“Golovkin, you’re next my friend.” These are the words of Mexico’s Saul Alvarez as he confirmed his next fight with Kazakhstani prizefighter, Gennady Golovkin, a fight which may be seen as the most exciting bout after Floyd Mayweather and Manny Paquiao’s Las Vegas clash two years ago. Alvarez goes by the given name ‘Canelo’ while Golovkin is known by his alias, ‘GGG’.
The red-haired Mexican confirmed the fight against the man known as ‘the most feared boxer on the planet’ following his demolition of compatriot, Julio Caesar Chavez Jr over the weekend. Golovkin earned ‘the most feared boxer’ title as for a long time boxers avoided facing him in the ring. The sociable Golovkin who came out to see the fight also acknowledged the meet. Apparently the deal had already been sealed before the Chavez Jr fight. Both fighters described the September fight as undoubtedly the toughest.
The fight is billed for September 16 in a yet to be named venue, most likely to be Las Vegas. Other venues may include Los Angeles’ Staples Centre or New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Coming into the fight, Chavez was widely regarded as the hardest hitter in the sport but his latest fight came to be seen as target practice for Alvarez as he easily romped to victory, winning all twelve rounds by all three judges.
This week, an ESPN panel of boxing insiders rated Golovkin the number one fighter in the world regardless of weight class. The panel included among others Teddy Atlas, an ESPN boxing commentator and the man who trained Mike Tyson after the death of Cus D’Amato. Transnational Boxing Rankings Board and BoxRec also rate Golovkin as the best middleweight boxer in the world. Alvarez is also rated the best light middleweight by the same ranking boards. BoxRec makes a break with other rankings by naming Alvarez the world’s best boxer, pound for pound.
Golovkin’s professional record stands at 37 wins, 33 of them coming by way of knockout with zero losses. On the other corner, Alvarez’s has won 49 fights, lost one to Floyd Mayweather and drawn one. Out of 49 of his victories, 34 came though knockout. The same ESPN panel put Alvarez at position seven. The latest Ring Magazine pound for pound ratings however put Golovkin at number three and Alvarez at number eight in a list of the best boxers in the world.
It would seem it was always written in the stars that both men would become world class boxing champions, from a young age. Golovkin once stated in an interview that as a youth, he would walk the streets with his brothers, who went around picking fights for him with grown men. When asked by his brothers, "Are you afraid of him?" Golovkin would respond with "No," and be told to fight. "My brothers, they were doing that from when I was in kindergarten," Golovkin said. "Every day, different guys,” he stated.
On the other corner, Alvarez is a scion of a family baptized in the bloody sport. All his 6 brothers became professional boxers in their careers. They include Ramon Alvarez, Ricardo Alvarez and Rigoberto Alvarez who is a former interim WBA champion. However, like Michael Jackson in The Jackson 5, Canelo was to become the only break out star in his brood.
It will be hard to tell who might step out of the ring the winner in September. Both men are equally talented and at the top of their game. Alvarez is known as an aggressor who methodical pursues an opponent around the ring alternating between landing soft jabs to powerful punches every now and then.
His aggressive style has also burnished his ability to cut off the ring to an opponent, upping up the ante as the rounds progress. Both his head and body shots are unique in their speed and power. He usually sneaks in a fast one to the abdomen area to open up an opponent.
Golovkin is also a power puncher. His fighting style is that of an attacker who stalks his opponent as he seeks another knockout to expand his streak. His number one asset is his powerful punches, especially his right hand. Golovkin is seen by some as robotic with no special effects such as landing combinations. Golovkin has defeated sensations like of Kell Brook, Curtis Stevens, David Lemieux among others with Alvarez has downed world champions such as Miguel Cotto, Amir Khan, Erislandy Lara, Austin Trout, Shane Mosley, Josesito Lopez among others.
The mega transfer of one Thatayaone Ditlhokwe from Township Rollers to South Africa’s SuperSport United has left Gaborone United (GU) desperate for the ‘purchase benefits’ and the latter has consistently phoned Rollers to pay back their share for supposedly grooming the player.
Ditlhokwe, a former GU defender, was sold to SuperSport at an estimated fee of P 2 million late last year. When the sale was negotiated, and it was agreed that GU will receive at least 15% of the sale, sources say.
This therefore means Rollers has to pay GU P 300 000.
According to reliable sources, Rollers is yet to process GU’s benefits because SuperSport United is taking long to complete the transfer fee. However, Jagdish Shah, the financer of Rollers, is said to be ready to pay GU’s dues as soon as the time is right.
In any case, it is said the two clubs are fighting a boardroom brawl. Regarded as the fiercest cross town rivals, GU was incensed to lose Ditlhokwe to Rollers in the first place. The underlying scuffle, to date, is catalysed by misplaced documents and trust that has grown seriously thin between the two clubs.
It is said that GU cannot find the contract between Rollers and SuperSport so as to officially bill their claim. Sources put it that GU had written twice to Rollers asking them to forward a copy of the said contract.
In the first instance, it is said that Rollers cooperated and did as GU requested. However, GU is said to have lost the contract and went back to Rollers for another copy. Rollers according to sources then refused to budge. There are claims that GU is now stuck in one place.
Rollers media liaison Phemperetlhe Pheto said it is difficult to talk about contracts to third parties. He however implored GU to avail the contract for them to claim their fees without doubts.
“I am disturbed to talk about contracts of players to media but bear in mind that we cannot act when GU is failing to submit what they have as a proof,” he said.
When Rollers tried to sign Argentinean born gaffer, Rudolph Zapata, three seasons ago, GU fought tooth and nail to block him from joining the ranks of their number one enemy. They delayed to release his work permits accusing him and Rollers of sinister motives.
To this date, GU is livid that Rollers nearly paralyzed their camp when they recruited striker Tumisang Orebonye, defender Jackson Lesole and the very same Ditlhokwe, to offer them lucrative contracts.
Just a year ago, the fight between the two clubs almost took a nasty turn. It started when GU wrote to the Botswana Football Association (BFA) questioning the coaching credentials of Rollers former coach, Frank Nuttall, together with his assistants, Leutwetse Tshireletso and Zachariah Mudzazi. Then, GU was seen to be shifting posts when consistently asked to rectify the situation involving their coach, Pontsho Moloi. It was found out that Moloi was not fit to coach in the elite level according to the requirements of club licensing.
But as things stand, GU will count on the words of Shah, whom many football administrators label as a ‘man of integrity.’
Ditlhokwe signed a three year deal with SuperSport last year. The 22-year-old helped Rollers to lift the Botswana Premier League trophy in the 2018/19 season and was rewarded with a national team call up.
The Botswana international played an important role for his side in the 2019 COSAFA Cup in South Africa as captain, Ditlhokwe also helped Zebras finish 2nd in the tournament losing to Zambia in the final.
The Ministry of Youth Sport and Culture Development has agreed to refurbish the dilapidated Molepolole Sports Complex.
The development consequently means premier league teams and local clubs will not be able to utilise the facility in the upcoming season.
The stadium with a carrying capacity of 6 600, was earmarked by premier league rookies Masitaoka as home-ground.
The ministry has further revealed that the stadium will need a budget of about 5 million Pula to relay the turf and renovate a water drainage system that has worn out. The contractors are expected to commence work in the not so distant future.
The pitch surface is artificial and was first installed in 2008 at FIFA’s request and the presidency of Philp Makgalemele. In 2010, it was chosen as one of two host stadiums for the COSAFA Under-20 Challenge.
“We have funds to refurbish the Molepolole Stadium for two main projects; the relaying of turf and renovation of water reticulation system. The stadium will therefore be out of bounds when contracted companies begin their works,” the Chairman of Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) confirmed.
The Ministry of sport is further expected to file a communication with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing Development notifying them to start a monitoring exercise when the renovations begin.
The reconstruction of this stadium and others is however feared to coincide with the long intention of the government to improve sport infrastructure throughout the country.
Earlier this year, the sport ministry has also requested a budget of about P 33 million to renovate and improve the VIP lounge of Francistown Sport Complex, now known as Obed Chilume stadium.
The President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi, said the government continues to improve sporting infrastructure as part of the grassroots sport development programme. He said this in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) two years ago.
This financial year, P50 million was allocated for the construction of 10 community sport facilities or mini stadia, around the country.
“These will be basic sport facilities for youth recreation, and will consist of boundary wall, an artificial turf, soccer pitch and changing rooms with ablution facilities,” he said.
The facilities are earmarked for Tonota, Mmadinare, Bobonong, Tutume, Kasane, Goodhope, Kanye, Rakops, Tsabong and Moshupa.
Enterprising midfielder, Dirang Moloi, is in talks with premier league rookies Masitaoka Football Club about possibilities of joining as a free agent, having last played for troubled Extension Gunners last season.
Moloi, touted as the best midfielder of his generation, is said to be ready to hang his boots but not before playing for Masitaoka, the promising outfit whose administration is now the envy of other premier teams, especially the older ones.
However, it appears that there is a stumbling block as Moloi is requesting for conditions that are beyond the club’s reach. Moloi, with a substantial premier league experience, where player wages are not always guaranteed, wants to partner with the club through his side businesses to make profit.
Sources say Moloi does not desperately yearn for a monthly salary, but wants some benefits as the club makes money through other means.
Operating as a football company, Masitaoka has plenty of sponsors and it is why Moloi wants a share of the profits for each replica jersey the team sells. He also wants the club to partner with his security company to further rake in profits rather than waiting on a meagre salary that is not certain especially during turbulent periods of corona virus. This, according to sources may weigh heavily on Masitaoka’s situation that consequently will collapse the talks.
All the while, it is said Moloi will no longer be a first-choice selection but Neslon Olebile, the team’s head coach, hopes that his personality and experience will serve to inspire the rest of the attacking options, most notably the younger players.
Masitaoka have always sought to have leaders in their squad, players who have won big games and can bolster the collective belief. Their hunger to sign Galabgwe Moyana in the next season is rooted in part, by what he could bring away from the field.
Moloi, some reports say may join partly on probation and eventually sign to play as the season goes on, but not to inspire, as he once declared he is about to quit Botswana football.
The club sources however say that there is no option built into the deal for him to join them with non- football conditions.
Masitaoka are however desperate for Moloi’s services and will want him to bring calmness and stability to a side that has begun to dream big. The Molepolole base outfit is eyeing a spot in the finals of Orange FA Cup. Once football resumes, the club will play against Calendar Stars in the quarter finals.
Moloi has won a handful of trophies and medals during his salad days at Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Township Rollers.