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Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin III: Fight Preview

Two of the finest pound-for-pound fighters in recent history will renew a bitter rivalry in Las Vegas this weekend, as Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez go toe-to-toe again, completing an iconic trilogy of fights.

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The fight, with Canelo’s full set of super-middleweight title belts on the line, is the opportunity for both men to settle their scores following two highly contentious past bouts, both of which were decided by the judges.

Their first fight, in September 2017, was nominated for fight of the year; a controversial split decision draw that most believe ‘Triple G’ edged. Canelo was fast out of the blocks, quick on his feet and strong with his counter-punches.

However, Golovkin adapted his style to this and looked to have taken several rounds in a row, out-landing his opponent in 10 of the 12 and most likely having Canelo wondering what he would have to do to win the fight, shrugging off an overhand right from the Mexican that would’ve ended most boxers’ evenings there and then.

That isn’t how all of the judges saw it though, with Dave Moretti scoring it 115-113 for GGG, Don Trella awarding it as a 114-114 draw and, most controversially, Adalaide Byrd giving it to Canelo with a scorecard of 118-110. A decision that could only require a second fight to settle.

The prospect of a rematch was tantalising, and the rivals obliged, fighting almost a year later once Canelo had returned from a 6-month suspension.

GGG vs Canelo II in September 2018 went one further than the first battle and won Ring magazine’s fight of the year award. This time, Canelo took the victory by split decision, another controversial decision in the eyes of the fans and media, although more justified than their first bout.

Canelo was more aggressive this time round, with a better strike success rate than his opponent, landing more power punches in eight of the rounds. A late bout of exhaustion threatened to surrender the lead he had on the scorecards, although a final round of the highest quality from both men kept the Mexican’s advantage intact.

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Golovkin again looked strong, landing arguably the best shot in the 10th round and visibly shaking his rival, a flurry of activity from the Kazakh in the middle of the fight left him in with a chance right up to the final few punches, but it wasn’t to be.

A case could’ve been made for both fighters, but this decision was more accepted, with GGG’s trainer Abel Sanchez even admitting that he “couldn’t complain” at the 115-113, 115-113 and 114-114 scorecards.

With the attention now turning to the third fight, the biggest question is whether the 40-year-old Golovkin’s best chance of beating Canelo has already passed him by. The ‘God of War’ has only fought four times since the rematch between the two boxing icons, in two routine wins, a close fought battle against Sergiy Derevyanchenko and a knockout win over Ryota Murata.

Canelo, on the other hand, is coming off the back of a unanimous decision loss, albeit at light heavyweight, removing the slight feeling of inevitability that this weekend’s fight had around it. Although he has won the other seven fights since him and his upcoming opponent last met, and the bitter rivalry between these two has led to the Mexican vowing to retire his foe.

He is the overwhelming favourite, at 1/6 on the bet365 website, while Golovkin is 4/1 to leave Las Vegas victorious. If you back Canelo to follow up on his promise of a forced retirement for GGG, you can bet on him to win by KO, TKO or DQ at 8/5.

However, the grit and determination of these two greats has led to them going to war for 24 rounds over their last two bouts, and there is a feeling that this one could go the same way, with them making it to a mammoth 36 rounds over the three fights.

The ageing Golovkin may not have the finishing power to end it early against a fighter of such quality, but his chin is seen as one of the strongest in the sport, which suggests that even in the event of a Canelo onslaught, an 8/13 bet on the fight to go the distance might be a smart move.

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