Stars, bigger stars, and superstars of the sport have walked away having only had two fights when almost everyone was calling for that third fight; the ‘deciding’ fight. Welterweight greats, later super-middleweight veterans, Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas “Hitman” Hearns left their special rivalry alone after two fights: Sugar winning fight-one, Hitman getting a draw almost everyone felt he should have won in fight-two.
In the UK, bitter middleweight/super-middleweight rivals Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank also left it alone after just two fights – a stoppage win for Eubank followed by a debatable draw – when there was money, interest, and a whole load of grudge to settle in a third rumble. And in lesser-celebrated boxing rivalries, champions such as Marlon Starling and Mark Breland also fought each other no more after two bouts: a stoppage win for Starling followed by a draw.
Which brings us to middleweight rivals Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez (GGG’s name goes first because, as the late, great Bert Sugar always said: the winner goes first) – will these two also walk away having boxed just two fights? We are all asking for, calling for, demanding – that third fight; that ‘deciding’ fight. It can’t end like this, surely. Not at one draw (hugely controversial; almost everyone screaming how GGG had in fact win and won quite clearly) and one win, for Canelo (the rematch, an even greater fight, and also one not as many people were crying about at the end – the decision going to Canelo being approved by many).
We need that third fight. But what if we don’t get it? If GGG does not follow Canelo to the DAZN network, might the fight fail to take place? What if Canelo stays at 168 after his move there in December? If GGG doesn’t go up himself, will the third fight be in serious jeopardy?
It could happen, as in it might not happen. No GGG-Canelo III. Hey, the sport will survive if this is how things turn out. In time we fans will move on and find another savage and intense rivalry to buy into. Greats and near-greats from previous years wound it in after just two fights against their biggest and best rival, maybe GGG and Canelo will do the same.
It would be a shame, but not one we would fail to get over. Right now we await the result of Canelo’s (widely perceived easy win) fight with Rocky Fielding and we await news of GGG’s next fight. But if these two do go separate ways, and win a number of big fights as they do so – who will be remembered as the better fighter?
Maybe, without a third fight, this one will come down to passionate fan opinion and nothing more.