GGG and Canelo in Chilly L.A.

LOS ANGELES-It was Los Angeles cold and several hundred fans gathered in LA Live to watch the two middleweight titans Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in person Tuesday evening.

If you are a L.A. native then any temperature below 50 represents near unbearable.

Coming from a cold country like Kazakhstan the undefeated Golovkin was more than comfortable. But Guadalajara in the winter can be much colder than L.A. too. So Canelo seemed quite at home in his black tux.

Discomfort came when the two middleweights were asked in front of the L.A. crowd if there was anything they would change from their previous encounter last September?

For Golovkin it was being unable to knock out Alvarez. For Alvarez it was not standing still and fighting Mexican style.

Both fighters seemed uncomfortable by the questions.

This coming May 5, Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) and Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) will meet again at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. After months of negotiations including where the rematch should take place, Las Vegas won again. Las Vegas always wins.

For several weeks the debate was where to stage the fight: New York or Las Vegas?

If you keep tabs on location then it’s an easy pick for Mexico’s Alvarez. Always bet on Las Vegas. Never fight in New York City where Mexican fighters rarely win a decision. When Mikey Garcia recently beat Adrien Broner last July, two of the judges in New York actually gave Broner four rounds in a fight dominated by the Mexican-American fighter. Garcia was lucky. No other fighter of Mexican descent had won by decision in many years.

That’s why this fight is returning to Las Vegas. Oh, and also the cash.

Cinco in Vegas

Although Golovkin has sold out Madison Square Garden on numerous occasions, Las Vegas on Cinco de Mayo has become synonymous as a boxing holiday. Boxing fans have built their vacations around the date including planned holidays in the Nevada gambling city months and sometimes years in advance.

New York doesn’t have Cinco de Mayo celebrations that equal Las Vegas.

The return of GGG and Canelo means everyone can pull out the Tecate beer coupons and banners. And massive car club and motorcycle caravans can now plan their routes and destinations.

One of the better Cinco de Mayo fights took place in 2006 when Oscar De La Hoya met Ricardo Mayorga at the MGM Grand. That was followed a year later when De La Hoya met Floyd Mayweather on Cinco de Mayo. Those back-to-back Cinco de Mayo battles set the table for all future Cinco de Mayo mega fights.

Now, after numerous Cinco de Mayo mega bouts including last year’s flub when Canelo stormed over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Golovkin and Alvarez return on the boxing holiday named after the famous Mexican victory against the French in the mid-1800s.

“Because of the first fight, both guys are at another level. That was a mega fight that delivered in the ring,” said Tom Loeffler who promotes Golovkin. “We believe GGG won the first fight. He’s going to turn up the pressure.”

Oscar De La Hoya, whose Golden Boy Promotions backs Alvarez, disagrees with Loeffler.

“We don’t always get rematches of this magnitude, so that’s why this fight is special,” said De La Hoya citing his inability to get Felix Trinidad back in the ring after losing to him in September 1999 as one of those rematches never made. “On May 5, we will get an explosive rematch, and I believe Canelo will knock him out.”

The Fighters

Despite the bone aching cold Golovkin seemed comfortable with the temperature but uncomfortable with the war of words between the two boxing camps.

“I’ve had a lot of time to rest. This fight will be different,” said Golovkin almost apologetically though he holds the WBC, WBA, IBF and fringe IBO middleweight titles. “I don’t make predictions, but I know I will give a big show.”

Alvarez was diplomatic with the always kind Golovkin, but witheringly cold against trainer Abel Sanchez who accused the Mexican redhead of running away.

“He can say what he wants but only a dummy stands in one place during a fight,” said Alvarez who holds the Ring Magazine lineal middleweight title. “I will do what needs to be done to win this fight.”

Cold temperatures or not, the back and forth slights heated up the night. Imagine how hot the action will be in the warmer season on Cinco de Mayo. It’s that time of the year again.

TV and Tickets

HBO pay-per-view will televise the Golovkin-Alvarez rematch. It will also be available on selected theater screens nationwide. Tickets are now on sale and start at $300 and shoot all the way up to $5,000 a ticket. For more information call (888) 929-7849.

Photo credit: Tom Hogan / Hogan Photos / GBP

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