By Yannis Mihanos: Last Saturday I watched one hell of a fight between two of the most influential fighters of our time: Saul Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. There is no doubt about it, that fight was a classic.
Before the fight I was expecting and along with me many others all the animosity, and the bad blood to surface in the ring and it did big time.There was no knock downs because the two fighters are both too hard and too tough to get down with one punch. It would have taken a monstrous shot for one of them to go down.
Canelo was the great victor but nothing can be taken away from Golovkin either and obviously a third match between these two is more than a possibility.
To go back to last Saturday night, all the stakes were focused on how Canelo would handle the night, whether he would come out stronger than before or weaker than before, because with the steroid allegations and the visible reduced muscle size, people had gone to question him even more. But I think Canelo answered to all these questions with his best performance up to date.
While a lot of talks had been going on about the difference of age Golovkin 36, I didn’t see a fighter in decline but what I did see was Canelo 28 years of age as a new champion on the rise.
And yes, he may already been a champion to previous weight division but the real test, the real trial was here fighting against the best in the middleweight division.
In their first encounter, Canelo was more defensive and skeptical about his opponent’s power. He had heard a lot about it and it was also a new weight category so his first task was to survive the best way he could. Luckily he was rewarded with a draw.
In the second fight his decision was to face the dragon (Golovkin) in the eyes by coming forwards from the beginning until the final bell.
In those twelve rounds, he faced the storm one too many times but there was no stopping in him, a champion always find a way to come back even when the going gets tough. The difference in the performance of the first fight and the second fight was between night and day.
This was the best ever Canelo and along with the victory he regained the respect and recognition he deserves for this hard as nails sport.
Canelo hadn’t fought this way (Mexican style) since the 2012 Mayweather fight, yet that time he was younger and got easily frustrated with the way his famous opponent avoided his punches, he had no plan B. Truth of the matter is noone who faced Mayweather on his entire career had plan B.
Canelo proved he has the full package: a boxing IQ that keeps developing, fast on his reflexes, powerful on his punches, keeps coming forward and he is durable too, so what more can you ask from a champion?
So I only can say this today: I salute you Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.