By Dan Ambrose
Saul Canelo Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) surprised a lot of people last September when he chose to get on his bike and use nonstop movement to try and unseat IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) on September 16 last year in their highly anticipated mega-fight on HBO PPV at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Traditionally, challengers are supposed to take the fight to the champion to outwork them to show the judges and the boxing public that they deserve to take the titles. But in the case of Canelo, he fought more like a guy sitting on a lead and trying to coast and not putting forth the effort to win the fight.
The fact that the fight was scored a 12 round draw by the Nevada State Athletic Commission assigned judges was confusing, because Canelo hadn’t done enough to deserve the win in the eyes of the boxing public. Canelo had done precious little to be given a draw. The boxing fans have since dismissed the draw and given Golovkin the victory in their minds.
Canelo is stuck with the stigma of being given a draw that he didn’t deserve. It’s tough for the 27-year-old Canelo. He had been raked over the coals by the fans for 2 years while he avoided Golovkin, and then when he did finally face him, he was given a controversial 12 round draw. On top of that. Canelo recently tested positive for the banned drug clenbuterol. A lot of the fans aren’t buying Canelo’s excuse that he ate tainted meat. Many of the fans think he’s a cheater.
The other bombshell that was dropped recently by GGG’s trainer Abel Sanchez was Canelo used an illegal wrapping technique for the first fight with GGG. Sanchez said that when he complained to the inspector from the Nevada Commission about the illegal wrapping technique by Canelo, he was almost thrown out of the dressing room. That doesn’t help the promotion of the rematch to hear about Canelo’s wraps, as well as his clenbuterol. All these things make it look like there isn’t an even playing field for GGG. Does he have a chance of beating Canelo in the rematch? I’m not sure. Given everything that’s happened, it would seem that GGG might need to take matters into his own hand on May 5th to make sure he doesn’t wind up on the receiving end of another controversial decision.
Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez says Canelo can’t let the fans down again buy getting on his bike and running from GGG for 12 rounds in the May 5th rematch. The responsibility is on Canelo to show that he can stay in the trenches and fight this time, because the judges likely won’t give Canelo the benefit of the doubt a second time if they see him outworked and dominated for 12 rounds like last time. You can only get so many controversial decisions, and it’s unlikely Canelo will get another one. He’ll have to fight this time if he wants to win.
“I hope Canelo was able to see a transmission specialist for the rematch because in the first fight he was stuck in reverse,” Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez said at the recent LA Fan day event. ”All I know is that after the first fight the fans were not booing Gennady Golovkin. The rematch took long to make because Canelo takes long to heal and had long memories of the first fight.”
Sanchez’s attempt to shame Canelo into fighting hard this time probably won’t work. Canelo isn’t the type that bends under pressure from fighters, trainers or the boxing public. If he decides he wants to run or not fight someone, he’s going to what he pleases. Canelo can’t afford to be stubborn and do the opposite of what Sanchez is telling him to do by choosing to run for 12 rounds again, because that’s not going to work this time. The judges aren’t going to want to be jumped by the boxing public like the two judges that failed to give GGG the win in the first fight. The scores turned in by those judges were atrocious. No judge wants to have the spotlight put on them by the boxing media and the fans and labeled as biased in favor of a fighter. That’s why Canelo is going to need to stand and fight Golovkin, because he’s not going to be given a win by fighting the first minute of every round and then running the next two minutes.
It’ll be bad for Canelo’s career if his rematch with GGG is controversial with him either winning or being given another draw that he doesn’t deserve. There will be such a huge outcry from a second controversial decision. It’ll make Canelo look like he’s not a legitimate fighter. That’s why he needs to hope the judges get it right this time. That means if he appears to lose badly like last time, the judges need to reflect that with their scores. The scoring needs to make sense in the rematch. You can’t have a judge scoring it 10 rounds to 2 for a fighter if they appeared to lose the fight. Canelo will surely lose fans if they think he’s immune from losing by a decision in the sport. Boxing needs to be viewed as a legitimate sport for the fans to continue to want to pay to see fighters. When they see someone being given a controversial decision, I think it hurts the sport, because the fans are less likely to want to pay money to see fights in the future. They need to believe that the right guy is going to be given a decision.
The buildup to the May 5th rematch has already gotten off to a bad start with Canelo’s positive test for clenbuterol. That’s the last thing the boxing fans needed to hear about, especially with it effecting Canelo. He was the one that was given a controversial draw. Now he’s testing positive for a PED. The promoters for the event should think about working a little harder to market the rematch, because right now it’s looking bad.