- Gennadiy Golovkin won his fight on April 9, playing his part in setting up a mega-match later this year.
- If Saul Alvarez beats Dmitri Bivol on May 7, a Canelo vs. Triple-G fight could happen in September.
- According to one of the boxing executives involved, the rivalry is truly personal.
Gennadiy Golovkin defeated Ryota Murata by knockout in a world middleweight title unification match earlier this month, doing his part to set up a lucrative trilogy fight against longtime rival Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez later this year.
Murata started the April 9 fight in fast fashion, forcing Golovkin to make a mid-fight adjustment to score a ninth-round stoppage at Tokyo’s Saitama Super Arena – a result that saw the Kazakh fighter add the WBA belt to his IBF and IBO titles.
Should Alvarez defeat Dmitri Bivol in a light heavyweight bout at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on May 7, the third installment in Canelo’s saga with Golovkin could take place in September.
Speaking to Insider from his Los Angeles office before joining Triple-G in Tokyo, boxing promoter Tom Loeffler said Alvarez may have felt the timing was right to engage Golovkin in a third and potentially final fight.
The rivals battled it out in 2017 – a fight that marked a draw, although most observers considered Golovkin the winner – before reigniting it in 2018, a fight that handed Alvarez a victory.
“I think Canelo considers it safe to return to the waters” with Golovkin, Loeffler said.
“Obviously in the first fight the majority of people thought Triple-G won the fight, and it’s a contested loss in the second fight, where it should have been a draw. A judge had a match no.”
Loeffler thinks it could have represented a “sliding door” moment, because if Golovkin got the decisions, then he could reign at the top of the sport right now, rather than Alvarez – the current pound-for-pound king.
“Triple-G pushed Canelo the most,” of all Alvarez’s opponents, according to Loeffler.
He added: “If you look at Canelo, clearly being considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, but if Triple-G had gotten those decisions, he should be on top.
“That’s how close those fights were, and it’s just the style match makes for great fights,” Loeffler said. “I think a third fight certainly won’t disappoint the fans if it actually happens.”
The rivalry is personal for both fighters
“It got a bit personal between the two,” Loeffler said of the rivalry between Golovkin and Canelo.
It has not always been so. According to the promoter, the two fighters faced off early in their respective careers. This was before Golovkin even debuted on HBO.
In the Big Bear Mountains, they traded slugs and apparently “had a lot of respect for each other” and recognized the talents the other had.
Over the years, however, things have changed.
Alvarez tested positive for clenbuterol, a banned drug, in 2018. Canelo’s camp blamed the suspicious meat, according to ESPN.
“Gennadiy was pretty candid” about the drug test, Loeffler said. “And Canelo seemed to take offense to some of his comments.
“Because of that, the second fight got more personal,” Loeffler said.
“That’s one of the reasons Canelo wasn’t fighting him earlier, but I think Canelo now feels he might be safe to get back in the ring with the toughest guy he’s ever fought. “