Two years ago people began to ponder the thoughts of the most dangerous man in Boxing, Gennady Golovkin, squaring up against Boxing’s biggest star, Canelo Alvarez. They were only one weight division apart. Canelo had just defeated Miguel Cotto. Golovkin had defeated David Lemieux. The majority wanted the fight to happen in May of 2016. But as is such in the world of boxing, we had to wait, and wait, and wait.
Finally, in September of 2017, we are here. The general consensus over the last two years has been Canelo’s team, mainly Oscar De La Hoya, has put this fight off for two reasons. One, De La Hoya knew Canelo had no chance of winning therefore he kept him away from Golovkin to make more money before sacrificing him up for a big money fight. Two, De La Hoya wanted Golovkin to get old.
While both theories are likely true it does turn out that Oscar was smarter than everyone. He cashed in on big fights with Canelo, and Golovkin has possibly showed his age in his last two fights. I don’t believe the ladder. Age isn’t the reason Golovkin has shown vulnerabilities, it was his opponents. But I’ll touch in that in a minute. Now that the fight is finally here, let’s break it down, and predict a winner.
WHAT CANELO NEEDS TO DO TO WIN:
Canelo has some disadvantages going into this fight. He’s the smaller guy, he’s probably not the better boxer, and he doesn’t have the better jab. He’s also not the bigger puncher. These are advantages he’s used to having. Canelo does however have two advantages that are big enough to allow him to win the fight. He’s faster, and he’s the better counter puncher. Canelo is going to have to get off first, and get the hell out of the way after. Investing to the body early is very important because in doing so he can take Golovkin’s power away later in the fight, when Canelo himself is known to get tired. He also needs to keep Golovkin at his range. Distance is a key in any fight that isn’t stressed enough. Can Canelo hit Golovkin at a comfortable distance without being countered himself? I think he can.
Canelo does some things that aren’t going to fly in this fight, at least in my opinion. He likes to lean his back on the ropes to rest often inviting his foe in. Liam Smith tagged Canelo a lot when he did this and Canelo cannot afford to allow Golovkin to get off shots on the ropes. Canelo also sometimes throws a wild right hand to counter over people’s jabs. He missed Amir Khan a lot with that before finally landing it but Khan was able to counter. If he misses with Golovkin, and Golovkin counters, Canelo is going to feel it in a much different way than he did with Khan. Canelo needs to stay off the ropes, counter smart, and get out of the way. One trick that might work is to put his guard up and get Golovkin close on the inside. Canelo is the better inside fighter. If he’s willing to take the risk of going after Golovkin he might have success on the inside, if he can get there.
WHAT GOLOVKIN NEEDS TO DO:
I think Golovkin’s game plan is much simpler. Attack Canelo behind the jab, pressure him to the ropes, and unleash hell when he gets him there. Keep the pressure on because Canelo will tire late in the right. Golovkin has shown good enough defense to be able to avoid Canelo’s counter right hand. He needs to be weary of the counter uppercut as well. Golovkin is the taller fight so I don’t know if he can go to the body without getting countered over the top by a quicker opponent. If he can, this fight will be a lot easier for him.
It’s not age that I believe is getting to Golovkin. I think it’s strategy and the style’s of his recent two opponents. Golovkin did two things in the Brook and Jacobs fight that I don’t believe he can do here and that’s pressure without the jab. With Brook, he clearly didn’t care. Brook couldn’t hurt him so he just decided to attack and attack until he got the KO. With Jacobs, I think he was frustrated with the movement. He cannot get frustrated in this fight. If he attacks Canelo without the jab, even if Canelo’s punches aren’t hurting him, he could find himself losing rounds. If Canelo can keep moving and withstand it while countering, then Golovkin will lose. He needs the jab in this fight.
THE PLAYOUT AND PREDICTION:
Two years ago I felt Golovkin would win a 117-111 type decision if he didn’t eventually get a TKO. I still feel that way though I’m not as confident. What I’m trying to do is not let their recent opponents influence my decision. Unlike most, my personal opinion is that Canelo hasn’t gotten much better in the last two years. I think he’s gotten smarter but his style is the same. He’s just had the right opponents in front of him that he could use his size and strength to walk right through. That’s not getting better, that’s getting matched properly.
I think my swaying on who to pick is different from two years ago mainly comes from what I’ve seen on Golovkin’s side. He’s showed undiscipline in getting frustrated so much so that Abel Sanchez himself said Golovkin wouldn’t listen to him early in the Brook fight. Danny Jacobs moved a lot, countered a lot, and frustrated him. Jacobs threw Golovkin off. Canelo is going to do the same, or at least try.
Canelo isn’t Danny Jacobs. He doesn’t hit as hard, he doesn’t move as well, and he’s not taller and longer than Golovkin. While I believe he’ll try to execute the same plan as Jacobs I don’t think he has the advantages he needs for it to work for him. Canelo isn’t that great of a mover with his footwork. He’s going to be there to get hit, and he will get hit. I think Golovkin’s pressure will break him down. I think Canelo goes to the ropes a lot around the middle of the fight and Golovkin will batter him up. Canelo will win rounds, and he’ll have very good moments, but in the end I think Golovkin executes the better gameplan and sticks behind a very good jab that wins him the fight. I think a late TKO for Golovkin is possible but I think Canelo gives him a better fight than I originally thought.
Gennady Golovkin defeats Saul Canelo Alvarez 115-113.