Six years ago, a young 21-year-old Saul “Canelo” was preparing for his first title defense against Ryan Rhodes. Canelo’s team went to Big Bear California when Abel Sanchez asked them to spar an unknown fighter whom everyone was so afraid to fight. Gennady Golovkin look more like a choirboy than his imposing record. Twenty fights with 14 Knockouts, GGG fought mostly in Germany and yet major fights and even sparring partners continuously evaded them. Golovkin was preparing at that time for Kassim Ouma and Canelo is perfect with his speed and slightly smaller built. While GGG was mostly holding back, Canelo worked with his jab and superb footwork. GGG stunned Canelo a few times but Alvarez found ways to compete and gave GGG a good workout.
Fast forward to September 16 2017, after twelve grueling rounds GGG and Canelo both raised their arms in victory. It took years of back and forth negotiations, finally the two alphas are slugging out for boxing supremacy in the middleweight division. GGG’s relentless pressure and Canelo’s offensive spurts was a beauty to watch. Both fighters painting their own masterpiece. Boxing was their uninspiring canvas, when politics and business took over the sport. For a moment, boxing became glamorous after GGG and Canelo reattributed it. It felt like we were back in 1981 when two highly accomplished boxers, Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns first fought. In other words, the world stopped and everyone’s eyes are glued for this fight. This was a historical match for both future hall of famers. And before we could tap and applaud everyone who made this fight happen. Unexpectedly, Adelaide Byrd, one of the judges in the fight stole the show. When everyone scored it close, Byrd had it 118-110 for Alvarez. It is a travesty of a mockery of a sham. Boxing as a sport have been hounded by controversies and politics and yet on the biggest fight, when everyone was watching and when it’s integrity was on the line. It failed miserably. It was the perfect story, sparring partners who made their way to the top. An heir to the Golden Boy against the choirboy slugger who was virtually unknown in the US six years ago. And yet when it matters the most, boxing’s true form which is already deeply rooted showed its true color.
The fight ended a draw. This was a fight GGG and Canelo both rehearsed six years ago… they fought their hearts out. They both deserve to win.
Boxing once again lost that night.