‘Canelo’ and ‘GGG’ are set to face off in a huge middleweight clash on September 16th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas
It is the big fight that we have all anticipated in boxing. Floyd Mayweather versus Conor McGregor is a massive event, Canelo Alvarez versus Gennady Golovkin however is a massive fight. This is an enormous spectacle for the boxing world, one where you could genuinely make an argument for either fighter winning. A true 50-50 fight, one might say. It is set for the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, just 3 weeks after Mayweather vs McGregor. September 16th is Mexican Independence weekend, a huge weekend for the Mexican people and traditionally a big weekend for boxing bouts. Expect Las Vegas to be packed with not just Mexican fans, but those from all over the world leading up to the fight who are extremely excited to see the best face the best.
Golovkin has a phenomenal record of 37-0 with 33 knockouts and an incredible 89% knockout rate. Golovkin is no doubt the middleweight king; he has the IBF, WBC and WBA titles at middleweight and has demolished most of his competition, beating the likes of David Lemieux, Willie Monroe Jr and Martin Murray. He recently defeated Danny Jacobs (albeit a controversial unanimous decision victory) and Kell Brook (moved up from welterweight to middleweight for this fight). ‘GGG’ has ferocious power in either fist, is fantastic at cutting off the ring, and is excellent at seizing his chance once the opportunity comes for the knockout. He is a beast from Kazakhstan and has found it hard to get the best to jump into the ring with him. It even took Canelo over a year and for him to drop his WBC middleweight belt to step up and face him, clearly recognising the danger involved with facing such a powerful fighter.
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (‘Canelo’ means ‘Cinnamon’ in Spanish, a reference to his red hair) has recently moved up from the junior middleweight division. In his previous fight, however, he fought Julio Cesar Chavez Jr at a catchweight of 164.5 pounds and boxed phenomenally well over 12 rounds, winning a comfortable unanimous decision victory. This fight is at 160 pounds, however Canelo’s previous fights have taken place at 154 pounds. He has beaten the likes of Miguel Cotto, Austin Trout, James Kirkland, Amir Khan and Erislandy Lara (a controversial decision win earned in this bout). In terms of Pay-Per-View events, Canelo may only be 26 but having the limelight on him is nothing new. At just 23, he faced Floyd Mayweather, and although he lost the fight, he has grown phenomenally as a fighter since that loss. He also has excellent power, his body punches and punching technique are of an extremely high level, and he can box as well as counter-punch very effectively. There is no doubting Canelo’s star power and fantastic boxing ability, however this is a legacy defining fight. If he managed to pull off the victory in this fight, he becomes the number 1 star in boxing and arguably the pound for pound best.
Keys to Victory: Gennady Golovkin
GGG goes into the fight as a slight favourite in the eyes of the bookmakers. For him to win this fight, he is going to have to cut off the ring very well (which he already does) against an excellent counter puncher in Canelo. He could find this a very tough task, however. If you look at Golovkin’s previous fight against Danny Jacobs (a fight which, in my opinion, he lost), Jacobs was able to tag his body and make it hard for Golovkin to walk him down, as well as catching him from distance. Nonetheless, Golovkin did manage to knock Jacobs down in the fight, which highlights the fact that one punch can change a fight and Golovkin always has the power to do that. GGG will also have to throw lots of combinations at Canelo when he does catch him. Furthermore, he will have to avoid getting counter-punched and, crucially, avoid getting hit to the body. Canelo is brilliant at body punching and this could be GGG’s downfall in this fight, as he does not like to get tagged in the mid-section. It is imperative for GGG to not get broken down as Canelo will start to capitalise on this and catch him with other shots. Despite that, Golovkin still has a great chance of pulling off the victory and cementing himself as the true middleweight king.
Keys to Victory: Canelo Alvarez
For Canelo to win the fight, he has to first of all make sure that he does not get caught flush by Golovkin. Although Canelo has a world class chin, Golovkin has concussive power and has the ability and technique to knock almost anyone out. This will be the first danger for Canelo to avoid. He has to target Golovkin’s body a lot in this fight; Canelo is a tremendous body puncher and will have to be willing to fight on the inside and rip hooks to Golovkin’s body to break him down. This will give Canelo a great chance of slowing Golovkin down and also sapping his power later into the fight. Canelo will also have to concentrate for 100% of the fight and be able to slip GGG’s punches and counter Golovkin effectively. This will be very important as it will confuse Golovkin and make it hard for him to win rounds. Canelo has the tools to do this, however previous opponents such as Chavez Jr and Liam Smith are no match for Golovkin’s talents, therefore he will be in for a very hard night’s work. Another key factor is for Canelo to have a very high work-rate throughout the fight and catch Golovkin when he gets the opportunity to. If you let Golovkin have the chance to push forward and throw at you, it becomes very difficult to avoid every punch thrown.
Predictions for the fight: Canelo by Split Decision or Majority Decision
It is extremely hard to predict this fight, the reason being is that both fighters are of such a high calibre and there are very plausible arguments for leaning towards each fighter getting the nod. I have changed my mind a few times on this fight, however as the fight draws closer I am leaning towards Canelo pulling off the decision in a very close fight. I feel that Canelo is the fresher guy, with the speed and ability to hit Golovkin’s body hard and wear him down. Danny Jacobs showed elements of the blueprint on how to beat Golovkin and I feel that Canelo will pull it off. Having said that, because of Golovkin’s ferocious power, you can never count him out. We are really in for a treat with this fighter. Outside of Andre Ward, these are two of the best fighters in the whole of boxing facing each other. If the fight had taken place a year ago, I feel that Golovkin would have had too much power and strength to overcome Canelo. However, Canelo has filled into the middleweight division and improved a lot technically, whereas Golovkin has showed signs of decline in his previous fights with Brook and Jacobs. Therefore, I fell that Canelo will win via split decision or majority decision and become the number 1 star in boxing. This is a much-watch PPV event and the biggest fight of the boxing calendar, so sit back and enjoy.
Written by: Alex Loughran