Dhe key scene? It was probably not even in one of the twelve rounds in this special duel between two exceptional boxers. It was during that break when the American head coach and former professional Jonathan Banks suddenly reminded his client Gennady Golovkin of something. "Let's go to work!" he hissed at the native Kazakh who lives in California before he got up from his stool once more. Get started: That's what counselors in the corner like to say after the first few rounds, when they expect their eleven to be more active in the ring - and a directional microphone from the transmitting station reaches far enough into the scene.
However, when Mr. Banks got so worked up under the roof of a Las Vegas arena on Saturday night, the fight was already half over. Golovkin had spent most of that time keeping himself out of striking distance of his adversary Saul Alvarez, the unanimous champion of the four major super middleweight divisions. With a bit of skill he had managed to do that. But because he couldn't dodge everything that came flying, round after round went to the more active, red-blond Mexican with the compact punch, which they call "Canelo" (cinnamon). So the mountain that the forty-year-old had to climb in his 45th professional fight (42 wins, 1 draw) became ever steeper.
So should the frustrated man in the challenger's corner have made himself felt much earlier? Now and then he must have tried, just as politely as the one between the ropes acted. In the end, however, both coach and athlete never really got past the power and determination of the defending champion in the comparison proclaimed "Fight of the Year". All that was left to them was a second half of the fight, in which Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin, aka "Triple G", gradually regained the form that had made him one of the outstanding players of the past ten years. And noticeably increased his pace and aggressiveness, while his opponent, who was eight years his junior, suddenly had problems. With the air. With the timing. With Golovkin.
"It was like chess"
A few years ago, this could have been an explosive situation, in which a ring duel at the highest level could possibly tip over. But now the Kazakhs noticed that he had to be careful with his steam: it was too little, too late. His archrival (58 wins, 2 draws, 2 defeats) was able to win one or two more rounds in the second half of the fight, depending on the reading, and finally got all three judges on his side (116:112, twice 115:113). With that, one of the most spectacular trilogies in the recent history of show sport has come to its expected end - especially since the older exceptional boxer congratulated the younger one right after the final gong.
"It was like chess," Golovkin praised the perceived quality of the argument while still in the ring - and emphasized that his loss was limited: his world championship belts in two important associations in the next lower middleweight division (WBA, IBF) were not entitled to Las Vegas Debate. Against this background, there should be no talk of resignation in the short term: "I don't feel bad and I'm still a champion." Over the past five years, however, observers have been able to get the impression that "GGG" and "Canelo “ maybe it was about something like world domination in their sport; but at least for the unofficial title of the best professional boxer "pound for pound", i.e. across all weight classes. This high claim was almost met in the first fight five years ago - only the verdict of the judges (mostly undecided) did not help to clarify the ranking. So the rematch followed a year later. It yielded more hits, more speed, but ended up just a two-thirds win for Alvarez as one of the judges saw them both level.
Rather than reuniting, the rivals built their reputations over the next four years, racking up wins and taking turns throwing hate over the fence. Golovkin, who once trained in Stuttgart, was certain that he had been cheated in the re-match and more than once brought up the suspicion of doping against Alvarez triggered by a clenbuterol finding. All that and more had evaporated in the moments after the third fight, the "Rubbermatch". The opponents hugged each other to express their ultimate respect for themselves and all listeners. So Alvarez was short of breath, but without major injuries just "glad to be involved in such a fight".