By Martin Rogers

The most surprising thing about the rant that rocked boxing wasn’t what was said but the identity of the fighter who said it.

Until Gennady Golovkin let rip with an explosive rant last Tuesday, the two doping samples returned by Canelo Alvarez with trace amounts of the banned substance Clenbuterol seemed like no more than a hiccup on the road to the pair’s May 5 rematch.

But then Golovkin took the “lighter fluid” option and tore into his rival’s reputation, directly labelling him a long-term drug cheat and furiously claiming the Mexican has been coddled and protected by everyone from television commentators, to boxing judges, to representatives of the Nevada Athletic Commission.

To anyone who has encountered him, Golovkin is a quietly spoken man, polite, courteous, and typically averse to the brand of boxing promotion that leans upon trash-talking an opponent in the name of generating a greater degree of hype.

He is rarely a fiery interviewee, usually opting to let his fists do the talking. That changed on Tuesday, and here is how it went down.

A handful of national media outlets were invited to Golovkin’s training camp at Big Bear, Calif., where the man from Kazakhstan prepares for combat under the tutelage of trainer Abel Sanchez.

The press group spoke to promoter Tom Loeffler over lunch and then Sanchez, whose own impassioned stance on Alvarez’s doping sample was somewhat lost because of what came later.

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Sanchez reminded reporters that Alvarez’s trainers, Eddy and Chepo Reynoso, were originally butchers by trade, and indicated that if anyone should be ideally qualified to avoid contaminated meat – the basis of Alvarez’s defense – it should be them.

And then…it was the turn of GGG.

Golovkin knew what was coming, and he was ready for it. Given that the fight was still nearly six weeks away and the news that had emerged, it was inevitable that the doping tests would form the basis of most of the questions put his way.

The responses were as emphatic as any of the 33 knockouts he has produced in his pro career.

He started by rubbishing the claim about Mexican meat. “This is Canelo,” GGG said. “Canelo is cheating.”

He insisted Alvarez had doped before the first fight, saying his arms carried “traces of injections” and that his body had changed dramatically over the years. “I have known for a long time,” he said.

He insinuated Golden Boy Promotions chief Oscar De La Hoya – “he’s dirty” – was also a cheat, and finished off by claiming the commission were “terrorists” who can be blamed for “killing the sport” and should be “in prison.”

Golovkin was given multiple opportunities to clarify, qualify or amend his words, and on each occasion he backed them up and left no doubt of his true opinion, sometimes even strengthening his stance.

Which leaves a single certainty, amid some doubt as to what could happen when the commission hears Alvarez’s case on Apr. 10 and decides whether the fight will go ahead or not. Given what all parties, Golovkin included, stand to gain from it proceeding, the strong likelihood is that it does place.

Yet the certainty is that Golovkin hasn’t suddenly whimsically decided to turn into his own biggest publicist. He hasn’t taken a considered look at the situation and realized that ramping up the vitriol is a great way to ensure some extra pay-per-view buys.

No, Golovkin believes what he said, however wild and inflammatory the comments. It must be pointed out here that Alvarez has been tested more frequently than any modern fighter except Floyd Mayweather, yet has never previously failed a test. Golovkin doesn’t care. A single look in his eyes is enough to tell that he feels slighted, and that he believes every word – whether it turns out to be true or not.

It could be Sanchez getting inside Golovkin’s head in an attempt to fire his spirit and generate more concerted offense. Perhaps the sting of last September’s controversial decision, in a fight Golovkin was certain he had won, lingers still.

Regardless of how his mindset developed, Golovkin is seething with anger. He doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. He has it in his mind that the rematch offers him a chance to confer physical retribution on a cheater.

If that level of aggression transfers itself to the ring, the contest shapes up as a thrilling spectacle. Provided, of course, it goes ahead.