LAS VEGAS – Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin stepped on the scales at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and then came face-to-face for the cameras on Friday, one day before they meet in one of the most anticipated fights in years.
Three-belt Champion Golovkin wore black shorts and smiled as he stepped on the scale first weighing the 160-pound (72.5kg) middleweight limit for Saturday’s world title fight against Alvarez at the T-Mobile Arena.
Alvarez was up next, climbing on to the scales in his blue shorts and registering the same 160 pounds for a bout that has all the ingredients to produce a fight of the year.
“I am very happy for all the love and support of these fans,” Alvarez told the crowd. “I am going to give them 100 percent. I trained hard and I am disciplined.
“I take all this responsibility seriously, and I am going to give them a great fight.”
Kazakhstan’s Golovkin is putting his World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation, belts on the line, but to the uninitiated, it might have seemed more like Alvarez was the champ.
Alvarez drew louder cheers from the pro-Mexican crowd, stepped on the scale last and made Golovkin wait several minutes on stage before making his initial appearance, which was preceded by a video tribute on the jumbotron screen.
The fighters, who once sparred together at Golovkin’s gym in Big Bear, California, then posed amicably during their staredown in front of a crowd of 9 400.
That has been consistent with the build-up to the sold-out fight, which has lacked the vitriolic trash talk typical of world title fights.
“See you tomorrow. I have been champion a long time. This is boxing and I am a very true guy,” said Golovkin, who goes by the nickname ‘Triple G’ on Friday.
Alvarez, who was the more stone-faced of the two, sent the crowd into a frenzy as he shadowboxed briefly at the front of the stage – his new signature weigh-in move.
Hundreds of people stood on line for hours outside the Grand Garden for the chance to see the weigh-in, chanting and signing along with a neatly-attired Mariachi band.
For many, it represented their only hope of seeing either fighter in the flesh as the bout has been sold out for weeks.
Las Vegas construction worker Harvey Hernandez attended the weigh-in with his friend Roger Ramirez and said Alvarez has a better boxing style.
“I am picking Canelo,” the 26-year-old said. “He is better than Triple G. He is going to outclass him and he is from Mexico.
“It won’t go the distance. He is going to get knocked out or he will knock Golovkin out.”
Said El-Tahan flew all the way from Sweden to watch the fight, and says Golovkin must avoid having the decision in the hands of the judges.
“Golovkin will win,” said the Malmo police officer. “He is a great fighter and a strong puncher.
“It won’t go 12 rounds, so he must finish him off. If it goes to the judges, Golovkin won’t get a fair decision.”
Phoenix’s Lorenzo Ventura, 29, said he put a lot of thought into who will win Saturday’s bout, which many feel could be the start of the latest boxing trilogy.
“Canelo is going to tire out around the fifth or sixth round,” said Ventura, a part-time boxer, as he headed to his seat in the Garden arena. “Triple G is going to establish his jab and is going to finish him in the 11th round.
“When you study both fighters and you see Canelo consistently tire out in the fifth or sixth round fighting smaller men, and now he is going to come up in weight class and knock out the most dangerous fighter in that weight class.
“The dude (Golovkin) has proven himself over and over again. Jabs win fights. Golovkin lands more jabs accurately than any other fighter in the game. It is that simple.”