NEW YORK – A split draw in the first fight and then a majority decision in favor of Canelo Álvarez in the second.
So, how about a knockout in the third chapter to settle once and for all the fierce rivalry between the Mexican superstar and Gennady Golovkin?
“From the first round I’m gonna go for the knockout. I know I’m gonna risk a lot,” Álvarez said Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press. “I have to. I aim at greatness.”
Golovkin bets on Álvarez being vulnerable as they complete their trilogy on Sept. 17 in Las Vegas.
“Prefer not to think about knockdowns. That's not the right approach,” he told the AP. “Boxing is a dangerous sport. Defend yourself properly,"
Álvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs) is coming off his first loss in nearly nine years, a lopsided defeat when he moved up in weight to challenge light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol in May.
Golovkin, who will be fighting at 168 pounds for the first time, said he only watched the highlights from Bivol's win, but believes Álvarez just wasn't totally ready to fight at 175 pounds.
“I saw Canelo didn't show the best of him," Golovkin said. “Probably he didn’t take that fight seriously, didn’t prepare mentally for that fight. This one would be different."
Álvarez acknowledges the loss “hurt me a lot." He also he said his preparation was not ideal, but avoided getting into details of what tired him in the later rounds.
“I have to move forward. I’m more dangerous right now. I'm more angry and I will use it in my favor,” he said
And there's all the animosity they keep since their first bout in September 2017.
It was on display during intense staredowns in Los Angeles and New York the past week — including one in Yankee Stadium, where they threw out ceremonial first pitches.
For Álvarez, this fight is “personal” for him because Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KOs) kept dismissing him while seeking a third matchup after their September 2018 bout.
Golovkin also threw shade at Álvarez for his golf hobby, which some blamed for his defeat in May.
“When you lose, everybody starts making excuses," Álvarez said. "It’s because of this or if I am golfing too much. I was golfing when I won the (super middleweight) title three years ago.”
Now, he wants to knock out the 40-year-old from Kazakhstan for the first time and send him into retirement.
“I’m gonna end his career," he said.
Golovkin has reacted dismissively, saying Álvarez postures too much.
“It’s hard for me to say why he’s saying all that," he said. “I don’t think about him, I forgot about him. He has lost track of reality.”
What motivates him is completing the trilogy, joining other ones such as Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier or Sugar Ray Leonard vs Roberto Durán.
“Even rematches are not happening all the time. It would be an historic event," Golovkin said.
More AP boxing: https://apnews.com/hub/boxing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports