LAS VEGAS – There they sat Thursday, several feet apart, yet so close to the night they’ll finally be able to put hands on one another again.

After more twists and turns than anyone can remember, Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin were just two days away from the high-profile fight that should’ve happened three years ago.

“I’m very happy to be here again,” Golovkin said during their final press conference at MGM Grand’s KA Theatre. “Like, OK, like last time, four years ago, like a long time. Finally. Finally, right now, Saturday night. I think this is the biggest day for boxing right now, you know, biggest gift for you, for fans, guys.”

The four-year wait since his rival beat him by majority decision in their rematch will have been well worthwhile for Kazakhstan’s Golovkin.

The longtime middleweight champion will get his coveted chance to avenge the only loss of his 16-year professional career. Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KOs) also will earn a guarantee of at least $20 million for facing Alvarez a third time.

Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs) has been guaranteed more than twice as much as Golovkin, a purse believed to be $45 million, despite that the Mexican superstar suffered a one-sided decision defeat to unbeaten WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol in his last fight. The four-division champion commanded that type of payday because Mexico’s Alvarez remains the most bankable boxing star in the United States.

Their star power, particularly together, is undeniable. They have created perhaps boxing’s most revered rivalry of the 21st century – at the very least comparable to the likes of Pacquiao-Marquez and Barrera-Morales.

Their promotional problem, unfortunately for DAZN and Matchroom Boxing, is that the four years that have passed between their second and third fights eliminated the momentum they built while engaging in two compelling, competitive middleweight title fights over a 12-month span in 2017 and 2018.

The quintessential question both for fans, who now must pay $85 to watch it, and DAZN, which committed roughly $65 million in guarantees to Alvarez and Golovkin, is will Canelo-Golovkin III be worth the wait?

Fans figure to get their money’s worth in that Alvarez and Golovkin likely will produce another fan-friendly fight. Even at 40, Golovkin’s granite chin, power and stiff jab should enable him to at least remain competitive with a significantly younger, strong counterpuncher whose iron chin is also among his best attributes.

You have to wonder, however, how many of the fans that bought their first two pay-per-view fights, more than a million of them in each instance, will plunk down another $85 to see Alvarez and Golovkin go at it again, especially if they’re convinced Golovkin is too old to truly test Alvarez at this point. Then again, if the long line of fans that extended through the inside of MGM Grand on Thursday for free admission to their press conference is an accurate indication, maybe more customers than skeptics suspect will buy this third Alvarez-Golovkin fight.

There is a faction of fans, though, that refuse to support DAZN’s pay-per-view model because they were promised elite-level fights for the price of their monthly subscription when the streaming service launched four years ago.

Had Alvarez and Golovkin fought a third time in 2019, fans in the United States could’ve watched it on DAZN for their $9.99 monthly subscription fee. Three years later, it’ll cost them more than eight times as much to see it because DAZN’s executives eventually conceded that even deep-pocketed corporations cannot commit this much money in guarantees and recoup it without using the pay-per-view platform.

As for DAZN, it is finally putting on the fight it banked on all along.

“Listen, there are fights and there are megafights,” Joe Markowski, DAZN’s executive vice president, said during the press conference. “The magnitude of this fight, I think everyone in this arena today understands. For DAZN, [it’s] the fight we’ve been trying to make for four years. Our story in the U.S. is wrapped up in this fight.”

Canelo-Golovkin III was one of its primary marketing tools when this ambitious company disrupted boxing’s marketplace by lavishly overspending for fighters and fights in its infancy. DAZN has embraced more sensible spending practices over the past couple years, yet that didn’t prevent its owner, Ukrainian billionaire Len Blavatnik, from approving the enormous sums of money it took to get Alvarez in the ring with Golovkin again.

The prevailing opinion among the boxing industry’s insiders is that this third fight will have to produce at least close to one million pay-per-view buys for DAZN to break even. And that’s probably only if ticket revenue comes close to the gate receipts from their fights in September 2017 (more than $27 milllion) and September 2018 (more than $23 million).

Ticket sales were somewhat sluggish leading into this fight week, in part due to such high price points. Promoter Eddie Hearn is still hopeful that the event will sell out T-Mobile Arena, which probably would’ve been a foregone conclusion had they fought either in September 2019.

Alvarez defeated Daniel Jacobs in May 2019, just before he moved up two weight classes and viciously knocked out Sergey Kovalev to win the WBO light heavyweight title nearly six months later. The Guadalajara native later became boxing’s fully unified super middleweight champion.

Golovkin, however, has fought just four times in the four years since Alvarez edged him in their rematch and has had some troublesome moments while working with DAZN, which signed him to a lucrative six-fight contract in March 2019.

Some frustrated fight fans feel Alvarez simply waited for Golovkin to get old before agreeing to this third meeting. Alvarez insists he was ready to fight Golovkin for the third time long before now, a contention Golovkin dismissed this week.

Regardless, they’re finally here now, right back on Mexican Independence Day weekend, just like their first two fights. Soon enough, fans and DAZN’s decision-makers will finally learn whether Canelo-Golovkin III was worth the wait.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.