By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – In an atmosphere befitting the biggest boxing match of the year in the United States, Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin finally faced off Friday afternoon.
Before Friday, the middleweight rivals hadn’t come face-to-face since a press conference nearly seven months ago in Los Angeles. Once they weighed in at T-Mobile Arena, Alvarez and Golovkin didn’t go forehead-to-forehead long because their trainers and others stepped in to separate them.
Golovkin called Alvarez “a clown” when he was interviewed following that scuffle.
For Golovkin, it was a face-off he sought since their rematch was rescheduled for Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena. The WBA/WBC/IBO middleweight champion claimed Alvarez couldn’t look him in the eye because Alvarez feels guilty about failing two performance-enhancing drug tests in February for clenbuterol.
That controversy, which led to Alvarez’s six-month suspension and the cancelation of their May 5 fight, has generated even more interest in their rematch than the 12-round fight that resulted in a dubious draw last September 16 at T-Mobile Arena.
Kazakhstan’s Golovkin, 36, and Mexico’s Alvarez, 28, each made weight for that highly anticipated fight Friday.
Golovkin got on the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s scale at 159½ pounds. Alvarez officially weighed 159¼ pounds.
The unbeaten Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs) is a slight favorite over Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) entering the main event of an HBO Pay-Per-View broadcast. That four-fight show will start at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and costs $84.99 to watch in HD.
The six other fighters that’ll appear in HBO Pay-Per-View bouts Saturday night also made weight Friday.
Mexico’s Jaime Munguia (30-0, 25 KOs) weighed in at the division limit of 154 pounds for his 12-round WBO junior middleweight title defense against Brandon Cook (20-1, 13 KOs). Cook, of Ajax, Ontario, Canada, officially weighed 153¼ pounds.
Montreal’s David Lemieux (39-4, 33 KOs) came in at the limit of 160 pounds for his 12-round WBA middleweight elimination match versus Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (28-2, 20 KOs). Ireland’s O’Sullivan weighed 159¼ pounds.
Promoter Oscar De La Hoya had to step in between Lemieux and O’Sullivan once O’Sullivan moved into his bareknuckle fighting stance as they stood face to face. Lemieux smacked down O’Sullivan’s right hand as O’Sullivan moved it toward his face.
The opener of HBO’s broadcast will feature former pound-for-pound king Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez in a 10-round super flyweight fight against Mexico’s Moises Fuentes.
Nicaragua’s Gonzalez (46-2, 38 KOs) weighed 114½ pounds for his first fight in more than a year. Fuentes (25-5-1, 14 KOs), an ex-champion in two divisions, stepped on the NSAC’s scale at 116 pounds.
The 31-year-old Gonzalez, a former champion in four weight classes, hasn’t fought since Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (46-4-1, 41 KOs) knocked him out in the fourth round of their immediate rematch last September 9 at StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.