They were born eight years apart into polar opposite worlds, 7,559 miles away from one another on different sides of the planet.
But come Saturday night in Las Vegas the two boxers in question will be separated by less than the width of the tape that’s strapped around their gloves.
— #CaneloGGG (@GoldenBoyBoxing) September 15, 2017
The gap in skill level is miniscule, maybe even non-existent.
Yes fight fans; Gennady Golovkin v Canelo Alvarez is the finest 50-50 match up I’ve seen between two truly elite boxers since Marvin Hagler and Tommy Hearns unleashed their fury in an epic three-rounder way back in 1985.
On paper this has to be the fight of the century so far.
The fact no one seems to know or care how much either middleweight superstar is earning from an encounter that will see the IBF, WBC and WBA belts on the line, tells its own story.
There’s no need to talk figures. There’s no need to hype this up. There’s no need to worry about how many people have signed up to watch it on pay-per-view.
It’s all about the fight, and boxing fans the world over expect this bout to do all the talking.
If you go in the ocean, the shark knows. He’s home. It’s the same for me in the ring … Let’s do it. pic.twitter.com/usAsGodGe4
— Gennady Golovkin (@GGGBoxing) September 14, 2017
Their clash of styles intrigues me.
Golovkin, 35, is an iron-fisted come-forward fighter that jabs as hard as most champions hook.
Mexican hero Canelo, is a skillful counter-puncher that possesses a cast-iron defense.
The Kazakh star hits hardest. A record of 33 KO’s in 37 pro fights makes for menacing reading.
Yet his relentless approach does leave him open to shots.
Kell Brook caught him with some gems at the O2 Arena – as have others in the past – but in 11 years as a pro, GGG’s granite barely human chin means he’s never had to take a single count from the referee.
Canelo, as Amir Khan will testify, can bang pretty hard too, but only 34 of his 51 bouts have ended prematurely.
There’s less venom but perhaps slightly more range and finesse within his armory, especially on the inside where the Latino’s rib-crunching body shots could be a factor in the later rounds.
And having comfortably retained his handsome looks this long, there’s a school of thought that suggests Canelo will repel Golovkin’s punches easier than anyone else has managed.
I couldn’t back either man with complete certainty, but I do know you’ll get your money’s worth.
All three outcomes are possible.
There’s an old but tired boxing cliché that says; if in doubt, a good young’un beats a good old’un.
I get that, and when I check out the men Canelo has triumphed against I’d say his back catalogue contains better scalps too.
But how can I back against a Kazakh machine that’s never hit the deck, or come close to looking like he was going to be beaten?
Canelo does know what defeat feels like, losing more comfortably than the scorecards suggested at the hands of Floyd Mayweather four years ago.
It was a loss that improved him, but his aura of invincibility will never return.
At 35, and a slide inevitably not too far around the corner, this colossal clash may have come just in the nick of time for GGG. He had to take this fight right now.
And my hunch is that he will edge this over 12 pulsating, war-like rounds.
— Canelo Alvarez (@Canelo) September 9, 2017
Golvkin’s incredible work rate, coupled with the thudding damage of those heavy punches, will surely wear Canelo down.
What would happen if they arrange a rematch in 2018? Then, I’d probably lean towards the Mexican making it one apiece.
They’re that closely matched, and for Golovkin, the timing of this ‘big drama show’ is that important.
Predictions for GGG V Alvarez:
Billy Joe to face the winner?
The Copper Box in Hackney Wick is quite literally thousands of miles away from the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, but for Billy Joe Saunders, his WBO world title clash with Willie Monroe Jnr is just as important as the weekend’s main event.
If he retains the belt, and Golovkin does the business later that night, I’d expect a unification fight in between a rematch between the big guns.
In terms of boxing skills, I’d back the English southpaw to dominate the American challenger, who was KO’d by Golovkin inside seven rounds.
Saunders, 28, is an awkward southpaw that seems to cast spells over his opponents, but three fights in three years mean inactivity is potentially as dangerous as Monroe.
Backing the hometown favourite to win on points still seems sensible, but if rustiness catches up with Saunders, this could be a closer-run affair than it should be.