GENNADY GOLOVKIN and Canelo Alvarez were once friendly sparring partners… now they are bitter enemies on the verge of an epic trilogy.
The former middleweight opponents have already produced 24 classic rounds together and will renew their rivalry for a third time.
But their history dates back over a decade, when a 20-year-old Canelo travelled to Big Bear California for sparring with Golovkin, who was 28 at the time.
Both were world champions, but it was a year before GGG's Stateside debut and Canelo was still largely unproven.
Golovkin, now 40, tells SunSport: "We had very good sparring sessions back then. Those were exciting spars to watch."
The pair would pose for pictures arm in arm and compliment each other, not knowing they would later share an iconic rivalry.
But as the years went on, and an inevitable fight grew ever closer, the relationship soured with egos at an all-time high.
Golovkin recalls: “We had a normal relationship. But he then felt too much of himself.
"He’s now a big star so the consequences of that was probably a side effect of him shooting to fame.”
Golovkin never forgave Canelo for vacating the WBC title in 2016 when the Kazakh was mandatory, meaning talks between them collapsed.
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But a year later GGG did get the Mexican in the ring – only to leave it with more frustration.
Canelo was deemed fortunate to walk away with a disputed draw, setting the scene for a blockbuster rematch 12 months later.
Again for Golovkin, he felt hard done by after being on the end of a majority points loss, conceding bragging rights to his old gym pal.
It helped launch Canelo to new heights, the heir to the pound-for-pound throne Floyd Mayweather left in retirement.
But as the time passed, and with a trilogy not forthcoming, Alvarez's hate for GGG only grew stronger, despite the win on his record.
Whereas Golovkin, who controversially lost in the eyes of many ringside, remained indifferent from the animosity.
Canelo has even said the feud is "personal"- something Triple-G was quick to distance himself from.
He explains: “I don’t feel any hatred towards him. To me, he’s just an athlete, just another human being. Just a boxer.
“I guess that’s how he as a human being decided to behave and decided to think of himself, love himself and position himself.”
Canelo, 32, went on to become a four-division champ after his rematch win over Golovkin, who remained at middleweight.
But the 160lb legend will move up to super-middleweight for the first time in his career to challenge for Canelo's undisputed crown.
The third instalment of their fight collection appears, from the outside at least, to be the most intense.
But Golovkin insists he acknowledges no difference in the man he has twice gone the distance with – mainly because he chooses not to.
He says: “I don’t feel like he is any different because I honestly don’t think about him.
“Too much attention is being placed on him, but he’s not bothering me at all.
"The way he behaved has shown his true personality, recently."
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Canelo has vowed to send Golovkin into retirement by putting a brutal beatdown in Las Vegas over the weekend, live on DAZN PPV.
But ahead of what could be his final fight, GGG quips: “I’m going to retire soon anyway. With his help or without his help.
"Let’s face it, I’m 40 years old and nearing my retirement.”
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