- - Thursday, September 14, 2017

The long-anticipated Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez middleweight showdown Saturday night in Las Vegas had enough of a burden to carry with the time it took for this fight to happen — three years in the making.

Then it was forced to carry the disappointing legacy of boxing’s last big fight — the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao debacle more than two years ago, the mega fight that left a bad taste in the public’s mouth.

Now the Golovkin-Alvarez bout has a new cross to bear — living up to the greatness of the Mayweather-Conor McGregor historic meeting in the ring just three weeks ago.

AUDIO: Former MLB pitcher Ron Darling with Thom Loverro

For those who actually believed what they saw between Mayweather-McGregor was great — or real, for that matter — the previous sentence is sarcasm.

It was so disheartening to read and hear about how many fools fell for the Mayweather-McGregor con job — not just the paying public, but the media who, at one time in this business, had a level of intelligence and knowledge that would have prevented them from writing sentences like this:

Mayweather, during the first three rounds of the fight, seemed less cunning than confused … Mayweather and McGregor promised to give fans a good fight. And somehow, against all odds, they did.”

This was in the New Yorker. The New Yorker! David Remnick’s New Yorker!

Somebody was confused, all right. But it wasn’t Floyd Mayweather.

Now, those who thought they were watching a fight last month, if they have any money left over from the $100 they shelled out for Mayweather-McGregor, may need an instruction manual to watch Golovkin-Alvarez — which, at the very least, should be a good fight, pitting the hard-hitting, bigger Golovkin, the undisputed, undefeated (37-0, 33 knockouts) against the boxing artist Alvarez, who has won titles in two different weight classes but spent much of his career as a junior middleweight at 154 pounds.

At one time, when this fight was first being debated, Golovkin was the clear-cut favorite. But now, at the age of 35, some observers believe he is on the downside of his career, while Alvarez, 27, with a record of 49-1-1 and 34 knockouts, is at his peak, and is considered a slight favorite.

Two local boxing greats who once held the title belts on the line Saturday night —Keith Holmes, a former World Boxing Council two-time middleweight title holder from 1996 to 2001, and William Joppy, the former World Boxing Association 160-pound champion — both believe that Alvarez will emerge the winner.

“When you go back to my fight with Quincy Taylor (who Holmes defeated in 1996 to win the WBC middleweight title), I was ranked No. 1 at 147 at the time and moved up to 154 pounds,” said Holmes, who in retirement has developed a compression workout shirt called Ripflexxx. “I went into that fight with Taylor weighing 157 pounds, so I don’t look at who is the natural middleweight here. I just look at how a guy deals with his opponents.

“I think Canelo will do great against Triple G,” said Holmes, who said he is writing a book. “I see a lot of holes that Triple G has. He’s open for body shots and he doesn’t like body shots. I think Canelo is pretty good with getting on his toes and Triple G is basically a guy that (Muhammad) Ali would always say is always in the mud. He’s not able to bounce. I like Canelo.”

Joppy, the three-time WBA middleweight champion, also from 1996 to 2001, is also an Alvarez fan. “This is a great matchup,” said Joppy, who is working as a personal trainer, training some local fighters and also, like Holmes, writing a book about his career. “I’m leaning toward Canelo. Look at their records and the opponents they’ve faced. Triple G has never fought anyone like Canelo.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Canelo stopped Triple G,” Joppy said. “Canelo is the better boxer, and he’s tough. I know Triple G can crack and has some serious power. He has bricks in his hands, but who has he fought? I respect him, but I don’t think he is in the same elite class as an Andre Ward or a Floyd Mayweather, or Canelo.

“If you go back and watch his fights, Triple G gets hit a lot, and not just one shot, but three or four punch combinations,” Joppy said. “Canelo has gotten better ever since he fought Floyd Mayweather (losing a unanimous decision to Mayweather four years ago). He’s grown from that fight.”

Unfortunately, the public has not. They need a refresher on great fights. Saturday night may serve that purpose.

• Thom Loverro hosts his weekly podcast “Cigars & Curveballs” Wednesdays available on iTunes, Google Play and the reVolver podcast network.

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