Ever since the controversial outcome of Canelo Alvarez and Gennady "GGG" Golovkin’s first match, Alvarez has endured a fair amount of criticism from many in the boxing world. Some critics believed that Golovkin had defeated Alvarez, despite what the final scorecards said. Then, the criticism against Alvarez grew louder when he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in February during the lead-up to their original May 5th rematch date.
The positive drug tests resulted in a six-month suspension for Alvarez, and as a result, the rematch was rescheduled for September 15th. Alvarez claimed that the positive test was due to contaminated meat. (There’s a history of contaminated meat in Mexico directly causing positive drug tests, but Alvarez’s detractors still don’t believe him.)
Alvarez's second act
The rematch will provide Alvarez with an opportunity to begin the process of rehabilitating his public image. His reputation has taken such a big hit that even some of his Mexican fans have left his side to cheer on Golovkin. However, he’s trying to not let that get into his head leading up to the fight.
"Look, I've always had detractors, regardless I'm fighting him or who I'm fighting. There's always that side of the fans that are the detractors, but I have much more, many more, that love and support me,” said Alvarez. “And now, that little respect that I had or that we had, it's been lost, and come September 15, it's just him and I in the ring, whether I have the support or not. It's just going to be him and I, and he'll see."
In addition to the fans, the Golovkin camp has put Alvarez on the defensive by claiming that the positive drug tests will affect the Mexican boxer’s legacy.
Alvarez came back with a counterpunch in an attempt to relieve himself of guilt in the court of public opinion.
"They can say whatever they want," Alvarez said. "But I think it's an excuse because he's going to lose on Sept. 15, and so he's just clinging onto that idea. I think they need to do some research because clenbuterol isn't a steroid. It's not a steroid, and it doesn't help at all. It doesn't help performance, doesn't add muscle, nothing like that. I think they should do some research before talking.”
Despite these claims from Canelo, clenbuterol is said to be widely used by fighters to cut weight without losing muscle mass.
The truth will set you free
Golovkin and his camp clearly view Alvarez as a cheater. In their mind, this fight is Golovkin’s chance to expose the cheater to the world.
Golovkin is currently training in Big Bear, California, and he’s had plenty to say about Alvarez during training camp. Golovkin recently told reporters, "He's a dirty fighter for using substances and blaming others for it, it's a dirty tactic.”
“Canelo is one of the dirtiest and most unpleasant opponents I’ve ever faced,” added Golovkin. This might be in response to Alvarez’s propensity to run away from Golovkin in the first fight.
If Golovkin beats Alvarez, it wouldn’t come as a huge surprise after what the world saw the last time they squared off.
But if Golovkin loses to Alvarez, it would be a huge blow to GGG’s camp. Golovkin and his team have constantly called out Alvarez as a cheater, and the heightened scrutiny surrounding Alvarez should ensure that he doesn’t have any PEDs in his system come fight night. At 36 years old, losing to a drug-free Canelo will effectively end Golovkin’s status as one of top ten best fighters on the pound-for-pound list. His career would likely wind down and he'd disappear.
In any case, the theater leading up to the rematch has been fun to watch. However, all of the sparring in the media pales in comparison to how much fun we’ll be having while watching Canelo and GGG duke it out on Saturday night.
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