Gennady Golovkin scoffs at ‘clown’ Canelo Álvarez at contentious weigh-in

Canelo lvarez and Gennady Golovkin both made weight ahead of their hotly anticipated middleweight showdown on Saturday night in Las Vegas

Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Álvarez both made weight on Friday afternoon ahead of their much-anticipated rematch for the world middleweight championship on the Las Vegas strip.

Golovkin, who emerged first in a black Jordan Brand sweatsuit before stripping down to his underwear, was first on the scales and came in safely below the division limit at 159.6lbs. Álvarez, sporting a thin red beard and bounding up the stairs, tipped the scales at 159.4lbs in front of several thousand spectators at the T-Mobile Arena, where they will face off for the second time in 364 days on Saturday night.

Both men appeared in immaculate physical condition when they disrobed with Álvarez claiming a slight edge in crowd support. Canelo quickly invaded Golovkin’s space when they came together for the traditional staredown and briefly drove his forehead into his opponent’s, but Golovkin stood expressionless, staring right back until they were separated by a mass of humanity after about 15 seconds.

Afterward Golovkin, who’s become as adored for his broken-English bon mots as his crowd-pleasing style, scoffed at the theatrics of his opponent, preferring to place his focus on what lies ahead: namely, the defining test of his career.

“I saw he is like a clown, he is like a showman, he is not true guy,” Golovkin said. “Tomorrow you’ll see a real war. This is not fight, this is not regular fight, (this is) like special war.”

Álvarez claimed the face-off as a psychological win, saying through an interpreter: “I got excited from seeing all the fans. They motivated me to do that right now and more than anything you’re going to see, I defeated him at the weigh-in, now it’s time to defeat him on Saturday.”

He added: “I don’t like to talk. Tomorrow I will show you instead of words.”

Canelo Álvarez (left) and Gennady Golovkin face off at the weigh-in. Photograph: Joe Camporeale/USA Today Sports

Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs), the 36-year-old knockout artist from Kazakhstan known as Triple G, is defending his WBC and WBA title belts, as well as the lesser IBO title, in a scheduled 12-round bout against Álvarez, who enters as the Ring magazine and lineal middleweight champion by virtue of a career-best 2015 win over Miguel Cotto.

They met a year ago Sunday in the same building for a highly entertaining first installment that was marred only by the controversial verdict: a highly disputed split draw after a consensus at ringside believed Golovkin had done enough to win. Surely more than the scant two rounds he was awarded by ringside judge Adelaide Byrd in one of the sport’s more scandalous scorecards in recent memory.

A rematch for 5 May was agreed to almost immediately, but was scuppered after Álvarez failed a pair of Wada-administered urine screenings in February for the banned substance clenbuterol.

Álvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) claimed the the failed drug tests were a result of contaminated meat which he consumed while training in Guadalajara, but the excuse satisfied neither the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC), which slapped him with a backdated six-month suspension, nor Golovkin, who has been relentless in his branding of the 29-year-old Mexican superstar as a drugs cheat whose prominence debases the sport.

That’s lent an unmistakable tenor of bad blood to Saturday’s build-up that’s supplanted the mutual respect previously shared between two of the finest pure fighters of their generation – and done nothing to dampen excitement around the event. Fans were already queueing outside the T-Mobile Arena before 9am on Friday morning, more than six hours before the fighters emerged inside the arena, braving sweltering temperatures that exceeded 100F (38C) for nothing more than a glimpse at Álvarez and Golovkin stepping on a scale.

Both fighters will earn $5m for Saturday’s efforts according to the official purses released on Friday by the commission, though the Mexican’s greater split of the pay-per-view receipts ensures his takehome pay will be higher.

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