“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.
Local sprinter, Letsile Tebogo has been rewarded with a whopping P150 000.00 by Orange Botswana for his heroics at the recently held World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
Speaking at a Handover Ceremony for Tebogo, Orange Botswana Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Maano Masisi said, Orange Botswana is steadfast in their commitment to nurturing the youth and promoting sports in diverse ways.
“Letsile stands as a formidable force and an inspiration to young Batswana, showcasing the value of sports not only in Botswana but on an international stage through his remarkable achievements. Orange Botswana, furthermore, desires to cultivate enduring relationships with aspiring young Batswana, much like Letsile, who embody dedication, focus, and excellence in their endeavors. Letsile has already shattered records, etching new milestones for the African continent and beyond,”
Masisi further said the partnership aligns seamlessly with Orange Botswana’s dedication to acknowledging exceptional individual talent like Tebogo.
“As previously announced when we started this relationship, our collaboration with yourself entails financial support from Orange Botswana to fuel your journey in competitive sports, alongside your representation as the face of Orange Botswana,” he said.
For his part, Tebogo pleaded with Orange Botswana to extend his contract as it is beneficial to him, “I am thankful to Orange Botswana and I hope they could extent my contract as it has been very helpful.”
Meanwhile, Tebogo’s coach, Kebonyemodisa ‘Dose’ Mosimanyana was also showered with P10 000.00 for always ensuring that Tebogo is ready to take on the world.
Local athletes, Zibane Ngozi and Letsile Tebogo have confronted Minister of Youth, Gender and Culture, Tumiso Rakgare citing lack of support during preparations.
Speaking at the World Champs team Welcome Ceremony on Wednesday, the 4 x 400m relay specialist and Team Captain, Ngozi urged some of the government officials inclusive of Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) representative, Rakgare to attend these high-profile competitions to witness the hardships they go through during these competitions.
“People need to understand it is not easy for us when we arrive at the World stage, there is a lot that is going on hence we need support in order for us to succeed as expected.
However, I am happy that immediately when I arrived in Botswana, BNSC credited our allowances which was a good thing because we had lots of debts (jokingly) thus we manage to settle them,” he said.
On the other hand, Tebogo who brought home two medals (silver and bronze) from 100m and 200m respectively at the World Champs said most athletes are going through depression due unfavorable conditions.
“Most of us going through depression because we lack support during preparations, we are only celebrated when we win but in hard times we are forgotten. Athletics is a difficult sport hence we need all the support we could to make it through and eventually amass medals as it is expected by our country,”
For his part, Rakgare admitted that local sport is faced with challenges, including but not limited to a tough sponsorship environment, limited or no sport in public schools, doping and leadership instability.
“I would of course be surprised if anyone of you would not agree with me that notwithstanding the challenges, we continue to achieve unprecedented results in sport, and the year to date is no exception,” he said.
Rakgare gave special recognition to Oratile Rose Nowe for heroics at the World Champs, “I would like to take this opportunity and congratulate Nowe for attaining a new personal best 2:01.62 in Women’s 800m, which also happens to be a national record. By the way, Oratile is the first Motswana woman to ever qualify for the World Championships in middle distance running.”
According to Rakgare, Government, recognizes athletes’ achievements at any and every competition, and that is why most recently, they have rewarded them at the Youth and Sport Awards.
“I would like to thank the Government of Botswana for their investment in sport. We continue to pride ourselves in being one of the best funders of sport per capita, and as indicated earlier, we are not intending to slow down anytime soon,”
On a lighter note, World Champs BW Team was rewarded by various companies such as Debswana, Choppies, Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) and also government as a token of appreciation for participating in Hungary.
Tebogo was rewarded with P560 000 from Debswana, Choppies and BPC for bringing two medals home, 4 x 400m men relay finalists (Ngozi, Baboloki Thebe, Laone Ditshetelo and Leungo were given P25 000 apiece for reaching the finals and participating by Debswana; while ladies (Tlhomphang Basele, Golekanye Chikani, Lydia Jele, Oratile Nowe, Galefele Moroko, Obakeng Kamberuka were given P10 000 each for participation.
In addition, the World Champs team amassed P926 000.00 of which P250 000 would go to Tebogo and the remaining P676 000 will be shared amongst the rest of the team.
With several local associations currently going through a rough patch in terms of financial quagmires, Botswana Netball Association (BONA) Public Relations Officer (PRO), Mokeresete Mokeresete is optimistic to host the 2023 Africa Netball Cup as per the request from African Netball Board (Executive Committee) because Uganda has pulled out.
Will it be successful or finally quench the thirst of competing internationally?
The African Netball Championships or Africa Netball Cup are a netball competition held every after two years with teams from across Africa competing for the top price.
BONA National team competed in the last edition of the Africa Netball Cup which was held in 2021 in Namibia and they finished in position seven which was average.
Last time BONA hosted an event of this magnitude was the 2017 Netball Youth World Cup which was indeed a success even though the local team (Dinaletsana) finished in position 10.
One would have thought that the Dinaletsana team which looked promising would eventually go on and conquer the world in the following international competitions. However, that has not been the case as they struggled to qualify for the recent World Cup which was held in the neighboring South Africa.
In addition, the Botswana Netball League was last played in November 2022 and in 2023 they hosted a Fast Five Netball Cup just before the Netball World Cup.
In an interview with WeekendSport this week, BONA Public Relations Officer (PRO) said they have accepted to host the 2023 Africa Netball Cup following the pulling out of Uganda.
“We have recently accepted a request to the 2023 Africa Netball Cup, however – we are still working on finalizing all the logistics that will be in play as you are aware that hosting an event requires a budget which might be difficult because we were given a smaller potion in the recent financial year.
Furthermore, we are yet to come up with a consolidated budget which could help us map a way forward as we really want to stage this particular competition. It is vital for us to host this competition as we want to revitalize local netball, we want to attract more for the league,” said Mokeresete Mokeresete.
MORE NETBALL ACTION AHEAD?
Mokeresete further hinted that the upcoming Independence Cup will be preparatory tournament for the upcoming Africa Netball Cup.
“We are going to host the Independence Cup of which we are expected at least 16 ladies’ teams and a few of male’ teams as we are still swiftly introducing the male section to the sport in Orapa.
However, prior to the action we are going conduct courses for match officials, technical official and coaches’ beginners’ level 1 courses as an effort of improve the standards of the sporting code,” hinted Mokeresete.
MISSING THE RECENT NETBALL WORLD CUP WAS CATASTROPHIC
According to BONA PRO, missing the recent Netball World Cup was catastrophic as players missed out on an opportunity to showcase their talents on the world stage which was bound to garner those deals to more professional countries in terms of Netball.
“We are seeing lots of movement for players from countries like Zimbabwe which is remarkable and that could have happened for our player – but it wasn’t to be as we did not qualify for the main event.
Moreover, through the World Cup Legacy Program, we have been awarded a sprung board and we are contention to transport it from South Africa to the country as one of the requirements to host a sporting event is to have a sprung floor,”
Meanwhile, the 2023 Africa Netball Cup is scheduled between November 26 – October 06 2023 at University of Botswana (UB) Indoor Sports Arena.