This weekend we saw two of the pound for pound greats fight on back-to-back nights to end an interesting 2020. On Friday night we saw Gennady Golovkin AKA “GGG” (41-1-1, 36 KOs) in the ring for the first time since October of 2019. He was facing the undefeated Kamil Szeremeta (21-1, 5 KOs) from Poland. GGG would also be going for a record 21st middleweight world title defense. Just one day later, we were given another massive fight as Canelo Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs) takes on Callum Smith (27-1, 19 KOs) for the vacant WBC super-middle weight title. Alvarez had also not been in the ring since November of 2019. However, most thought neither would show much ring rust or perhaps at most take a round to get the feel of things back. As expected, both GGG and Canelo were large favourites and Smith took the vacant title fight on short notice. With a year no one was prepared for, this was a pleasant surprise to see two giants in the sport of boxing going at it on the same weekend.
Our first fight spectacle touted a heavy favorite in GGG, although some were wondering if we were going to get the GGG of new or of old. There have always been those who question if age was beginning to play a part on Golovkin’s career and how many fights does he have left. To me, after Friday night those questions have now been answered. A glimpse was given into the shape he was in at the weigh in and it took all of 30 seconds for GGG to turn it on and shake off the ring rust. Kamil came out fast and tried to jab and push GGG to his back foot, but as always, the question with a lot of Golovkin’s opponents was does he even have the power to hurt him. Once again, that answer was no and GGG turned it on in a hurry. He began to pepper Kamil with jabs and power punches. Golovkin averages around 9 jabs a round and tonight he was even better. GGG even showed some solid foot movement and ended round one with a punishing looping left hook, which sent Szeremeta to the canvas. Rounds two through four showcased more effectiveness from Golovkin as he knocked his opponent down two more times. Not only was GGG able to outland his opponent in jabs 9:1, he was also able to land almost 60% of his power punches. He was even able to show head movement off that I’ve never seen from Golovkin in past high-level fights. I will say that Kamil showed great heart as a fighter as he was taken down a fourth time in the seventh round. As the round ended and he was in his corner, the fight was finally called. GGG of old and new came out this weekend not only in great shape but with new tricks. This was one of the best performances from Gennady Golovkin in years and there will be more from where this came from.
Our second fight showcased two champions across different weight divisions for the WBC/WBA super middleweight titles. Smith came out early trying to use his jab to keep Canelo back and from pushing forward. It was a slow-paced fight to start with Smith working on keeping Canelo at bay, while Canelo began to push forward more and was firing hard short shots every time he got close enough. As Canelo learned he could walk through the punches of Smith, he then began to cut off the ring and walk him down at a beautiful rate. Smith fought well off the ropes when we ended up there, but hard shots still peppered the body and head throughout the fight when there was any close contact. In the middle rounds Smith tried to exchange with Canelo and let his hands go, but every time3 he landed Canelo was able to land a harder shot. It was noted by announcers that a lot of the work being done by Smith on any other fighter, would have had different consequences and in this case they were right. Smith landed two shot and went for a third power right, but Canelo used spectacular recovery and head/foot movement to evade the shot. The apparent pure power of Canelo and continued work began to take a toll and show as the fight wore on. Smith looked battered and bruised but showed all heart in the championship rounds. Just like GGG, Canelo was able to land almost 60% of his power punches and double up Smith in jabs by landing 88 of them. Alvarez was able to land 214 punches on his counterpart, which is the most ever against Smith. At most, some gave Callum Smith three rounds, but others seem to feel one or two rounds at most (and still close) were more accurate. After the fight, it came out that Smith may have suffered an injury to his bicep but by the time the injury occurred it would not have made a difference. This was another display of pure class by one of the worlds top pound for pound fighters and now four division champion.
This weekend gave us just what boxing needed and that was a beautiful display of the sweet science from both Golovkin and Canelo. What’s next you ask? I have heard many say there are fights ranging from Charlo to Billy Joe Saunders to Demetrius Andrade, but in my eyes there’s only one fight to make. That fight is the trilogy between these two pound for pound giants. With two close and somewhat controversial to some battles, I find no reason to not have a third. GGG proved a lot of haters wrong this weekend with age talk and he no longer has it and Canelo continued to show why some tout him as the number one pound for pound fighter in the world. I learned something this weekend and that is, there is a difference between a champion and a pound for pound champion. The men GGG and Canelo are beating are truly champions and great fighters, but you can see the level difference when these two step in the ring. GGG possess the power others didn’t and was able to keep Canelo from walking him down as Canelo respected that power. I think 2021 brings us a trilogy and how does it end, only time will tell.
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