The trilogy bout between two pound-for-pound legends, Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and Gennady 'GGG' Golovkin is almost upon us as these two bitter rivals return to the venue that hosted both of their previous clashes, the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, one of which ended in a controversial draw and the other ending in a razor-thin victory for Canelo.
In a fight which has split opinions, Canelo and GGG lock horns to settle this rivalry once and for all, with an interesting dynamic with Canelo coming off the back of a defeat at light heavyweight to Dmitry Bivol but returning to the weight he is undisputed champion at, super middleweight. Golovkin, a unified world champion at middleweight, jumps up to super middleweight to challenge for Canelo's gold. Here we take a look at the journeys these fighters have taken to get to this point.
Canelo turned professional in 2005, at the age of 15. Canelo fought in his home country early on and was even dealt a split decision draw in his fifth pro fight against Jorge Juarez. Five years on, that draw was well and truly in the rearview mirror, as Canelo was now 32-0-1 and challenging for the vacant WBC silver title. Canelo picked the belt after dropping Luciano Cuello in rounds one and two, before stopping him in the sixth. Canelo was now ranked number one at super welterweight with the WBC.
Six months later, Canelo won his first world title, as he outpointed Matthew Hatton in Anaheim to pick up the vacant WBC world title at super welterweight. After three defences, Canelo was given a fight with veteran Shane Mosley. Canelo passed the Mosley test as he defeated him over 12. Canelo went on to add the WBA strap to his mantle as he outpointed Austin Trout, even scoring a knockdown in the seventh round.
Canelo had now earned the toughest task yet in his career, as he defended his world titles against all-time great Floyd Mayweather. Mayweather dealt Canelo his first loss, but this loss went on to create a monster in Canelo. Canelo moved up to middleweight and soon became WBC champion as he defeated Miguel Cotto for the vacant belt. Canelo's next fight saw him defend his belt against Amir Khan. Canelo produced one of the biggest knockouts in boxing as he flattened Khan in the sixth.
Canelo returned to super welterweight for a shot at Liam Smith's WBO world title. Canelo picked up the victory before moving back to middleweight for a fight that everyone was clamouring for. Canelo faced off with Golovkin for the first time in a dream fight. Golovkin had collected the WBC, WBA and IBF belts in the middleweight division and they were on the line. The pair delivered a classic, but controversially it ended as a draw. A year later Canelo defeated Golovkin in a rematch by a razor-thin decision.
Canelo then became a three-weight world champion, as he brutally dismantled Rocky Fielding in three rounds to gain the WBA super middleweight title. However, Canelo didn't stay at this weight for long. IBF middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs came next for Canelo, another huge name in front of him, Canelo dealt with Jacobs by winning via unanimous decision. Canelo then decided to climb the weights again. Canelo ballooned up to light heavy for the first time, as he took on WBO champion Sergey Kovalev. Kovalev controlled Canelo well all fight until the Mexican detonated a left hook and straight right combo to stop Kovalev in the 11th.
Canelo returned to super middleweight and defeated WBA champion, Callum Smith, this bout also had the vacant WBC strap on the line. After a mandatory defence of his WBC belt over Avni Yildirim, Canelo got a fight with WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders. Saunders gave Canelo a lot to think about early, but Canelo landed a big shot which lead to Saunders picking up an eye injury leading to a stoppage win for Canelo. There was only one piece left in the undisputed puzzle for Canelo at super middleweight, and that was Caleb Plant's IBF belt. Canelo got the Plant fight in 2021, and after a fiery build-up, Canelo stopped Plant in round eleven to become undisputed champion at super middleweight. Canelo would dare to be great yet again, as he would step up to light heavyweight to challenge WBA champion Dmitry Bivol. Bivol would inflict the second loss on Canelo's record, as the step up in weight against an avoided fighter like Bivol proved a step too far.
Golovkin embarked on his professional journey in 2006 following a glittering amateur career. Golovkin fought the early part of his career in Germany, as the Kazakh puncher showed ferocious power with his first eight fights ending in stoppage victories. Golovkin's ninth fight would be the first time he went the distance, as Medhi Bouadla would take Golovkin the full eight rounds but Golovkin would take a wide decision victory. Normal knockout service resumed following this until Golovkin's 13th fight, where he fought outside of Germany for the first time to pick up a wide points decision over Amar Amari in Denmark. Titles came for Golovkin four fights later, as he would enter the WBO rankings by knocking out John Anderson Carvalho De Souza in two rounds to pick up the WBO Inter-Continental title.
