Golovkin, Alvarez both fighting to define their careers

Canelo and Golovkin do some pre-fight hobnobbingThree weeks after Floyd Mayweather defeated Conor McGregor, T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas is set to host the bout that boxing aficionados really wanted. Gennady Golovkin will fight Canelo Alvarez on Saturday with worldwide middleweight dominance on the line, pitting two of this generation’s most exciting boxers against one another. It’s a fight Golovkin has been waiting for his entire career, and it’s Alvarez’s best chance to outshine the one blemish on his stellar fight record.

Despite winning silver at the 2004 Olympics, Golovkin wasn’t able to attract much interest early in his professional career. Once he started winning championship titles, other middleweights were forced to take notice, but instead of lining up to challenge Golovkin, they worked to actively avoid facing him in the ring, and his record shows why: 37-0 with 33 knockouts, including a 23-knockout streak that spanned nearly nine years. Golovkin demolished his opponents with frightening speed and precision wherever he went, and eventually he became impossible to ignore for someone with title ambitions like Alvarez.

The only loss Alvarez has suffered in 51 professional bouts came at the hands of Floyd Mayweather in 2013, and he appears to be most comfortable fighting as a middleweight, where he has yet to stumble. Like Golovkin, Alvarez packs plenty of power in his punches with 34 knockouts, and he is eight years younger than the 35-year-old Kazakhstani. Alvarez represents the most marketable matchup of Golovkin’s career, but Golovkin is also Alvarez’s opportunity to ascend to the top of a weight class in his prime with a victory that would finally overshadow his Mayweather result.

Golovkin enters Saturday as the slight betting favourite. Should he falter against Alvarez, he would not likely get another chance against a marquee name, and the story of his career would be tainted by the notion he couldn’t beat the top fighters. A victory for Golovkin would trigger a rematch clause in Alvarez’s contract, but it would also lend some much-needed legitimacy to Golovkin’s perfect record. Boxing needs stars not named Mayweather or Pacquiao to keep audiences interested, and Golovkin and Alvarez have all the talent in the ring to fill that role.