LAS VEGAS, Nevada – September 14, 2018 – In front of a lively crowd of 9,000 or so fans eager to support their favorite fighter at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, the middleweights of the moment cleared their last hurdle for Saturday’s big prize fight. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez weighed-in at 158.5 pounds, Gennady “GGG” Golvokin at 159.75 pounds. Friends, we have a fight.
But this is a small detail. The reason thousands of fans showed up and many more watched on big screens outside was to see the outcome of the one and only face off between the two combatants. It didn’t disappoint them. Golovkin walked to the stage first from the right, and he planted his feet, looking forward with a set jaw as if to say, “Let’s get this done.”
Alvarez and Golovkin face-off – very briefly
From the left, Alvarez strode briskly toward Golovkin, leading in head first and getting aggressive. The portion of the meeting we can call a “face-off” lasted perhaps three seconds. Alvarez leaned forward and out his hands on Golovkin briefly before trainer Abel Sanchez and promoter Oscar De La Hoya attempted to pull the men apart. Alvarez trainer Eddy Reynoso pushed Canelo forward once more before the two camps finally went their separate ways.
“I saw a face like a clown, he showed me his nature,” said Golovkin of the weigh-in. “Tomorrow is a real war. It’s not a fight, it’s a special war.” Asked if he thought age might be a factor in the fight, Golovkin said “It doesn’t matter, I like my life experience, it doesn’t matter to me.” Golovkin declared he’d be going for the knockout and wanted to hurt Alvarez, an uncharacteristically harsh statement – for the “old” Golovkin, that is.
As for his outburst, Alvarez said “I got excited seeing all the fans, it motivated me to do it right now. I defeated the weigh-in and now it’s time to defeat him on Saturday.” Alvarez said he was grateful for the fan support. “Thank you, we’re going to enjoy a great fight and an excellent victory.”
Fans and media waited two and a half hours to see these few seconds transpire. What did it mean? Everyone has an opinion, but few seem certain about their conclusions, because there are so many ways to slice this one. We might as well consult one of Las Vegas’ finest downtown psychics for a valid opinion.
Weigh-ins carry too much weight with pundits
Second only to fight night itself, the public weigh-in for a significant boxing event is a major event for everyone involved, and never more so than for this rematch set for Saturday, September 15 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and airing live on HBO Pay Per View.
It isn’t because there is any drama over what happens on the scale. Alvarez and Golovkin are both far too disciplined and there is far too much at stake for both men and their teams. It’s all about the drama has been generated by the contentious relationship which has developed due to a growing list of grievances between the camps. It led to Alvarez refusing to appear with Golovkin face to face for any pre-fight promotions. The weigh-in became the one and only face-off between the two men before Saturday.
Golovkin’s three championship belts were on full display thanks to his team, the boxing equivalent of a peacock’s tail or a lion’s mane. Alvarez must be used to seeing them by now and didn’t appear to take any notice.
You can argue in favor of going back to same-day weigh-ins to prevent fighters from gaming the scale and packing back on weight before a fight, which can be dangerous to their health. But there is far too much opportunity to generate publicity and sell more pay-per-views with the drama of the scale. But fans and observers shouldn’t come to any sudden conclusions based on reading the tea leaves on the scale.
David Lemieux vs Gary O’Sullivan
Middleweight combatants Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan of Ireland (28-2, 20 KOs) talks a great game and used the weigh-in to rile up opponent David Lemieux of Canada (39-4, 33 KOs) and fire up the crowd. O’Sullivan weighed a tight 159.25 pounds. Lemieux, who’s had plenty of problems on the scale, hit the 160-pound limit looking fit.
There was a face off of sorts. O’Sullivan put up a throwback bare knuckles type stance. Lemieux made an effort, but it became a hand slapping exercise which the camps shut down.
O’Sullivan said when he looked at Lemieux, “I could smell the fear, I could feel his heart beating. He was anxious, he’s sh—– himself right now. He’s a f——- a——-, that’s why he gets under my skin.” To Lemiuex, he says “You’re getting KTFO.” (Ask a boxing fan what the acronym stands for). Lemieux declined to comment.
Roman Gonzalez vs Moises Fuentes
Moises Fuentes of Mexico (25-5-1) 14 KOs) stood between two towels to make 116.0 pounds. “I’m willing to die in the ring, I’m going for my chance,” said Fuentes. “Roman Gonzalez, I hope you come really well prepared. TY very much for the opportunity.” The former pound for pound champion Gonzalez (46-2, 38 KOs) weighed a healthy looking 114.8 although he also weighed in without clothing, behind a Nicaraguan flag.
Gonzalez waved to his fans, but this was the extent of his comments.
Jaime Munguia vs Brandon Cook
In the super welterweight title fight, both Brandon Cook of Toronto (20-1, 13 KOs) and Jamie Munguia of Mexico (30-0, 25 KOs made weight (153.2 for Cook, 154 for Munguia). Munguia is the rising star of the Golden Boy stable, and an exceptional addition to this strong undercard. Cook may be overmatched, but he’s trained hard and intends to make the most of the opportunity.
“I say we’re both ready to fight,” said Cook. “I didn’t come here to lose, I came here to give everyone a show. It’s a dream for me to fight for a world title. It’s every boxer’s dream. I’m ready for it, I’m ready to fight and that’s it … When that bell rings, I’ll be there.”
Munguia said to the fans, “I’m excited to bring you guys an exciting and unforgettable fight tomorrow. I’m going to win by knockout, I’m not letting it go to the judges.”
Munguia’s statement is wise advice to every boxer on the card. No one should risk letting the decision go to the scorecards. Fans will not mind if eight out of eight fights on the card end in a few rounds and they leave early. There’s always something to do in Las Vegas.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities and for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News.
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