A second-round knockout of Mikhail Makarov before Golovkin challenged Milton Nunez in Panama for the WBA 'interim' title. Golovkin would make light work of Nunez and knock him out in the first round. Golovkin would soon be elevated to WBA 'Regular' champion and chased down a fight with 'Super' champion, Felix Sturm. Golovkin didn't get the Sturm but returned to Kazakhstan for a homecoming defence against Nilson Julio Tapia. Golovkin's home crowd were treated to a third-round knockout victory for their countryman. A return to Panama would be next as Kassim Ouma would take Golovkin 10 rounds before Golovkin would savagely finish Ouma.
Golovkin would next return to Germany as he would add the vacant IBO title to his mantle with a first-round knockout of Lajuan Simon. A third-round knockout victory followed in Ukraine against Makto Fuchigami before Golovkin went to make a name for himself in America. Golovkin's US debut was against European champion, Grzegorz Proksa. Golovkin would make a statement as he would drop Proksa three times on his way to a fifth-round knockout victory in Verona. Golovkin's next task in the US would be against Gabe Rosado at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. Rosado was tough and refused to go down but his corner had seen enough in round seven and would pull their man out, handing Golovkin a knockout victory. AA defence in Monte-Carlo over Nobuhiro Ishida, before Golovkin would return to the US to deliver one of the most brutal body shots ever seen in boxing to defeat Matthew Macklin.
Curtis Stevens was next and talked a good game, but Golovkin silenced him in round two by sending Stevens crashing to the canvas. Stevens would rise to his feet but would find himself stopped in round eight. Adama Osumanu would touch the canvas three times before Golovkin finished the job in round seven. Golovkin would next fight in Madison Square Garden against former world champion Daniel Geale. Golovkin would be elevated to WBA 'Super' champion following a demolition job o Geale in round three. The WBC 'interim title would be added to Golovkin's waist next as he would stop Marco Antonio Rubio in two rounds, before going on to defeat Martin Murray with an 11th-round stoppage in his next bout. Willie Monroe Jr. would be the next to attempt to topple Golovkin but would stop him in six rounds. Golovkin would face his toughest test yet as he would look to add the IBF belt to his mantle as he fought fearsome puncher David Lemieux. Golovkin put on a stellar performance to brutally beat down Lemieux, leading to an eighth-round knockout.
Dominic Wade would be the next man to be stopped by Golovkin, as he didn't hear the bell for the end of the second round. Golovkin would next travel to the UK for the first time as he would face Kell Brook. Brook was IBF welterweight champion but would jump up two weights to challenge for Golovkins belts. Brook was game but Golovkin would fracture Brook's right eye socket leading to the fight being stopped in round five. Golovkin would be held to a decision victory for the first time in nine years when he faced Daniel Jacobs next. Jacobs hit the canvas in round four but would battle back to take Golovkin the full 12 rounds but Golovkin would be declared the winner.
The first encounter with Canelo would come next and it would end in a controversial draw due to Adelaide Byrd's absurd 118-110 scorecard. The rematch was slated to be next but a failed drug test for Canelo saw Golovkin face a replacement opponent in Vanes Martirosyan. Golovkin would take out his frustrations on Martirosyan and finish him in round two. The rematch with Canelo would come next and it would end in Golovkin getting the first loss on his record with a razor-thin decision.
Golovkin bounced back with a knockout victory over Steve Rolls in four rounds before finding himself in a world title fight against Sergiy Derevyanchenko for the now vacant IBF title. Golovkin would win on points in what was considered an underwhelming performance. After a year's hiatus due to the global pandemic, Golovkin returned with a clinical performance to stop Kamil Szeremeta in seven rounds. Last time out, Golovkin would add the WBA title to his IBF title as he would travel to Japan to take out the champion, Ryota Murata in nine rounds to set up his trilogy with Canelo.
These two men clash at the T-Mobile Arena this Saturday and is one not to be missed. It can be watched live on DAZN Pay-Per-View worldwide.