LAS VEGAS – Canelo Alvarez did not detect any slippage in Gennadiy Golovkin during their last fight.
Golovkin got off to a very slow start against Ryota Murata, who pounded the IBF/IBO/WBA middleweight champion with numerous flush shots during the first four rounds of their 160-pound championship bout on April 9 in Saitama. , Japan. The Kazakhstan native returned in his first fight in nearly 17 months to drop and stop Murata in the ninth round of a fight Golovkin won via TKO at Saitama Arena.
According to Álvarez, Golovkin, 40, looked like himself, not an old wrestler. Alvarez discussed Golovkin’s most recent performance with a small group of reporters Tuesday at the MGM Grand following his “big arrivals” for their third matchup Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.
“He did a very good job,” Alvarez said. “He is the same fighter. He is strong. He takes hits. He hits hard. So, he is the same fighter.”
Judges Robert Hoyle (79-73), Glenn Feldman (78-74) and Alex Levin (77-75) had Golovkin face Murata in eight rounds of action five months ago. Referee Luis Pabón stopped their fight at 2:11 of the ninth round because Murata’s trainer threw in the towel just as he was starting to count after the aforementioned knockdown.
Japan’s Murata (16-3, 13 KOs), who lost his WBA title to Golovkin, was stopped inside the distance for the first time as a professional. He exposed some of Golovkin’s defensive flaws and landed several hard shots to the head and body, but Alvarez believes Golovkin was not distrustful of his opponent’s power once he tested it early in his 12-round schedule.
“I think he got hit a lot because Murata doesn’t hit that hard,” Alvarez said. “That’s why he says, ‘OK.’ That is what I think. I dont know.”
Golovkin will obviously be aware of Alvarez’s power because they have spent 24 hard-fought rounds together in the ring and he knows the Mexican icon can be broken. He will try to avenge his only professional loss: a 12-round majority decision loss to Alvarez in September 2018 at T-Mobile Arena.
Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs), who is eight years younger than Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KOs), is listed as at least a 5-1 favorite by most sportsbooks to defeat his rival in his long-awaited third fight. They will fight for Alvarez’s IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO super middleweight titles in a 12-round main event that will be distributed by DAZN priced at $64.99 for subscribers and $84.99 for non-subscribers.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.