Álvarez, Golovkin set third rivalry bout for September

FILE - Canelo Álvarez lands a punch against Gennadiy Golovkin in the 12th round during a middleweight title boxing match, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, in Las Vegas. Alvarez won by majority decision. Álvarez and Golovkin will resume their rivalry Sept. 17 after a four-year break, promoter Matchroom announced Tuesday, May 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken, File)
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By GREG BEACHAM

AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Canelo Álvarez and Gennady Golovkin will complete their memorable fight trilogy in September.

Álvarez and Golovkin will resume their rivalry Sept. 17 after a four-year break, promoters Matchroom Boxing announced Tuesday. Álvarez already said he intended to take the fight while speaking at his invitational golf tournament in Naucalpan, Mexico, on Monday.

The fighters met in 2017 and again in 2018 for two highly entertaining middleweight matchups. They fought to a split draw in the first bout, and Álvarez won a narrow majority decision in the second meeting.

The third fight will be a 168-pound super middleweight contest between the 40-year-old Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KOs) and Álvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs), who will turn 32 this summer. Álvarez is the undisputed world champion at 168 pounds, holding all four major titles.

“I feel very happy and proud to be able to give the best fights, and this fight won’t be an exception,” Álvarez said in a statement.

Álvarez announced earlier this year that he intended to fight Golovkin in the fall after taking on light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol in May. That plan was put into question after Bivol upset Álvarez by unanimous decision on May 7.

Bivol hoped to book a rematch with the biggest star in boxing after his breakthrough upset, but Álvarez ultimately decided to proceed with the most lucrative potential bout and the resumption of a remarkable rivalry.

The location for the third fight wasn’t announced, but its scheduling on Mexican Independence Day weekend makes it likely to be held in Las Vegas. The fighters’ first two meetings were on the same holiday weekend at T-Mobile Arena on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip, and both were sellouts.

The third bout is likely the richest fight currently possible in boxing, given both fighters’ large fan bases and the entertaining nature of their rivalry to date. Golovkin and his fans believe the former middleweight kingpin won both of the first two fights, while Álvarez is in need of redemption after his shocking loss to Bivol.

In the fighters’ first bout, most ringside observers thought Golovkin had done more than enough to beat Álvarez, who had previously lost only to Floyd Mayweather in his career. But while one judge favored Golovkin and another scored it a draw, judge Adalaide Byrd inexplicably called it 118–110 in favor of Álvarez, who was consistently outlanded by Golovkin throughout the bout.

Álvarez tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug clenbuterol between the first two fights, and his suspension meant the rematch was postponed from May to September. While many ringside observers again thought Golovkin had won, two judges favored the improved Álvarez 115-113, and the third scored it a draw.

Both fighters initially expressed interest in a third meeting for 2019, but the sides drifted apart while Golovkin dealt with management squabbles and Álvarez moved on to less daunting challenges. Álvarez spent 2021 collecting all four major titles at super middleweight.

Golovkin has fought only four times in four years since his loss to Álvarez, also breaking up with longtime trainer Abel Sanchez during that stretch. After he reclaimed two of his middleweight belts before the pandemic, Golovkin ended a 16-month ring absence in April by stopping Ryota Murata in Japan.

Matchroom signed Álvarez with strong plans for a third fight with Golovkin in September — and the Mexican superstar is in need of a bounce-back fight after he struggled mightily in his second career bout at light heavyweight. Bivol won 115-113 on all three scorecards in a fight that probably wasn’t that close.

“The Canelo vs. GGG trilogy is the biggest fight in boxing, and I am delighted to get this made for September 17,” Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn said. “These are two men that bitterly dislike each other and want to end this incredible series with a blistering KO. I truly believe this will be the most thrilling fight between these two great champions and it will be fireworks from the first bell to the last man standing.”