Why Golovkin vs. Alvarez trumps 'fake' Mayweather vs. McGregor

Gennady Golovkin and Saul Canelo Alvarez meet in Las Vegas on September 16 in a fight that belongs in any location and in any decade in boxing history.

The pair launched their campaign in London on Monday against the bewildering backdrop of the carnival meeting between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor, which is arguably boxing's greatest modern spectacle.

This is the real fight, a fight for proper fans between the idol of all Mexico and the unbeaten lord of Kazakhstan. They have each ruled their divisions, wrecked so many opponents in so many high-profile nights. They fight over the 12 round championship distance for the middleweight belts and the pound-for-pound crown. They also fight because it was demanded and they enjoy it.

McGregor and Mayweather fight in Las Vegas 21 days earlier and there will be laughs, fake fury, fur coats and mayhem during the hard-sell events before round one, but nobody in the boxing business thinks this will be a fight; everybody in the boxing business, both casual and professional, knows Alvarez and Golovkin will be a real fight and possibly a truly great fight.

The inconvenient truth is that the circus event, which is tremendous fun, will generate a lot more money and in boxing that figure has too often been interpreted as success.

The Canelo-Golovkin fight has a stunning blend of styles and the two men both started down the long, hazardous and bloody road to the Las Vegas ring when they were children, unrecognisable boys of 13 and 14. "I have tapes of all my fights," Alvarez told me, his eyes suddenly sparkling. Alvarez was a professional at 15, a veteran of 21 fights by the time he was 18.

Far away in ancient tournaments in the relics of the collapsed Soviet Union there was an equally demanding schedule for Golovkin. He fought 350 times or more in the shorter amateur system but he was also still only a boy when he was an Olympic, World championship and Asian championship finalist. They each served the harshest of apprenticeships, a life in the ring that inevitably led to September's fight. There are no gimmicks and empty boasts in the world of Golovkin and Alvarez.

"This is the best middleweight fight that can be made, the best fight that can be made and it will be one of the great fights in history," said Oscar De La Hoya, Canelo's promoter. "They both know how special the winner will have to be -- that is what makes it so different."

Last week De La Hoya was quick to dismiss the Mayweather and McGregor fight and he arrived in London equally boisterous. "This is the real fight, that will not be a fight, no chance -- Floyd is going to run and Conor has never been more than five rounds and he has never had one fight as a professional. That is not a fight, never."

There appears to be, certainly in the boxing business, just the one harsh prediction surrounding the August fight between Mayweather and McGregor and that is in glorious contrast to the seemingly infinite variety of predictions surrounding the Canelo and Golovkin fight. All great fights must have a mix of uncertainty, crazy conviction and endless unknowns attached before the opening bell: Golovkin against Alvarez is dividing opinion nicely. Nobody thinks Mayweather will lose and most in the game think he will not lose a round.

Often the great fights become so over time when the ever important numbers become less of a factor and any supposedly more popular fights have faded from meaningful memory. Golovkin against Alvarez is the year's best fight, a genuine meeting for the ages and the other summer spectacle is the one where the merchandise will be piling up in the gift shop.

Golovkin vs. Alvarez will be shown on BoxNation.