It is fight week.
For the past two years, the boxing world has been waiting for the showdown between Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Kazakhstan’s own Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin. It is a true pick’em superfight that should be one of a few crossover events that the casual sports fan should check out. But unlike the previous spectacles with Canelo vs Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor; this one is a true 50/50 fight that promises action.
While the Mayweather-McGregor spectacle swallowed up a lot of oxygen in the sports world, this fight has still garnered a lot of hype. It is not quite on that level in terms of mainstream appeal but it is not a match reserved for just boxing enthusiasts. You can find plenty of amazing previews that really analyzes both athletes but that’s not what what I want to do.
Let’s take a look at how the fight could break down.
Gennady Golovkin by TKO
Most observers are of the belief that if Golovkin is going to win, its likely to come by a technical knockout in the later rounds.
Golovkin is the definition of a come-forward boxer. When I think of Golovkin’s pressure, I often think of this knockdown against the defensive-orientated Willie Monroe Jr. Now, Monroe Jr. is not a hard-hitter nor is he anywhere near the level that Canelo is on but it offers a fairly clear indicator on what to expect with Golovkin.
Notice how he essentially throws a couple jabs but is forcing Monroe into the corner. Cutting off the ring is one of Golovkin’s main strengths, a trait picked up through his lengthy and successful amateur career that includes an Olympic Silver medal, and you can see it perfectly there. He lets Monroe essentially punch HIMSELF into the corner while Golovkin patiently waits to strike, then lands a flush left hook on Monroe’s chin.
It should be noted that Golovkin has great power but its not usually seen as the one-punch variety but as a thudding beatdown. With respect to Nobuhiru Ishida and Matthew Macklin, you don’t tend to see one punch end a Golovkin fight.
Golovkin operates behind a ramrod jab that can be described as one of the best in the fight game. No better example exists than Golovkin’s maiden pay-per-view match against David Lemieux in a unification battle. Lemieux is a powerful, but limited, brawler who was essentially force-fed a diet of jabs before Golovkin unloaded the heavy artillery. When Golovkin lands his jab, and he is more likely to do so than not, it makes an impact.
If Golovkin is going to end Canelo’s night early, it should be assumed that he will do a blend of both strengths. He will look to trap Canelo, utilize his jab, and dictate the tempo of the exchanges.
Canelo By Decision
While Golovkin has strength, his resume is really not that strong. Yes, he was ducked and that should be stated. However, it is hard to say he is one of the best of all-time when his best wins are a close decision against the capable Danny Jacobs, a blown-up Kell Brook (a welterweight who moved up to 160 to face GGG) and Lemieux.
Canelo has faced some of the best of his generation’s best. While he did lose to Floyd Mayweather Jr., he did defeat the elusive Erislandy Lara and the rugged Miguel Cotto.
The Cotto fight in particular is one I want to highlight in why Canelo can win this by decision. The Freddie Roach trained Cotto might be a few years past his prime, but it is hard to envision many 154 pounders who would have defeated him on that December 2015 night.
Take a look at Canelo’s defense. Yes, this is a highlight reel that is designed to show the best of Canelo but Cotto was just never able to land much clean on Canelo. While there appeared to be a size difference, Cotto’s handspeed was no much for Canelo’s elite upper body movement. Canelo’s anticipation was on display and it almost looked like the Mayweather-Canelo fight but with Canelo as the matador.
Another huge weapon in Canelo’s weaponry is his body work. If you need a refresher on how good it can look, let’s go back to his fight against Liam Smith. Much like Monroe, we do need a small disclaimer on Smith. Liam Smith is a perfectly fine boxer who is probably just above domestic level but far below the elites.
This exchange can be a bit of a preview on what to expect from Canelo. Canelo eats a solid punch by Smith and then proceeds to walk him down with an array of uppercuts and body work. The next round, another combination puts Smith down and the fight is eventually ended on a brutal shot on the liver.
Again Liam Smith is not Gennady Golovkin but he’s a perfect portrait for Canelo to paint his brutality on. When Smith tried to go inside, he had nominal success but he would eat heavy fire in return.
A Canelo win by decision would mean that he landed those shots while avoiding the blows that have ended numerous Golovkin foes.
Canelo by TKO/KO
Golovkin has never been knocked down nor seriously wounded. While Curtis Stevens and Jacobs both caught Golovkin clean with some flush shots, Golovkin merely nodded and walked right through.
But let us not forget the Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev rematch that took place in June. Ward, a strong but not necessarily powerful fighter, was able to land a beautiful shot on Kovalev’s chin after focusing on the body.
Golovkin has faced power before, but a lot of those fighters lacked the dedication to the body and precision that Canelo has shown. Golovkin can shell into a high guard and that could be a recipe for a beautiful uppercut. Now imagine that after some shots above the beltline?
Golovkin by Decision
Golovkin, in nearly the past ten years, has gone to the scorecards once and that was in his last fight against Danny Jacobs. Golovkin has shown the ability to dominate a fight but we have yet to see it from Rounds 1 through 12 because frankly, he’s never needed that until March 2017.
If Golovkin wins by decision, it would likely look similar to the Lemieux fight without the power punches. Golovkin by jabfest likely wins any scorecard.
Guaranteed rematch which would be fun right?
Disclaimer: I am a huge fan of Gennady Golovkin. So I will always pick him. But I am more than willing to accept that Canelo is still improving and has somehow elevated his game even more since he won the Cotto fight.
It is not impossible to see a similar, if not comparative, performance of that between Terence Crawford and Viktor Postol. Postol won the first round or two as Crawford sized him up and essentially took control of the fight from Rounds 3 onward. Canelo isn’t always the fastest starter so is it possible that could occur again?
Whatever it is, please watch this fight. This is something that could be a legendary sports moment and you would be remiss the avoid this.
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