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Boxing showdown set: Golovkin opens as favorite against Canelo


A good night for Canelo Alvarez turned into a great night for boxing. But it was what happened after Saturday night’s fight in Las Vegas that mattered most.

Alvarez used Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. as a punching bag for 12 rounds en route to winning a unanimous decision before a record 20,510 fans at T-Mobile Arena. The crowd was electric until the fight turned into a lopsided joke, and the pay-per-view audience was duped yet again.

Gennady Golovkin stepped into the picture to change the story line.

Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 knockouts) and Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) immediately agreed to fight this fall, reportedly Sept. 16 in Las Vegas. It’s the most anticipated match up in boxing, although some might argue Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor could be a bigger promotion.

John Murray, a Westgate sports book odds maker, said “Triple G” is likely to open as at least a minus-150 favorite.

“If you asked me a year ago, I would not have thought Canelo could win,” Murray said. “But Canelo is coming into his prime. He has waited out this fight for a while. The price is definitely a lot tighter than it would have been six months or a year ago.”

In fact, there was a much higher line on the fight last May, when Station Casinos opened Golovkin as a minus-400 favorite. The action at that price was refunded because there was a stipulation the bout had to go off by Dec. 31, 2016. Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito said the line will be reposted Sunday morning at a much lower price.

Alvarez, who turns 27 in July, is eight years younger than Golovkin, who holds the WBA, WBC and IBF middleweight titles. Golovkin last fought in April, when he was not as impressive as usual in a narrow unanimous decision victory over Daniel Jacobs. That ended Golovkin’s 23-fight knockout streak and lessened his aura in invincibility.

Murray said he would consider making the price on Golovkin as high as minus-165.

“I do think the week of the fight we’ll write a lot of money on Canelo. He has more of a following, and people will be licking their chops at plus-money,” Murray said. “I don’t want to overreact too much. Chavez Jr. is a decent fighter, but he’s not an elite guy.”

Matt Youmans

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