Thursday, February 22, 2024

The Red Corner: Alvarez should unify middleweight titles before GGG rematch

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In what was the biggest fight in 2019 – so far – middleweight titlist Saul “Canelo” Alvarez displayed a mix of power, offensive and defense to earn a unanimous decision win against Daniel Jacobs to add a fourth middleweight title to his trophy case.

Although Jacobs landed some shots, he was unable to overcome a slow start as Alvarez, who didn’t showcase his best stuff – to steal a phrase from ESPN’s Dan Rafael – outlanded Jacobs, 188-131 punches, while taking 20 percent of his adversary’s shots.

What was also remarkable about the fight was it wasn’t mired in controversy, unlike Alvarez’s two fights against Gennady “GGG” Golovkin.

The victory over Jacobs is the latest accolade for Alvarez, who could easily be considered the top draw in boxing. With the win under his belt – no pugilism pun intended - the next question on fight fans’ minds is “Who will he face next?”

The obvious answer for many folks is Golovkin. Fans have been clamoring for a third bout between the two since Alvarez earned a majority decision over GGG back in September 2018.

A fight between the two would no doubt generate millions of dollars and tons of interest from fans and pundits. Golovkin is slated to face undefeated Canadian fighter Steve Rolls Jr. on June 8 at Madison Square Garden. This is GGG’s first fight since the loss to Alvarez, as well as the inaugural bout on his contract with DAZN, who also broadcasts Canelo's fights.

Alvarez isn’t necessarily advocating for a third fight with GGG. During a post-fight interview, he said his business with Golovkin was over, "But if the people want another fight, we'll do it again, and I'll beat him again.”

As much as I enjoyed Canelo-GGG II, I am fine with waiting for their second rematch, especially since there is another potential bout for Alvarez – WBO middleweight champion Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade.

The fight between Alvarez and Andrade already presents a simple narrative that promoters can sell to fans. Defeating Andrade for the WBO belt would give Alvarez all of the world championships in the middleweight division. Meanwhile, Andrade, who currently sports a 27-0 record with 17 knockouts, would capture the biggest win of his career if he defeats Alvarez.

There’s a chance this potential fight could change. Andrade is scheduled to defend his title against Maciej Sulęcki on June 29. Sulęcki is 26-1 with his only loss against Jacobs. Even if Sulecki defeats Andrade, promoters can switch the names and still have him fight Canelo.

If Alvarez unifies all of the middleweight titles, he could present GGG with a chance to become undisputed champion, as well as a large payday and a chance to avenge a loss.

The only downside to this scenario is Canelo-GGG III would take place a year after their rematch, given both Andrade’s and Golovkin’s upcoming matches.
But like I said, I’m fine with waiting, and I wouldn’t even mind if Alvarez lost to Andrade, or Sulecki should he defeat Boo Boo, and it was one of those two who faced GGG.

boxing, saul canelo alvarez, sports

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