Third time's a charm? Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin could clear path to trilogy fight with wins this weekend
One could forgive both Alvarez and Golovkin for looking past their respective opponents on their returns to action this week. Wins for both could be the first steps towards navigating a route to what would be a lucrative trilogy fight between the two superstars but in a boxing landscape increasingly governed by celebrity fights and Instagram followings, just how much of an appetite is there for another reboot in the Canelo-Golovkin franchise?Also on rt.com ‘You know how dirty his mouth is’: Boxing star Golovkin warns he would ‘seize opportunity’ to ‘legally kill’ ex-champ De La Hoya
First things first, neither Golovkin nor Canelo are facing an easy task. Golovkin - fresh from giving Cristiano Ronaldo a few ringcraft tips - will fight the undefeated Pole Kamil Szeremeta, a 31-year-old fighter with a perfect record through 21 fights. No test he has faced in his career will have been quite as stern as the one he will meet in the ring late Friday.
Kazakhstan's Golovkin has defeated every man he has ever set foot into the ring with, with the obvious exception of his two fights (a draw and a loss) against Mexican star Canelo. A supremely technical boxer, 'GGG' is rightly heralded as among the finest prizefighters of his generation and one glance at the bookmakers' odds suggests that Friday's fight is little more than a formality.
Szeremeta, a former holder of the European middleweight title, isn't known for his fight-ending power, with less than a quarter of his wins coming inside the distance - and he will have to box very clever indeed to stifle one of the game's top strategists in Golovkin.
Canelo, meanwhile, faces the tougher task - on paper at least. England's Callum Smith has long been thought of as a fighter on the cusp of world level, and what better way to prove that by extending his unbeaten record at the expense of arguably the sport's biggest current box office draw?
Still just 30 years of age, Canelo will be taking on a 57th professional bout in a career which has seen him compete in numerous different weight classes and share the ring with fighters as varied as Floyd Mayweather (his only loss), Golovkin and even Sergey Kovalev.
And even in the case of Kovalev, a light heavyweight, Canelo won't often have tangled with a fighter who boasts the physical advantages that Smith possesses. A 5ft 9in, Canelo is dwarfed by the 6ft 3in Englishman who can also bank on a near eight-inch reach advantage coming into the fight.
But in the case that both Canelo and Golvkin get past their undefeated challengers, what then? The Kazakh fighter has openly stated that he is seeking a fight to tie the series with Canelo who, after initially appearing hesitant, appears increasingly open to a third fight with Golovkin. Broadcaster DAZN, meanwhile, are also understood to be more than agreeable to a deal, despite not having Canelo under official contract.
But with Golvkin inching ever-closer to his 39th birthday, some are wondering if his best opportunity to beat his younger rival has come and gone - but he likely knows that with every passing month, his chances to win get slimmer and slimmer.
For Canelo, the trilogy fight with 'GGG' represents the most fertile payday available to him, and having already boxed 24 rounds with him without being defeated he would surely be confident of emerging with another win and his seven-year unbeaten streak intact.
So, while the timing may well be opportune for both Canelo and Golovkin, is this something that fight fans want to see? Canelo has an in-built audience who would pay money to see their man spar with an inanimate broomstick, but a third fight with a potentially waning 'GGG' might be a harder sell to your casual boxing fan.Also on rt.com ‘I cried every day’: Ronaldo reveals ‘hardest moments’ and tells Kazakh Golovkin he prefers watching boxing and UFC to football
Nowadays, a fighter's prowess in the ring comes second to their ability to attract a crowd as noted by the wave of success which has followed the recent trend of white collar boxing moving to an industrial scale. Hell, you don't even need to be a boxer to box nowadays.
Both Canelo and Golovkin are among the finest fighters of their generation - a fact which will rightly be recorded in the record books. The third fight may indeed come, particularly if both fighters turn in outstanding performances this week, but the simple fact of the matter is that, to some at least, they would rather pay to see Canelo box Jake Paul - a fight which would be as close to a sanctioned murder as the sport allows.