LAS VEGAS — The last time unified middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez went face to face and looked into each other’s eyes was in February at the kickoff news conference for their ill-fated May 5 rematch.
Now, one day before their rescheduled mega-sequel on Saturday (HBO PPV, 8 p.m. ET) at T-Mobile Arena, they still haven’t posed nose-to-nose for the freeze-frame that fans and media want to see.
That is because after the fighters weighed in Friday inside T-Mobile Arena before a weigh-in capacity crowd of about 9,000, there was still no face-off. Instead, Alvarez, in an uncharacteristic move, charged at Golovkin and pressed his forehead against GGG’s. The face-off lasted only a few seconds because, after Alvarez bull-rushed Golovkin, their teams quickly got between them as the crowd roared.
The May 5 fight was canceled when Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) failed two drug tests for the performance-enhancing drug clenbuterol and was suspended for six months by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The rematch to their highly controversial draw last September, which most thought Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs) won, was eventually renegotiated and rescheduled for Saturday night. But the fighters declined to hold a joint news conference when the new deal was finished, and they also declined to go on a media tour or stand face to face at the final prefight news conference on Wednesday.
That means they won’t have a staredown until the final instructions before the first bell rings.
“What you saw on the stage was Canelo’s world collapsing around him,” said Abel Sanchez, Golovkin’s trainer, who has vigorously attacked Alvarez for his failed drug tests in the lead-up to the rematch. “Saturday night there will be no escape. This is the best GGG I have ever trained. Gennady has trained and is ready to shoot the works on Saturday night.”
Golovkin said when Alvarez and his team approached him, “All I could feel was fear from them, and I think they did it so I couldn’t look into his eyes and he couldn’t look into mine.”
Alvarez brushed it off. He said he just got excited by the moment.
“I got excited and motivated by the fans,” Alvarez said through an interpreter. “I defeated the weigh-in, and now it’s time to defeat him [Saturday] night. It’s going to be an exciting fight and big victory.”
Both fighters comfortably made weight for the 160-pound world title fight. Golovkin, 36, a Kazakhstan native fighting out of Santa Monica, California, seeking to break the all-time middleweight defense record he shares with Bernard Hopkins by retaining his title for the 21st consecutive time, weighed in first and was 159.6 pounds.
Mexico’s Alvarez, 28, who was mistakenly called to the scale first but would not budge until Golovkin weighed in, was 159.4 pounds.
Junior middleweight world titlist Jaime Munguia (30-0, 25 KOs), 21, of Mexico, was on the division limit of 154 pounds for the co-feature. He will make his second title defense against Brandon Cook (20-1, 13 KOs), 32, of Toronto, who weighed 153.2 pounds.
Former middleweight world titlist David Lemieux (39-4, 33 KOs), 29, of Montreal, was on the division limit of 160 pounds, and Ireland’s Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan, 34, was 159.2 pounds for their title elimination fight. They have trash-talked with abandon leading up to the fight and nearly came to blows when they faced off and had to be separated.
For the opening HBO PPV bout, former four-division world champion and former pound-for-pound king Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (46-2, 38 KOs), 31, of Nicaragua, who is returning from a one-year layoff and back-to-back losses, was 114.8 pounds for his 10-round junior bantamweight bout against former strawweight world titlist Moises Fuentes (25-5-1, 14 KOs), 30, of Mexico, who was 116 pounds.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission also released the purses for the card. Alvarez’s official purse is $5 million and Golovkin’s is $4 million. However, each will earn tens of millions overall because of their percentages of the profits from an event that could certainly generate nine figures. Alvarez probably will earn around $40 million and Golovkin around $30 million.
Munguia will make $250,000; Cook $30,000; Lemieux $200,000; O’Sullivan $400,000; Gonzalez $200,000 and Fuentes $35,000.