Did you feel abused this past weekend? Well, you should be used to it by now. Last Saturday, boxing fans again got taken for a ride with a “big matchup” turned dud in Canelo-Chavez, which was cast aside by HBO commentators to begin the hype for the much-anticipated showdown in September between Canelo and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin.
Unfortunately, the world didn’t stop with the announcement of the fight like it should of. Instead, the sport’s latest superfight finds fan anticipation tempered by the stench that remains from Canelo-Chavez. It’s like waiting in bed for a hot girl, only for her to open the bathroom door and have your nostrils violated by the aroma of a horrific bowel movement. Yeah, you’ll probably still knock her down, but your enthusiasm ain’t the same.
And that leads us to the problem with today’s boxing market. For the last year, Canelo had told media (myself included), that the Golovkin fight will be made at the “right time.” Sounds great, but the right time should not mean milking your public’s pockets with BS matchups. Prior to 2016, Canelo had compiled one of the more impressive resumes for a young fighter, having faced the likes of Austin Trout, Floyd Mayweather, Erislandy Lara and Miguel Cotto. Since then, he’s coasted on mismatches against fighters that are either undersized (Amir Khan), or underskilled (Liam Smith, Chavez Jr.). Seeing these fights on free TV is one thing, but every one of these fights have been $60+.
It’s no surprise that a good number of the Mexican faithful were booing Canelo this weekend. After vacating the WBC title last year over facing GGG, people have begun to look at him as a diva and Pound 4 Pound fraud. The latter doesn’t concern his in-ring ability (the kid is clearly elite), but more so adopting the Mayweather mentality of delaying dangerous matchups.
Chavez Jr. was never an elite fighter, and at the 164 catchweight he was dead on arrival. We saw a fighter scared of getting countered and content just survive after eating a few hard power shots. Canelo wasn’t anxious to press the matter either, perhaps worried of getting a freak injury that would postpone the GGG showdown. The result was a clear money grab that continues the downward spiral of U.S. boxing pay-per-views that began with the Mayweather-Pacquiao letdown two years ago.
It’s hard to imagine Canelo-GGG not being a good fight. Canelo has the faster hands and skill to thrive in GGG’s wheelhouse by working the body. And Golovkin’s has shown his jab has laser-sharp accuracy and can function like a power punch. It destroyed Lemieux’s aggression and was a main factor in helping him edge close rounds against Danny Jacobs in March. It’s a fascinating fight.
We have four more months before Canelo and GGG step in the ring. Once again we’ll get immersed in the buildup, debate passionately about who has the edge, and urge our friends, who are most likely casual fans, to not miss this one. They’ve probably heard that from you before and might raise a curious eyebrow depending on how bad your previous guarantees were.
So far, 2017 has been a great year filled with competitive matchups. Promoters realize the TV dates are scarce and these 50/50 fights are necessary to retain a foothold. Last Saturday was the first bad main event we’ve had for a high-profile bout, and unfortunately, it occurred on what has traditionally been one of boxing’s biggest weekends.
Maybe Canelo-GGG delivers and makes us forget last Saturday ever happened. And maybe the fight is so good it captures the public’s imagination like Joshua-Klitschko in the UK, and we get a rematch and heated rivalry. And then maybe, just maybe, the promoters and networks realize the lopsided money grab matchups aren’t necessary, just the fights the fans want to see.