The Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin fight lived up to the hype with a classic middleweight battle that ended in a somewhat controversial draw. One judge scored it 118-110 for Canelo, a second judge had it 115-113 for Golovkin and the third had it even.
The possibility exists that Canelo Alvarez will defeat Gennady Golovkin on Saturday night, turn to face the man who delivered his first world-title belt, and not accept his latest prized possession.
Last year, Alvarez returned his World Boxing Council middleweight belt to the sanctioning body after failing to fulfill a promise signed by his promoter to meet mandatory, No. 1 challenger Golovkin (37-0, 33 knockouts).
Golovkin was given the belt, adding to the World Boxing Assn. and International Boxing Federation belts he’d previously won.
Since then, Mexico’s Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) has turned his back on the powerful, Mexico-based body that delivered him his first belt in 2011.
WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman said he's mystified by Alvarez’s anger toward the situation.
On Wednesday, Sulaiman arrived in Las Vegas with a newly designed belt for the bout.
The strap includes the flags of Alvarez’s Mexico and Golovkin’s home country, Kazakhstan, with a golden “WBC” center surrounded by mini-flags of other nations, stamped with the date written in Spanish, “16 DE SEPTIEMBRE” with “Mexico” below that.
Sulaiman was prepared to speak at Wednesday’s news conference, to show the belt and speak of the pride he felt in offering the specially designed piece for this anticipated clash.
However, Sulaiman said he was told by Alvarez’s promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, not to attend the news conference.
Sulaiman said he plans to be in the ring after Saturday’s fight and offer the belt to whoever wins.
Alvarez has refused to discuss the situation extensively when asked about it by the U.S. media.
When he was asked in a conference call by the Los Angeles Times earlier this summer about the possibility of striking a peace with the WBC, he said he’d already discussed that situation and someone monitoring the call hung up on The Times.
This week, he repeated that everyone knows how he feels and that victory will be his best response.
The situation dates to 2015, when Golovkin was positioned to be then-champion Sergio Martinez’s opponent, only to see Martinez fight Miguel Cotto and lose his belt.
Cotto then balked at Golovkin, and paid an $800,000 step-aside fee to Golovkin to meet Alvarez, in a bout that generated more than 900,000 pay-per-view buys.
Alvarez, assuming the responsibility to meet Golovkin, promised in a signed agreement last year between Golden Boy and Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler, to fight former 140-pound champion Amir Khan in May 2016, and then strike a deal with Golovkin no later than 15 days after that bout.
The sides had the freedom to negotiate up until 15 days after the Khan fight (for which Golovkin just happened to show up in the ring). Before that window expired, he returned the belt. Alvarez went on to fight Liam Smith for the 154-pound belt. The deal was finally done before he fought Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in May.
Alvarez also shunned Sulaiman’s offering of a special belt for the Chavez bout too.