Before Álvarez-Golovkin III, remember the best boxing trilogy

The rivalry between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin reaches the ultimate level of modern boxing excellence this weekend when these vaunted fighters complete a trilogy.

From Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier to Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, most of the top competitors in recent sporting history have participated in at least three memorable matches. Only the most convincing matches can attract fans to three meetings, and epics often determine the careers of fighters.

It’s hard to make a single match between the best boxers in this cracked promotional era. But when two elite fighters pursue one compelling show with another, they are sometimes rewarded with the opportunity for boxing immortality — and hopefully, the riches that come with it.

The first and second battles in this trilogy qualified for history. Alvarez and Golovkin fought in a controversial tie in 2017 even though most ringside watchers thought Golovkin deserved to win. Alvarez Golovkin handed the only loss of his career in the 2018 rematch with a narrow majority decision that also infuriated Golovkin.

“I’m glad we’re fighting for the third time, because I don’t want to leave the slightest doubt about who is the best,” Alvarez said. “I know he feels the same way, and that’s what makes the best fights.”

Four years after Alvarez and Golovkin hold their second meeting, they will wrap up their trilogy in Las Vegas on Saturday night. This high-profile rivalry has a chance to join the best, even if it doesn’t include the knockouts and blood that most others distinguish.

Before Alvarez and Golovkin seal the score, here’s a look at some of the greatest (or more) trios of the past half century of boxing, in no particular order:

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