(Reuters) - Gennady Golovkin’s bout on Saturday with Canelo Alvarez has not enjoyed the same anticipation as last month’s clash between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor but it is the one boxing purists are calling the fight of the year.
When the clash between Kazakhstan’s Golovkin, the undefeated middleweight world champion, and Mexico’s Alvarez was announced last May, for about a month the showdown was being billed as the ‘Fight of the Year’.
But in June, the Mayweather-McGregor fight was announced and the outspoken fighters commanded the media spotlight, helped along by a four-city international media tour that stretched across three countries.
The fight, which Mayweather won by technical knockout in the 10th round, was dismissed as a joke by many since mixed martial arts champion McGregor was making his professional boxing debut against one of the best boxers of all-time.
But Saturday’s clash between Golovkin and Alvarez for the unified middleweight world championship, which will be held at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, pits opponents who are easily the two best middleweights in boxing and two of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport.
“Canelo against Golovkin will go down in history,” said Oscar De La Hoya, whose promotional company, Golden Boy Promotions, is putting on Saturday’s fight.
“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.”
Both fighters have such a fearsome reputation for punching power that many experts are struggling to predict the outcome in what is considered an evenly-matched bout.
The 35-year-old Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) has made 18 consecutive world middleweight title defences, while his 27-year-old opponent (49-1-1, 34 KOs) has won world titles in two divisions. Alvarez’s lone defeat came against Mayweather in 2013.
Unlike the brash and expletive-filled press conferences held by Mayweather and McGregor in the lead-up to their fight, Golovkin and Alvarez have struck a much different tone.
“I don’t want to talk too much,” Golovkin said this week at their final pre-fight press conference, to which a Spanish-speaking Alvarez followed, “You know me, I don’t like to talk a lot.”
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar