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Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin Q&A: Last time there was respect but now there’s trash talk

There were sparks at the weigh in and the war of words between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin has given their second fight a far different feel to the first.

Originally planning to meet for the second fight in May, Canelo’s failed drugs test pushed it back to Saturday, September 15, when fans hope they will finally get the answer as to who is the king of the middleweight division. 

Sportsmail’s Daniel Matthews looks at what has happened since the first contest concluded, what is on the line and who is the fancied favourite for Saturday’s bout.

After months of build up, Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin are ready for the rematch

What happened the first time they met?

Coming just weeks after Floyd Mayweather beat Conor McGregor in Las Vegas, Canelo-Golovkin I was seen by many as the bout for true fight fans.

The two middleweights would, it was hoped, produce a battle of power and skill to resurrect boxing’s reputation. And over 12 gruelling rounds, they produced a gripping battle.

But once again, the sport shot itself in the foot just moments after the final bell. 

Though many felt Golovkin had edged the fight, the three judges conspired to make it a draw, prompting boos from the crowd inside the T-Mobile Arena and groans from fans worldwide.

What is on the line?

For the second time in 12 months, Canelo and Golovkin battle for more than world titles. At stake is the Kazakh KO king’s WBC and WBA belts but, more importantly, so is the title of middleweight supremacy.

In an era of multiple champions and promotional fragmentation, watching the best two fighters in a division face off is a rare treat. A second bite at the cherry is an added bonus.

Kazakh fighter Golovkin's WBC and WBA belts are on the line along with middleweight pride

Kazakh fighter Golovkin’s WBC and WBA belts are on the line along with middleweight pride

So why the bad blood?

The build-up to the first meeting was fairly tepid by Las Vegas standards, with both fighters making clear their mutual admiration and respect.

That may explain why the first fight failed to capture mainstream attention in the way Saturday’s showdown has. For 12 months on, that respect has been replaced by trash talking, mistrust and bad-blood.

Golovkin, along with many observers, felt he was robbed of victory in last September by a rogue card by judge Adelaide Byrd. The controversial draw thrust Canelo into the role of villain, one that he has played with aplomb.

But the tension between the two camps was ratched up another notch in February when the rematch (originally scheduled for May 5) was shelved following Canelo’s two failed drugs tests.

The Mexican insists the clenbuterol in his system was the result of eating contaminated beef but many, Golovkin included, are not convinced.

Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin Q&A: Last time there was respect but now there's trash talk

What have they been saying?

For two fighters whose combined grasp of the English language is limited, Canelo and Golovkin have produced an admirable number of sound bites in the weeks leading up to fight night.

Golovkin and his team, in particular, have been relentless in their verbal assaults on Canelo. The Kazakh labelled his opponent a ‘cheat’ and even claimed he could see track marks before their first encounter.

Canelo, the biggest name in the sport and usually the crowd favourite come fight night, has seen his reputation shattered by the failed drugs tests.

But he has been happy to stand his ground, notably accusing his opponent of having ‘no balls’.

Predictably Golovkin took the bait, offering to strip for reporters after being quizzed on the Mexican’s comments.

Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin Q&A: Last time there was respect but now there's trash talk

Who is going to win?

Golovkin is the slight bookies’ favourite but experts and pundits are split.

Triple G is into the autumn of his career and, at 36-years-old, has been accused of showing his age in recent fights.

But against both Danny Jacobs and Canelo he has still had enough, in the eyes of most observers, to maintain his perfect record.

But 12 months on, will he have slowed down enough to allow Canelo to take over. Will his usual relentless attacks to head and body to have lost some punch?

Canelo, who finished strongly last time out after showing his brilliant boxing skills in flashes, looks considerably leaner.

Whether that extra fleet-of-foot will allow him to outbox Golovkin or make him vulnerable to the smaller, heavier man, remains to be seen. But, even at only 28, the Mexican is not without his own fitness concerns.

The rescheduling has allowed Canelo to have surgery on a knee problem. But will he be able to box 12 gruelling rounds at 100 per cent?

Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin Q&A: Last time there was respect but now there's trash talk