Golovkin’s “Rematch” with Ryota Murata Concerned After Complete Defeat to Canelo
He’s getting old.”
That’s what reporters murmured when they saw Golovkin in the final round, far from his prime.
Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin, aka GGG, appeared in the T-Mobile Arena at 20:32 local time on September 17. Dressed in a blue gown, he made his way down the aisle in a short trot.
The gown he wore was a Kazakhstani traditional costume called “chapan,” the same color and design as the one he gave to Ryota Murata after the April 9 fight. Golovkin, who beat Murata by KO in the 9th round to unify the belts of two middleweight organizations, IBF and WBA, said, “In Kazakhstan, we have a custom of giving chapans to the people we respect the most. I paid my respects to Ryota Murata,” he said after the fight, and he gave Murata a chapin to wear in the ring after the fight.
It was the first time Golovkin had been in the ring since that Murata fight. Golovkin moved up one weight class from middleweight to super middleweight to challenge for the WBA/WBC/IBF/WBO super middleweight title held by Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (32), his biggest rival whom he had fought twice before.
The GGG vs. Murata fight was talked about as the biggest boxing show in the history of Japanese boxing, with the total fight money for both fighters estimated at 2 billion yen, but the third fight between “Canelo and GGG” was on a different order of magnitude. Canelo was guaranteed $45 million (*$1 = ¥6.426 billion at ¥142.8) and Golovkin $20 million (¥2.856 billion). In addition to that, it was announced that Canelo will get 60% of the PPV proceeds and Golovkin 40%.
The first meeting between the two fighters was on September 16, 2017. Canelo challenged Golovkin, then WBA/WBC/IBF middleweight champion, and the champion defended to a draw. However, at that time, the challenger Canelo’s minimum guarantee was $5 million, while the champion Golovkin was outbid by $3 million. Golovkin was also promised only $2.5 million in fight money for his defense on March 18 of the same year. For the strongest champion in the middleweight division and a top-ranked pound-for-pound fighter, this is an unbelievably low price.
Nevertheless, the first Golovkin vs. Canelo fight sold PPVs like hotcakes, so the proceeds were added to the fight, and Golovkin took home $22 million to Canelo’s $30 million total earnings.
No matter how talented he was, it was not easy for Golovkin, a Kazakhstani, to gain popularity in the United States, the home of boxing. Nevertheless, by taking on Canelo, he raised his stock.
In the return match on September 15, 2018, Golovkin would fall from the title with a narrow decision loss. It was his first black star in his professional career. Again, Canelo’s fight money, publicly announced by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, was $5 million, while the champion Golovkin’s was $4 million; including PPV sales, Canelo’s fee was $40 million and Golovkin’s was $30 million, leaving them in the back of the pack. The fact that the challenger earns more than the champion usually affects the judges’ scores.
Golovkin turned 40 the day before the Murata fight and was 3.5 kg heavier than in April. Canelo, on the other hand, last gained weight in his second fight against GGG. He also had two world light heavyweight fights, but won mainly in the super middleweight division. Before the Golovkin fight, Murata said , “In the super middleweight division, Canelo is the best. He is the best in the super middleweight division.
In the past, he had to walk in the shadows because of his nationality. He is now entering his 60s, but still fights at the forefront of the boxing world. And the gentlemanly manner in which he behaved after winning the fierce fight with Murata. Many Japanese fans must have been hoping for Golovkin’s victory this time.
Golovkin took the first round with a polite jab to Canelo, the “star” of the show, who came to the ring to the sound of live Mexican music and loud cheers. Golovkin showed steady and basic boxing, wary of Canelo’s powerful left hook.
Canelo, however, also landed right hooks to the body again, and he took over the pace. Although both fighters knew each other’s moves well and were cautious, the champion outclassed the Kazakhstani challenger in attacking stance and clean hits.
In the eighth round, which proceeded with few scenes of Golovkin unleashing punches with all his might, GGG’s downward angled left hook, which had been so effective against Murata, caught the champion shallowly. From this point on, Golovkin finally began to throw away. The challenger moved forward anyway.
But GGG’s speed and power were noticeably declining, and he was a different man than he had been when he was defending his middleweight title at a time when he was not seeing the light of day.
In the final round, GGG twice took himself into the clinch.
‘I’m getting old,’ he said.
Golovkin has lost it.
Such were the cries from all over the press box.
By decisions of 112-116, 113-115, and 113-115, Golovkin lost to his eight years younger rival.
After the match, Golovkin accepted defeat with grace, saying.
‘As everyone understands, it was a very high-level fight, to decide who is the best fighter of our time. Look at his face, and my face. We practiced hard and had a high quality, good fight.
Canelo fought smarter than in the last two fights. It was a good game like chess. I thought it was a late game for me. Well, I think it was a good match.”
He then declared that he would continue to play.
I have a lot of great plans for the future, and I will continue. Today, I want to say ‘Congratulations’ to Canelo and his fans. Remember, I am now the 160-pound (middleweight) champion.”
GGG and Canelo’s three fights were all held at the same venue. It has been five years since their first meeting. Their third bout was so lucrative because they are both champions of note. But now there is a big gap between them. The score looked close at first glance, but Canelo was more than just a numerical superiority over Golovkin.
Canelo was the better fighter than Golovkin,” said Golovkin. I think GGG only got three rounds, no matter how you look at it,” Canelo said. My scorecard has Canelo by eight points. He’s a WBA/IBF world title holder, but I think he’d have a tough time against the middleweight champion of another organization, even though he’s doing well at 40 years old.
said Amilcar Barnett, a New York-based boxing reporter who sat next to Golovkin in the press box. Burnett is the same age as Golovkin. He said that as a former amateur boxer, he has a special attachment to Golovkin, who is still the world champion, and concluded, “I’ll judge him that way.
A fourth fight between Canelo and GGG can no longer happen. Their rivalry is now over. What names were mentioned in Golovkin’s “great plans for the future”?
Former world heavyweight champion Tim Withaspoon, who saw footage of the fight at Saitama Super Arena five months ago, said.
Golovkin is getting old. The reason Murata lost is his experience. He takes a fine barrage of strikes. He uses footwork. He punches through the gaps in the guard. Whether it’s a jab or a hook, he changes his trajectory. I felt that kind of GGG has a lot of drawers. If Murata can learn to use head slips to avoid his opponent’s jabs, to use four, five, and more combinations, and to increase the angles of his jabs, I think he can win the rematch, man.”
Tim’s words came back to my ears as I stared at Golovkin as he walked out of the ring in his Chapin.
That night, around the T-Mobile Arena, a victory party by Mexicans continued until dawn.
Interview and text by： Soichi Hayashi Photo： AFLO, Soichi Hayashi