Morales. Without these epic wars these warriors would still be recognised for their achievements and talent but by fighting their esteemed contemporaries at the right time they gave the people a spectacle that turned intrigued viewers into lifelong fans and turned these great fighters into legends. Hypothetical questions are definitively answered as to who was the better man but the courageous and skillful performances by every man in that list of fights means that the boxing gods smile at the thought of all of them. They birthed new fans who followed their careers till the end and made boxing a healthier, more credible and more profitable sport.
In this advanced technological and social age where instant gratification is demanded, I urge fans, experts and media to be patient and stop throwing a strop like a 5 year old demanding dinner before it’s cooked. Like Uncle Bob Arum says, let this one marinate, it needs a little more work and hopefully in a years time when Golovkin has an increased profile and Canelo has an improved skillset, they will be able to walk into the ring as two great fighters and come out of the ring as legends that left a gift for fans to look back on gratefully rather than another frustrating ‘what if?’ question.