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Golovkin v Alvarez: Las Vegas sees doping, records and judges' scoring under scrutiny
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Golovkin v Alvarez: Las Vegas sees doping, records and judges’ scoring under scrutiny


Gennady Golovkin v Saul Alvarez
Venue: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas Date: Saturday 15 September
Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 live, live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Gennady Golovkin’s rematch with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez has been called the “fight of the century”, one that will be “remembered for the ages” and “the biggest in the sport of boxing”.

Big billing, even by boxing standards.

The T-Mobile Arena bout in Las Vegas in the early hours of Sunday morning in the UK – 364 days after their controversial draw at the same venue – gives Alvarez a first chance to perform following a drugs ban. Golovkin, meanwhile, can set a record 21 world-title defences in the middleweight division if he retains his WBC and WBA belts.

The venue is sold out – Mexican support will descend on the Nevada desert venue to cheer on Alvarez on what is the nation’s independence celebrations weekend.

And the fighters – who boast 68 knockouts between them – have a dislike for one another, with Golovkin irked by his rival’s two positive tests for clenbuterol.

“If you are a real guy, a real fan, you want clean sport,” WBA and WBC world middleweight champion Golovkin told BBC Sport.

‘Swindlers, legends and Billy Joe Saunders’

In the weeks leading up to the rematch, Kazakhstan’s Golovkin has said he has “no respect” for Alvarez or his team after they blamed February’s positive drugs tests on the fighter ingesting clenbuterol by eating contaminated meat in his homeland.

“The people who support him and stand by him are swindlers, just like him,” he told film crews who were following his build-up to the bout.

Relations between the two camps strained to the point where earlier this year a one-hour deadline was imposed on negotiations before – in the words of promoter Eric Gomez – the rematch was “dead”.

But to beat Bernard Hopkins’ record of 20 straight middleweight world title defences, Golovkin now gets a second shot at Alvarez, a man who turned professional aged 15 and who has held world titles at two weights in a 52-fight career.

“I know so many great fighters, legends, heroes in this sport that if I beat Hopkins’ record I stand maybe one step closer to being a legend and that is huge for me,” added Golovkin.

And Golovkin, who many observers believed won the first bout before controversial scorecards were read, is setting his eyes on other goals, notably Britain’s Billy Joe Saunders, who holds the WBO world middleweight title.

“If I beat Canelo I want that fight, as my goal is all the belts,” he told BBC Sport. “I am old school, not four or five champions, just one champion.”

BBC Radio 5 live boxing commentator Mike Costello says he cannot call the fight

‘Same muscles, same speed, same everything’ – Canelo

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman feels Saturday’s contest is the “fight of the century” and one that “will be remembered for the ages”. Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler labels it the “biggest in the sport of boxing”.

While boxing is no stranger to the odd inflated comment in the spirit of selling a fight, it could be said the controversial scoring of a year ago and the subsequent doping issue overshadowed what had been a captivating contest between two of the finest practitioners across the weight divisions.

Canelo, who has only ever lost to Floyd Mayweather, showed the patience and strength of nerve to box on the back foot, bravely welcoming and absorbing attacks from a stunningly ferocious puncher sporting 34 knockouts from 39 bouts.

Golovkin’s power has been measured by broadcaster ESPN