Golovkin vs Alvarez Rematch, and its Impact on the Middleweight DivisionWritten by Baker Geist
After Saturday night’s epic rematch between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez, a few things are clear:
The fight stands out as “Fight of the Year” for 2018.
Both Alvarez’ or Golovkin’s careers have been strengthened by their two fights with one another.
Pay-Per-View events can still be highly entertaining and meet the expectations of the viewing public.
However, despite the entertainment value of the fight card, it provided many more questions than answers about Golovkin, Alvarez and the future of the middleweight division.
For Golovkin, he now has a controversial draw and a loss on his record as a result of fighting Alvarez. It will be interesting to see if the two matches have an impact on him psychologically. He’s built a career on delivering epic knockouts and being able to power through opponents. That hasn’t happened against Alvarez, so does Golovkin still believe in his skills as much as he used to?
How much will frustration play a factor in how he goes forward in his career? After a close first fight — which many felt Golovkin won — and another close and debatable loss, will frustration dampen his enthusiasm for the sport or turn him into a fighter who seeks aggression over technique?
While Golovkin is known for an aggressive style, he’s also a technical fighter — as evidenced by his excellent use of the jab in the rematch. If he seeks knockouts purely out of frustration or anger, it may leave him more exposed to well-placed shots from opponents.
In securing a career-defining majority decision victory, Alvarez did everything he needed to do to make the clenbuterol issue a thing of the past. He also showed the world that he can be an effective pressure fighter in addition to being a slick counter puncher. His decision to stand in the middle of the ring for the majority of the fight was a clear change from his counter punching style, which was highly criticized by Golovkin’s team following the first fight. While the majority decision in his favor can be argued, the style that he employed helped him to become a unified champion and set him atop the middleweight division.
It’s almost certain that a third fight between Golovkin and Alvarez is in the future for both fighters. After two contests that were highly competitive, skillful, and full of drama, it certainly should happen.
But not right away.
In the build up to the David Lemieux Gary O’ Sullivan middleweight fight which was part of Saturday night’s card, Lemieux seemed like a more confident comfortable fighter than he had been in the past. In a radio interview on the Aug. 27 edition of SiriusXM’s At The Fights, Lemieux made it clear that he has goals on another title shot or a showdown with Golovkin and Alvarez.
“I’m looking forward to fighting both of them,” Lemieux said. They’re two great fighters and two fighters I’ve wanted for a long time.”
By emphatically knocking out O’ Sullivan with a left hook in the first round of a middleweight title eliminator as part of Saturday’s undercard, Lemieux may well have earned a shot at either.
A rematch with Golovkin would be interesting because it would allow fans a chance to see if Lemieux is can present different challenges to Golovkin then he did in their fight in 2015. A Golovkin win would be helpful in shrugging off the results of the two fights against Alvarez, while helping him stay ready for the third fight.
A fight with Alvarez would also make sense and is a marketable option if Alvarez and Golovkin don’t want a third fight right away. Given the heavy hands that both Alvarez and Lemieux throw, the fight would be exciting for however long it lasts.
Junior middleweight champion Jamie Munguia looked impressive knocking out an out-classed Brandon Cook. Munguia is young, but may be in the mix for middleweight fights in the future.
What about Daniel Jacobs? Assuming he beats past Sergey Derevyanchenko on Oct. 27 for the vacant IBF middleweight title, where does he fit in the picture?
As exciting as Saturday’s fight between Golovkin and Alvarez was, boxing fans should be even more excited about all the interesting middleweight fights that could lie ahead.