Last Saturday Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (49-1-1, 34KOs) easily dealt with the lame challenge of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. before announcing that he would take on Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (37-0-0, 33KOs) in September.
This is the fight the boxing world has been waiting for. A genuine super-fight, GGG vs. Canelo is now a reality.
I have been mulling over various ideas this past week as to what to write about this announcement and upcoming fight. Given that there is a bit of time before the fight I felt there was no need to offer a tactical breakdown or in-depth preview piece at this stage. A strange thought kept creeping into my mind that I couldn't shake off – various aspects of this matchup put me in mind of the famous 1971 road movie Vanishing Point.
Please stick with me here.
Unsure of how to tackle this idea, or even if I should, I sat down with my four year old son (he enjoyed it because of the car) and re-watched the film. The words that follow will either make sense on some level or they will serve as proof that the original seed that was planted in my brain should have been ignored and quickly forgotten.
Here is my attempt at drawing a parallel between a fictional film and a yet to take place fight with some boxing info thrown in for good measure.
GGG exploded onto the radar of a larger audience of boxing fans in 2012 when he fought for the first time in America. Since that exciting five round destruction of Grzegorz Proksa the KO specialist from Kazakhstan has built up a large global fan base, selling out arenas from Los Angeles to New York, London to Monaco as the knockouts kept on coming.
During his rampage through the middleweight division Golovkin has added almost all the major world titles to the WBA strap he won in 2010 and his remarkable 23 fight KO streak was only ended in March when Daniel Jacobs managed to hear the final bell at Madison Square Garden. He now has his defining fight in his sights.
Golovkin, now on the brink of having his legacy defining fight, reminded me of another determined character, albeit a fictional one. Kowalski (first name unknown) is Vanishing Point's protagonist. The film follows his progress as he drives a white Dodge Challenger at reckless speed across the western United States. Kowalski is on a mission, stubbornly attempting to drive from Denver to San Francisco in an impossibly short period of time.
Kowalski and GGG both set themselves clearly defined goals and focused on achieving them despite having some hurdles in the way. For Golovkin he couldn't afford to slip up and lose, he also had to remain patient as Canelo maneuvered his way toward the fight while also putting up with all the usual boxing politics. Most of the barriers to Kowalski involved law enforcement as technically he was breaking every rule in the book regarding road safety.
In May 2015 Canelo Alvarez spectacularly knocked out James Kirkland in the third round of a fight which took place at a catchweight of 155lbs. Since that night the clamour for Alvarez to fight Golovkin at the middleweight limit of 160lbs really began to gather momentum. Canelo and his handlers, Golden Boy, stood firm though. They maintained that the Mexican would only face GGG once he had fully grown into the middleweight division.
Canelo followed up his win over Kirkland by facing Miguel Cotto, Amir Khan, Liam Smith and Chavez Jr. Bar the Smith fight all of these contests took place at specific catch-weights ranging from 155 to 164.5lbs. Four victories later and the Golden Boy decision makers have now decided their man is a fully fledged 160lb fighter and they want Golovkin next.
Much like Kowalski's Dodge Challenger being constantly pushed to its limit, Golden Boy Promotions have been placed in the role of being constantly forced and pressured into making this marquee match. Seen by most fans and media as being the major stumbling block to Golovkin-Canelo not happening sooner the company steadfastly stuck to their guns, forcing us to wait until now before announcing the showdown would take place.
The machine he is driving wildly remains reliable to Kowalski until the conclusion of Vanishing Point; as a boxer Canelo has received the same level of reliability from the promotional machinery behind him.
But what of Canelo himself? Where can he fit in to this movie/boxing match comparison?
Unfortunately for the ever improving boxer he is playing the part of being used to stop GGG. In the film the authorities have to bring in bulldozers as part of an elaborate road block that is constructed in an attempt to get Kowalski to stop. So yes, sadly for Canelo, in the context of this article he is a bulldozer. Not ideal for a boxer who in the past has been criticised for having slow feet (not an opinion I agree with for what it's worth).
The stage is set and my analogy is complete. Thanks for sticking with me if you are still reading at this point. To find out if Canelo is the man to stop GGG in his tracks we will have to wait until September 16. Between now and then give Vanishing Point a watch. Find out how the story concluded for Kowalski and enjoy Mountain's thumping rock anthem “Mississippi Queen” which accompanies the film's iconic penultimate scene.
Vanishing Point is an all time classic piece of film making. Hopefully after September 16 we will be using the same phrase when discussing GGG vs. Canelo.