To many it will be a return to the scene of the crime, but unified middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez will head back to T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for their much-anticipated rematch, the promoters announced on Thursday.
The fight on May 5 (HBO PPV, 8 p.m. ET) -- Cinco de Mayo -- was signed a few weeks ago, but Alvarez promoter Golden Boy Promotions and Tom Loeffler, Golovkin's promoter, took their time to finalize a site deal that came down to T-Mobile Arena and Madison Square Garden in New York.
It came as no surprise that they decided to take the offer from T-Mobile Arena parent company MGM Resorts International to host the sequel to one of the biggest fights in years, one that matches two of the best fighters in the world pound-for-pound.
The first fight took place there on Sept. 16, and it lived up to the hype by delivering the kind of action most expected it to. However, although Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) retained his unified 160-pound world titles, it was a hugely controversial split draw that most thought he deserved to win.
Judge Dave Moretti scored it 115-113 in Golovkin's favor, but judge Don Trella had it 114-114 and judge Adalaide Byrd had a universally criticized scorecard of 118-110 in favor of Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs), who even said after the fight that while he thought he won, he did not think it was by that wide of a margin.
Golovkin and Loeffler said they had no problem returning to the site of the controversial fight that saddled GGG with the lone blemish on his otherwise perfect record.
"It feels right that the rematch returns to the scene of the crime. This time, there will be no drama with a decision," said Golovkin, one of boxing's most renowned knockout artists. "I won the first fight and left the ring as world champion wearing all the belts. And I am going to win the second fight. It is going to be a record fight and a golden night for me and boxing at T-Mobile Arena."
Said Loeffler: "The last time they met in the ring, the tie went to the runner -- Canelo Alvarez. I think there is only one place to settle this dispute between the two best middleweights. The most appropriate place for the rematch is back at T-Mobile Arena. The venue was a sensational host to Team Golovkin and the fans were terrific. We'll see if T-Mobile Arena remains Canelo's favorite venue after he becomes Gennady's 20th and record-tying title defense."
With a victory, Golovkin, 35, a Kazakhstan native fighting out of Santa Monica, California, would tie Bernard Hopkins' record for consecutive middleweight world title defenses.
Alvarez, 27, of Mexico, will be fighting at T-Mobile Arena for the fourth time in his past five fights. It has become like a second home to him.
"I am happy to return for the fourth time at T-Mobile Arena for this historic rematch against Golovkin," he said. "I opened the doors of this place to the world of boxing, and it has become my favorite venue. This is where the fight started, and this is where I'll end it by doing what I and my fans most desire: knocking him out."
According to Golden Boy, Madison Square Garden made a hefty offer to host the fight.
"It was close. It was a very hard decision," Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez told ESPN said of deciding between venues.
Said Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya: "There is no better place to host the historic rematch between Canelo and Golovkin than T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Las Vegas on a fight weekend during Cinco de Mayo is electric, and I know fans will travel from around the world to be here to participate in the celebratory atmosphere. Historic boxing matches like Canelo versus GGG II belong in a place like Las Vegas, which offers fans the full and rich experience they are looking for on a big fight weekend."
Unlike most major fights, when the fighters and their teams hit the road to meet media and fans on a multicity tour to promote the event, Golovkin and Alvarez will have just one news conference ahead of fight week.
It will take place on Tuesday at Microsoft Square in LA Live across the street from Staples Center in Los Angeles. It is free and open to the public with doors opening at 3:30 p.m. PT and the event beginning at 6:30 p.m. PT.
The fight in September drew 22,358, a record crowd for an indoor boxing event in Las Vegas, and generated a gate of $27,059,850, the third-biggest in boxing history. The fight also generated around 1.3 million pay-per-view buys. Tickets for the rematch go sale Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET and are priced from $300 to $5,000.