Replays today (Thursday) at 5:45 p.m. ET/PT on HBO2
“And now for a final word. There have been at least two noteworthy instances in modern boxing history when hugely meaningful superstar summit matches produced unsatisfying official decisions that were never resolved by rematches.
“The first was in 1987, when Sugar Ray Leonard was given one of the most fiercely debated verdicts ever over ‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler, and a disgusted Hagler retired and moved to Italy rather than to attempt to avenge the defeat. To this day he remains one of a tiny handful of fighters ever to walk away from a guaranteed eight-figure payday.
“Twelve years later fans and media were again shocked in Las Vegas when Felix Trinidad, seen by many to have one-sidedly lost the first seven rounds to Oscar de la Hoya, wound up with a majority decision win when de la Hoya tactically retreated in the last three frames. The sport’s two leading promoters, Bob Arum and Don King, could never agree on terms to bring the two together again, and what was then the largest non-heavyweight pay per view ever became a one-off.
“There were moments early this summer, after a May 5 engagement between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin was waylaid by Canelo’s positive drug tests, that it appeared Canelo-Triple G II might meet a similar fate. It took a last-second infusion of cash to satisfy the frustrated Golovkin and assure that the rematch of their controversial 2017 draw would indeed take place. All that serves to remind us that events like this are elusive and precious. Golovkin is running out of ring years. Alvarez is eight years younger, but has already had fifty two fights in a professional career that began a half year before Triple G’s.
“There is every reason to suspect we may never again see either at the physical and mental peak they are seeking heading into September 15. There is even more reason to guess we’ll never again see either against so significant an opponent. It is much more than the fight of the year. It’s the fight of a lifetime for two of the most accomplished fighters of our lifetimes. And while their first battle was a sports competition between two athletes who tended to respect and even like each other, this is a blood feud grudge match between two men who have morphed into bitter enemies. If you are a fight fan, you absolutely have to see this fight. That’s not a sales pitch. That’s just a statement of fact. Thanks for being with us on this edition of The Fight Game.”