Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin can join the greats
- Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez takes on Gennady Golovkin in Las Vegas on Saturday night
- The Strip has hosted some of the finest middleweight showdowns in history
- Golovkin believes this fight can match the likes of Marvin Hagler-Thomas Hearns
- ‘It will go down in history… a fight talked about for years,’ claims Ocar De la Hoya
The biggest fight of this and many a year is cloaked in the sepia tones of nostalgia and hallmarked for an immortal place in the history of the hardest game.
Canelo Alvarez versus Gennady Golovkin for the middleweight championship of the world is being likened in prospect to some of the greatest ever fights in this classic division.
If the feverish anticipation proves justified then the winner will find himself exalted in the company of such legends as Sugar Ray Robinson, Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran.
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez takes on Gennady Golovkin in a hotly-anticipated showdown on Saturday
The two fighters arrived in Las Vegas on Tuesday for Sin City’s latest middleweight mega-fight
The Strip has previously hosted classics such as Marvin Hagler (right) v Thomas Hearns in 1985
CAN GGG OR CANELO JOIN THESE 160LB IMMORTALS?
The standard is demanding if one or both of Golovkin and Canelo is to be recognised as an all-time great middleweight.
These are some of the immortals they will be striving to emulate:
1) Sugar Ray Robinson
2) Sugar Ray Leonard
3) Marvin Hagler
4) Thomas Hearns
5) Roberto Duran
So declares Oscar De La Hoya, the Golden Boy promoter of Saturday night’s prospective epic in the glittering T-Mobile Arena and himself a hero of the prize-ring.
‘Canelo against Golovkin will go down in history,’ says De La Hoya.
‘It will be a fight talked about for many years to come. The way Hearns and Hagler and Leonard v Hearns are still being talked about more than 30 years later.’
So, also, believe the two men finally coming to battle as the best middleweights of this generation.
Golovkin throws Leonard’s extraordinary victory over the seemingly-invincible Hagler – three years to the day after Sugar Ray had retired with a broken eye retina – into the mix with those phenomenal three rounds which climaxed with a bloodied Hagler knocking out Hearns.
Hagler’s fight with Sugar Ray Leonard in 1987 was another unforgettable fight in Las Vegas
Canelo’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya (left) says this fight will be talked about ‘for many years’
The 35-year-old knock-out sensation says: ‘Canelo and I are in a history fight. All my career I have been waiting for this defining fight. As I kid I was at home in Kazakhstan watching on television Leonard, Hagler and Hearns in those incredible fights.
‘I thought – wow! Now I am thinking wow about this fight of ours. We are great fighters. Canelo is strong also. This is big for him and certainly big for me. And we both want to give the fans a beautiful fight to remember for a very long time.’
Canelo says: ‘All the ingredients are here for a great fight.’
De La Hoya believes they will deliver on that promise because their driving passions are the sport and the glory, not money.
MEMORABLE MIDDLEWEIGHT FIGHTS ON THE LAS VEGAS STRIP
The bar is set high by unforgettable nights such as these, which lit up the temporary arena which used to be erected along the Strip in the old Caesars Palace car park:
1) Hagler-Hearns, April 15 1985: The fast and furious three rounds which, despite the brevity, still amount to one of the best middleweight fights of all time. It ended with Hearns being knocked out by Hagler, who had blood streaming down from a deep gash in his forehead.
2) Leonard-Hagler, April 6 1987: Leonard came out of a three-year retirement without a warm-up fight, moving up two full divisions to nullify Hagler’s murderous power with a boxing masterpiece. He earned a split decision so disputed that it drove Marvellous Marvin into retirement.
He says: ‘This fight will be in the highest traditions of boxing. These men are in the hurt business. Not the whole money business. Yes, the prize at the end of this tunnel is the purse. But they are not thinking about the money. They will fight with everything they have because of their passion for the game and their respect for the fans.
‘In the history of great fights each boxer needed a great dance partner. In that way, at this time, Canelo and Gennady need each other.’
Canelo says: ‘This fight can do for me what those great fights of the past did for Leonard, Hagler and Hearns.’
Both are hoping and fighting for a place in the pantheon. Can they produce the night of high drama which fulfil that dream?