Gennady Golovkin has suggested that his great rival Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez may have gone “insane” as a result of his rise to the top of the sport.
The pair will clash again on September 17 in Las Vegas to complete one of this generation’s most remarkable trilogies, and Golovkin isn’t ruling out a fourth fight either. Golovkin and Canelo went on a press tour of two cities last month to publicize the meeting and the latter spent a lot of time telling just about everyone that this time it’s personal. An unusual confession from any boxer.
“It’s hard for me to comment on his words when he says this fight has become personal for him,” Golovkin said. “Maybe he’s trying to hide his real emotions under a mask to find some justification for the loss in his last fight. Maybe it’s just a strategy.
“I don’t understand why he got that way, but there’s a chance he’s just delusional.
“Every fight is different, but just the idea that he won his last fight [against Dmitry Bivol] is incomprehensible. If he says he didn’t lose the fight or that he’s not happy with the decision, I don’t know how to respond. He said he won that fight? Come on, man, take off your sunglasses.’
As Golovkin points out, Canelo will face a loss for the first time in their rivalry, having been defeated on points by WBA light-heavyweight champion Bivol on May 7.
That outcome had made this third clash uncertain and it had been suggested that the Mexican could instead look for an immediate rematch against the 20-0 Russian. But he chose Golovkin because he wants to make a thunderous point on a series of fights that are not without controversy.
Their first fight, five years ago in September, ended in a draw, but many thought Golovkin had done enough to win. Canelo won the rematch 12 months later, but the modern middleweight classic could have gone either way. Now, four years after that night, Golovkin is 40 and seemingly on the wane. He has boxed just four times since that return in 2019, with Canelo knocking out twice as many, uniting the super-middleweight division in the process.
“On the one hand, I put the first two fights with Canelo behind me,” Golovkin said. “They are history to me, and I didn’t lose those battles.
“I would have been very happy to retire if I was behind that. But I’m very happy to have the third fight with him. It’s hard for boxers to even get a rematch in certain situations, so it’s a historic moment for the third fight to take place I think it’s a good addition to the history of my career.
“I want to assure you that I felt confident for the first fight, the second fight and I still feel confident for the third fight. I don’t feel any discomfort, no doubts and I am fully prepared for this too.”
In the four years since they last met, Canelo has established itself as the number 1 attraction in all of boxing and according to Forbes, he is the 8th highest earning athlete in the world and by far the richest in boxing.
But when asked if that is a source of frustration for Golovkin, who is still convinced he has won both fights, said: “I don’t even know how to answer this question; I don’t count his money, I don’t pay attention to his achievements.
“I don’t really care about him, I don’t think about him and it doesn’t matter where he is or what he’s doing. I believe people pay too much attention to him and praise him too much. Just look at the stats, he has more losses than me and I think people here should go back to reality and take him with them.
“As you’ve probably noticed, the two press conferences in New York and Los Angeles were worlds apart. I can see there’s no game plan from him. There is just some underlying aggression and I don’t believe they have a clear understanding of what they are doing. We shall see.”
So is September 17th his chance to finally prove that he is the superior of the two, after no wins of two?
“Prove is not the right word,” Golovkin added. “I’m not trying to prove anything to anyone. I’m happy that this fight is happening, I’m happy with the conditions we have for this fight, but it’s not about proving anything to anyone.
‘Will it be my last? Nobody knows. But honestly probably not. I’m not ready to quit yet. And maybe the fourth fight is interesting from a business perspective.”