What happens if Steve Rolls beats Gennadiy Golovkin?

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Gennadiy Golovkin is fighting to stay relevant on Saturday night. Since losing to arch-rival, Canelo Alvarez, last September, the Kazakh superstar has endured a number of changes to his make-up — with the most significant being the addition of Jonathan Banks to his training team after long-time coach, Abel Sanchez, was sensationally relieved of his duties. Golovkin has remained inactive since his only career setback, but that can’t be said of his nemesis, as Alvarez has added to his legacy in an impressive manner.

After defeating Golovkin in Las Vegas, Alvarez head east to New York City, and he easily relieved Rocky Fielding of his world title at 168 pounds. Following that, it was back to the familiar surroundings of the Nevada desert to take on Daniel Jacobs at middleweight. Alvarez won the fight, enhancing his legacy in one of boxing’s traditionally great divisions.

Golovkin and Canelo were once recognized as equals, but if the former is to reach that platform again then he has to start winning again and that journey begins on Saturday against Steve Rolls in a fight that Golovkin simply has to win for the sake of the middleweight league.

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Without Alvarez and Golovkin, 160 pounds would’ve been a barren landscape in recent years, and if Rolls is to administer a second consecutive defeat on “GGG,” then a middleweight super fight could be a long way off. There are talented fighters in the division, no doubt, but fighters of the caliber of Golovkin and Alvarez are hard to come by. If one of their stock takes a massive dip then it’s likely that the other will look elsewhere to capture the type of dramatic magnitude that their respective careers have become accustomed to.

If Rolls can somehow beat Golovkin, then it might seal the end of Alvarez’s reign at middleweight in addition to the end of Golovkin’s career. Fighters like Demetrius Andrade and Jermall Charlo are excellent boxers, but their lack of mainstream appeal coupled with the familiar politics that hamper fights probably makes each potential fight a non-starter. Alvarez has tested the water in the division above, and with Callum Smith fast making a name for himself there, that could be one direction Mexico’s darling heads in as he looks to enhance his legacy.

A middleweight division without either Canelo or GGG is a hard scenario to envision because of the popularity and triumphs that both have enjoyed there in recent years. Alvarez’s win over fellow great, Miguel Cotto, cemented his status as the No. 1 fighter in the weight category, and that, combined with Golovkin’s brutal and disturbing rise through a field of brave contenders, had fight fans salivating.

The middleweight league, the home of Carlos Monzon, Marvin Hagler, and Bernard Hopkins, was once again relevant, and in 2017, the two juggernauts crashed head-on as they delivered a classic fight fitting of the participants who walked this path before them.

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A controversial draw, when many felt Golovkin, won, kept the intense rivalry alive, and when Alvarez won the rematch one year later in a close contest that had the audience split, there still remained some doubt on just who the better man is.

For the boxing world to see a trilogy, Golovkin has to do an impressive job on Rolls and prove that scars from the Alvarez loss have fully healed. Anything less might hammer the final nail into the Golovkin-Alvarez saga, and boxing’s middleweight division, second only to heavyweight in terms of history and honor, will be searching frantically for new characters.

Written by Chris Walker

 

 

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