What Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin couldn’t bring themselves to do at the conclusion of their own news conference became the most entertaining moment of Thursday’s undercard session.
Middleweights Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan of Ireland and former world champion David Lemieux of Canada fulfilled the routine pre-fight duty of a face-off, intensifying the anticipation for a bout that will position the winner for a title shot at the Golovkin-Alvarez survivor.
“I can’t understand why they can’t do it,” O’Sullivan (28-2, 20 knockouts) said. “The fear in him, the weakness … I could really feel that in him when I walked toward him and faced off. I could sense the fear. I felt like I’m the stronger man. He has it in his head he’s the stronger puncher, but I’m going to [mess] him right up.”
Once, it was enough for Gennady Golovkin to ride the wave of a knockout streak that reached 23 consecutive fights, smile widely afterward and mutter his patented “Big Drama Show” catchphrase.
Golovkin had a consistent formula — train hellishly in Big Bear, let his fists do the talking, allow his handlers to best explain his dominance and veer from controversy.
But Golovkin, 36, was always observing intently, and as his rise led him to a showdown last year with the more popular Canelo Alvarez, the champion noticed a shift from the way it had worked during his earlier dominance.
Bernard Hopkins constructed a Hall of Fame career by winning 20 consecutive middleweight title fights between 1995 and 2005, but seeing that record threatened by Gennady Golovkin on Saturday has Hopkins downplaying the significance of Golovkin’s feat.
Although Golovkin still needs to defeat Canelo Alvarez on Saturday to set the standard of 21, Hopkins sought Wednesday to point out the flaws in Golovkin’s achievement.
“Don’t ever mention Marvin Hagler and ‘Triple-G’ in the same sentence. It’s disrespectful to Marvin Hagler,” Hopkins told reporters in referring to the former middleweight champion who reigned from 1980 until a 1987 split-decision loss to Sugar Ray Leonard that sent him to retirement. “Don’t ever touch that. You’re embarrassing yourself.”
Canelo Alvarez’s Saturday night bout on HBO pay-per-view is the final fight on his current deal with the premium network, and promoter Oscar De La Hoya indicated the sport’s most powerful draw could leave for a new suitor.
“It makes me wonder if HBO even wants to be in boxing,” De La Hoya told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday.
Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 knockouts) will seek the two middleweight belts belonging to unbeaten champion Gennady Golovkin on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena on HBO ($84.95), and De La Hoya said, “I do want to fight him in December.”
Canelo Alvarez says he spends each night lying in his bed, visualizing how Saturday’s middleweight-title bout against Gennady Golovkin will transpire.
He doesn’t dwell on the lowest point of his career — his suspension for the use of a performance-enhancing drug earlier this year. Instead he focuses on what could be his defining moment as a fighter.
“I will win without a doubt,” Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 knockouts) said Tuesday upon his arrival at the MGM Grand for Saturday’s rematch with the unbeaten champion Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs) at T-Mobile Arena.