With a level playing field, it’s put up or shut up for Gennady Golovkin
On Thursday it was ruled by the Nevada State Athletic Commission that WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin and Saul Alvarez would be allowed to use up to 30 feet of tape, when they wrap their hands for tonight’s rematch at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
After complaining of Alvarez “stacking” his wraps last September, Golovkin’s side had filed a protest over the amount of tape that could be used by both fighters tonight. Previously they had expressed concerns that Alvarez was going to use a glove created by his trainer that had never been used in a championship fight – which was eventually nixed by the NSAC. It was ultimately decided by the Mexican star that he would sport Winning brand gloves, as he did for last year’s match, while Golovkin will use Grant gloves.
So from the selection of judges (Steve Weisfeld, Dave Moretti and Glenn Feldman) to the referee (Benjy Esteves Jr.), the Golovkin side has basically gotten what it believes is a level playing field after last year’s controversial result. All this after Golovkin successfully negotiated a 45-percent split for himself for this rematch.
Last year certain concessions were made by his team; this year they took more of a more hardline stance.
“I think there are a lot of little issues, whether it’s on the ‘Triple G’ side or being up here in Vegas in general, that we’ve accounted for this time around and I think you’re going to see not only a better prepared Triple G for ‘Canelo’s’ style – he came out very defensive the first time around. He fought a style no one has ever seen him fight before,” said Tom Loeffler, the head of GGG Promotions. “So I think (trainer) Abel (Sanchez) has a much better game plan for that. Gennady knows what to expect.”
Loeffer then cracked, “Now we have the newly-designed Jordan shoes that will help him cut off the ring better.”
However on a more serious note, he continued, “A lot of those little things add up to be a more effective style. Now it’s always going to be interesting. Canelo hasn’t fought for a year; Gennady is a year older. So all those factors come into play but I think you’re really going to see a more aggressive, more dominant – even though we thought he clearly won the first fight – Triple G in this fight.”
Alvarez, being the A-side and the most valuable financial franchise in boxing (at least in North America), is usually able to get his way and Loeffler admitted, “Last year we were just happy to get Canelo in the ring. He vacated the WBC title when he was mandated to fight Triple G. He was the first Mexican champion in history to do that, so we were actually surprised when he wasn’t obligated or forced to fight Triple G. Golden Boy (Promotions) came back to us and said, ‘OK, we’ll make the fight,’ but it definitely was under circumstances highly favorable to Canelo, who was the challenger at the time.
“We made a lot of concessions to make that fight with Canelo because it was the biggest fight for Triple G’s career. So we did make a lot of concessions. I wouldn’t say we overlooked anything but with the judges, with different things, we just really wanted to get Canelo in the ring.”
But as Alvarez was suspended for testing positive twice for clenbuterol and eventually forcing a cancellation of their May 5 match-up, the tenor of the negotiations changed and Golovkin took a much more hardline stance on things. “There’s no chances being taken on our side and I think, again, those things will also add up to just a more level playing field for Triple G,” stated Loeffler on Thursday morning.
It’s been a rather contentious promotion and Golden Boy and Alvarez seem to be perturbed by the temerity of Golovkin’s team, regarding the adherence to certain regulations. And while this may come as a surprise to many, the Nevada regulators – perhaps feeling some public pressure after last year’s event – have been very impartial during this process.
Loeffler told UCNLive.com, “We have to say the commission has done a tremendous job, whether it’s selecting officials, looking out for the health and safety of the fighters, the glove selection. They did a very meticulous job of looking at all the gloves that were being submitted, that needed to be dissected and weighed and the materials on the inside were checked just to make sure they were up to the highest standards. Really the standard that needs to be in place for this level of championship fight.
“So on all those things, we have to give the commission very high marks here in Nevada.”
Whether all this adds up to a more dominant “GGG” won’t be revealed until tonight. In last year’s encounter – his first outing in Las Vegas – he did seem a bit tight coming out of the gate. “Gennady’s fought all over the world in the biggest venues, whether it’s as an amateur – He won a world championship; he was in the Olympics – to fighting in Madison Square Garden or the O2 Arena in London, the Forum in L.A. but Las Vegas does bring in a different atmosphere,” admitted Loeffler, who added, “There wasn’t any nerves on the Triple G side but any time you fight in a new location like when we fought in London, a lot of people dismissed that but you’re now fighting with a different commission, the British Boxing Board of Control. You have a whole different approach. There’s different food. There’s different time zones, things like that.
“That’s why frankly some fighters only fight in one one city or only fight in one state or fight in only one country. Many fighters fight in Las Vegas because they’re used to their rules. They’re used to being allowed to do certain things, where maybe they couldn’t do that in a different country or different city or different state. That’s why every time you fight, it’s a little bit different. So it was different in Las Vegas last time.”
Golovkin now faces Alvarez in the exact same venue as this time, last year. It’s seems all teed up for Golovkin. His representatives have done their job; now it’s up to him to do his. From getting the percentage he demanded from Golden Boy, he’s gotten everything he’s wanted in the lead-up to this rematch.
It’s time for him to deliver on his end.
“Now he knows what to expect, both from Canelo and from the athletic commission, the arena he fought in,” explained Loeffler. “He’s done it before. He knows Canelo’s style now. Canelo’s promised to be more aggressive. His fans, you could see they were booing him the last time, so if he’s more aggressive, great. If he’s defensive like he was the first time, Gennady will be better prepared for that and I think the last fight was a very entertaining fight, highly skilled fight from both guys. Both top world-class athletes, two of the top boxers in the sport.
“But this time around, I think we’re going to see a more aggressive Triple G and a more aggressive Canelo. The fans will be in for a treat. This will be a tremendous fight between two great warriors.”
Here’s this week’s edition of “The 3 Knockdown Rule,” in which Mario Lopez and I previewed GGG-Canelo II:
This pay-per-view broadcast begins at 8 p.m. PT/5 p.m. PT…So Gervonta Davis has run into some legal problems?…Oleksandr Usyk vs. Tony Bellew has been finalized for November 10 at Manchester Arena…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.