Well, here we go … again. Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin will indeed have a rematch on September 15. That comes just a few weeks after Alvarez promotor Oscar de la Hoya said the fight wouldn’t happen. All the attention will now turn to what matters most: can this fight save boxing?
Canelo vs. GGG II is the biggest fight that can be made in the sport, but it must not follow the recent pattern of other highly-anticipated bouts. That includes the first meeting between the two that embarrassingly ended in a draw when Golovkin clearly won the fight. If the bout can reach its full potential, it has a great opportunity to bring more casual fans to the fight game.
Make no mistake, this is not a fight that pairs up two evenly matched fighters (GGG is far superior.) But styles make fights and these two should be able to create a thriller. The first time around both fighters showed flashes of that, but at times they were too tentative. If the fight can display GGG’s hard-hitting ability, Canelo’s penchant for fighting like a lion and it ends in a knockout that can be replayed for weeks, the masses will be pleased.
What is most important for the September fight is that it leaves the audience at least intrigued by the sport of boxing. Not just the hardcore fans but casual fans as well. If Canelo and GGG can get people to once again pay attention to the sport, they will realize the level of talent that exists across all levels right now.
This rematch could be like Strek, a game-changer that led viewers to explore the sci-fi genre. If that happens, the sport’s new fans will find there are several other top-level boxers who are even more entertaining than the two big names. Guys like Vasyl Lomachenko, Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. are all more than worth the price of admission.
Of course, the rematch will carry so much weight that it could also serve as a negative for the sport. September 15 cannot be anything like the ending of the first battle. Nothing is more demoralizing and insulting to a viewer than witnessing a fight with a clear winner where the judges blow it.
Aside from the threat of the judges messing up another mega PPV fight, there is always the concern of a boring fight a la Mayweather-Pacquiao.
Those who defend the sport will say there have been several disappointments and it still has an audience. Yes, there is a dedicated audience that will never leave. What those disappointments have done is give the rest of the country no reason to return or discuss the sport. And they have not.
Will a good showing from Canelo-GGG II return the sport to its glory days? No. But what it can do is get fans to do what they love doing most: arguing over who is better. Unlike it the NBA or the NFL, these debates can be settled in the ring.
If that doesn’t occur, there might not be another fight in the coming years that will draw the audience like this one surely will.
The sport is counting on you, Canelo and GGG.