Gennady “GGG” Golovkin wished Saul “Canelo” Alvarez good luck in September after the two boxing stars announced their blockbuster bout inside the T-Mobile Arena ring on Saturday.
“Luck is for the mediocre, my friend,” Alvarez responded to win the first of many oral battles until the two foes clash on Sept. 16.
It was a grand surprise announcement to salvage an underwhelming fight night that saw Alvarez punish Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. for 12 rounds. Alvarez recorded a shutout unanimous decision to win every round on all three scorecards, 120-108, in front of an announced record crowd of 20,510.
The bout was dubbed “Mexico’s Civil War” with the winner becoming the boxing ambassador of the country. Alvarez won in a landslide, connecting on 228 punches compared to Chavez’s 71.
“I hope (Mexican) people follow him because he gives it his best and is very dedicated,” Chavez said about Alvarez. “His combinations and his rhythm in the ring are great.
“I think he is the best Mexican fighter at this point in time.”
Alvarez said he has closed the chapter on his rivalry with Chavez and has moved his focus to the middleweight kingpin from Kazakhstan.
“Canelo displayed (Saturday) great boxing skills, great combinations, but he won’t have Chavez in front of him. He’ll have Gennady Golovkin,” said Abel Sanchez, Golovkin’s trainer.
The biggest boxing match that could be made in boxing today finally has a date, but no site has been announced.
Las Vegas is reportedly the favorite to land the lucrative fight. Golden Boy Promotions has reserved the MGM Grand Garden for Sept. 15 and T-Mobile Arena for Sept. 16, Independence Day in Mexico.
Golden Boy Promotions had back-to-back boxing cards at the two Strip venues this past weekend.
The Los Angeles-based promotional company led by Oscar De La Hoya is currently in negotiations with MGM officials to host Alvarez-Golovkin, according to a source close to the situation.
That hasn’t stopped De La Hoya from selling his superbout to other venues. Jerry Jones’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, is expected to make a strong push to lure Alvarez-Golovkin to the home of the Dallas Cowboys.
“I’ve already had several calls from around the world wanting to stage this fight,” De La Hoya said. “I literally had a missed call from Dubai, I had a missed call from the UK where Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko just sold out 90,000 people.
“There is interest from all over the world. There is interest from everywhere and those negotiations, those talks, will start in the weeks to come.”
Golovkin opened as a minus-160 favorite and Alvarez is listed as a plus-140 underdog, according to the Westgate SuperBook.
The middleweight bout that has been in the making for more than a year certainly warrants a near 50-50 betting odds.
Alvarez, 26, continues to improve and arguably owns the best body-to-head combinations in the sport. Golovkin’s mystique as a knockout monster has slowly faded and critics believe he’s starting to slow down at age 35. The fighter known for his initials has stepped up in competition in the past year by defeating Kell Brook and Daniel Jacobs, who ended Golovkin’s knockout streak at 23.
De La Hoya said the match will happen at 160 pounds for a unification championship fight, but he didn’t specify what belts will be on the line.
Golovkin holds the WBC, WBA and IBF belts and Alvarez is still considered the middleweight lineal champion for defeating Miguel Cotto in November 2015.
Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 knockouts) said during fight week he will not accept the WBC belt if he defeats Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs). Alvarez, who was the previous owner of the 160-pound green belt, has clashed with the WBC since the Mexican based boxing organization imposed a two-week deadline on Alvarez to make a deal to fight Golovkin last year. Alvarez decided to vacate the belt and the WBC awarded it to Golovkin.
But for boxing fans, the belts don’t matter. They will finally get to watch the two biggest stars in the sport go at it.
“Right now, this is the biggest fight in boxing,” Golovkin said. “Please don’t miss this fight. Enjoy it.”
As for Chavez, he’s most likely done as a big stage main event fighter.
Chavez, who has disappointed his fans many times before, somehow managed to get a $3 million purse, and millions more coming later from other guarantees, after doing virtually nothing the past five years.
But he made the 164.5 weight limit to set up the pay-per-view tuneup bout for Alvarez, who was fighting for the first time above 155 pounds.
Chavez’s father, the Mexican icon with the same name, got up from his media row chair to scream advice at his son multiple times. He stopped by the later rounds.
“I’m sorry to the people from Sinaloa and anyone who supported me,” Chavez said. “I didn’t have enough strength at 164. I’m a 168 fighter.”
Contact Gilbert Manzano at email@example.com or 702-383-0492. Follow @gmanzano24 on Twitter.