Now that the massively hyped Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight is in the books and the circus has left town, boxing fans can turn their attention to the real fight: Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin.
Mayweather came out of retirement at age 40 and easily dispatched McGregor, a UFC champion, who was crossing over to boxing to make his pro debut, via 10th-round knockout on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The fight intrigued millions because of the novelty of an all-time great boxer, Mayweather, taking on one of the best mixed martial artists, McGregor.
But Alvarez-Golovkin is a different story. There is no novelty. It is a serious fight between two of the world's elite pound-for-pound boxers, for the unified and lineal middleweight world championship in a match most expect to be highly competitive and filled with action.
They meet on Sept. 16 (HBO PPV, 8 p.m.) in the same T-Mobile Arena where Mayweather beat McGregor, but the fight has been largely overshadowed since June by the specter of Mayweather-McGregor. With that fight out of the way, promoters Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions and Tom Loeffler of GGG Promotions got cracking on Monday.
They have three weeks to rev the promotion into high gear, and it began with Alvarez and Golovkin conducting open workouts before a crowd of more than 1,000 fans outdoors at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles, where the promoters ripped the Mayweather-McGregor fight as a sideshow and the boxers talked about the anticipation of their bout.
De La Hoya, who lost a decision to Mayweather in 2007 and has had an ongoing feud with him, said he didn't watch Saturday's fight, which he relentlessly criticized from the moment it was announced.
"I just thought it was a fraud, and I still think it's a fraud,'' De La Hoya said.
Said Loeffler, "We were all pretty convinced that Floyd would win. We were just hoping that it wouldn't be a disaster where people were going to say, 'We're never going to buy another pay-per-view.'"
Mayweather-McGregor turned out to be an entertaining bout, and now De La Hoya and Loeffler are hoping that those who enjoyed Saturday's spectacle will also be moved to buy their event, which figures to be much more competitive.
"I'm glad that so many people bought the fight so they can see what boxing is all about, and what boxing is all about is Sept. 16th with Canelo and Triple G,'' De La Hoya said.
Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) and unified 160-pound champion Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) said they are ready to give the fans an exciting, high-level fight, one that has been anticipated for more than a year. Alvarez's only defeat came by decision to Mayweather in a 2013 junior middleweight world title fight.
"I know what I have in front of me," Alvarez said. "I know he's a strong fighter. He is the most dangerous opponent of my career, but I'm ready for him and what's next to come. That's why we prepared, and to give the fans a beautiful fight. This fight's for you; this fight's for all the fans who have been asking for it. We know that in fights, it takes two to tango. I'm ready, and you know what you'll get from me. Let's just hope he brings it as well."
Alvarez, 27, of Mexico, is coming off a shutout decision of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in their all-Mexican showdown that was fought at a catchweight of 164 pounds. Now Alvarez will face Golovkin at the middleweight limit of 160 pounds. Although Alvarez has held a middleweight title, those title fights were contracted at 155 pounds. The fight with Golovkin, which is on Mexican Independence Day weekend, will be Alvarez's first at 160.
"I'm excited and happy that the fight is almost here," Alvarez said. "I've been focused like always with my training this camp. I'm gonna do and use whatever I need to be one step ahead of Gennady in the ring. Without a doubt, our fight on Sept. 16 will be one of the great fights in the history of boxing. Golovkin will bring out the best in me."
Golovkin, a 35-year-old Kazakhstan native fighting out of Santa Monica, California, had his 23-fight knockout streak ended on March 18 when he won a close unanimous decision over Daniel Jacobs to retain the title. Golovkin is seeking to make his 19th title defense against Alvarez. A victory would move him within one of tying the great Bernard Hopkins' division record of 20 consecutive title defenses.
"This is a fight boxing can be proud of," Golovkin said. "It is boxing's biggest fight. It is a fight for history. It is a real Mexican fight. Everyone will remember this fight. Canelo is No. 1 in Mexico, a country known for great fighters. He is very special.
"Canelo has looked good and looked strong in his last few fights. That is why we have worked so hard in training camp. We have worked on new things. This is my biggest fight. I worked hard to become champion of the world. I worked hard with (trainer) Abel (Sanchez) to stay champion of the world.
"This is our Mexican Independence Day holiday weekend gift to boxing and to boxing fans. The fans have been asking for this fight for years. We are going to give a great battle. I am very excited to be finally fighting in Las Vegas, but I am more excited that it is against Canelo. The energy will be off the charts. Let me repeat -- this is a fight boxing can be proud of."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.