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Thoughts on Canelo v GGG in 2016

golovkin5554(Photo credit: World Boxing Council) By Al Classico: A few weeks into 2016 and the talk is heating up about a potential clash between Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez taking place sometime towards the end of the year, most likely around September or so. Hopefully the public demand for this fight will ensure that it happens sooner rather than later and we get to see this mega fight within the year, rather than within the next 5 years as was the case with the Floyd Mayweather Jr. – Manny Pacquiao showdown.

With Canelo being the paper champion at middleweight but having never fought at the full 160 weight limit, the time has come for him  to start answering some real questions; whether he is the real deal or simply a pretender to the throne. He does have legitimate talent with some fantastic skills and has shown a willingness to fight anyone, however, this has recently been overshadowed by the abuse of his star power in ensuring that circumstances and decisions always go his way. Examples of this have been his very debatable wins over Lara, Trout and most recently the ridiculous scorecards against Miguel Cotto. On top of this he constantly fights at a catchweight that is neither here nor there and this has somewhat tarnished his respectability in the boxing community. To be fair to Canelo, a lot of theses circumstances have been managerial decision but that doesn’t matter as it all reflects poorly on him, the fighter. For this reason he needs to step into the ring against a legitimate, in-prime, full strength opponent, at a proper weight class where it will be a level playing field, where he has the chance to earn some real respect, win or lose.

GGG on the other hand is the real king at middleweight where he holds 3 straps but he is in desperate need of a high profile fight against a top opponent in order to raise his mainstream profile and earn himself some good paydays befitting of his performances in the ring. Despite not yet facing the absolute top opposition, GGG is the real deal where his biggest problem hasn’t been defeating opponents, it has been getting them in the ring to face him and at the wrong side of 30, he is in a race against time to capitalize on his boxing career while he still can.

There has been some valid criticism about the level of opposition that GGG has faced but each time he has done what he has had to do and it is clear from his performances that he is elite. You don’t win 345 amateur fights against 5 losses and 34 wins and no losses in the pros without being in the top tier. If he wasn’t a that good, he would of been exposed by someone by now, even to some degree by his lesser opponents. This has not happened and the truth is it probably won’t because he is a completely rounded boxer with skills, stamina, strength, balance, aggression and most of all intelligence.

So assuming that the fight does get made and that it happens in late 2016 at the 160 pound limit, how is the fight likely to play out?

It’s a strange realization that Canelo will actually weigh more than GGG on fight night but this won’t make any difference to the outcome as Canelo’s weight has so far only been an advantage against much smaller opponents. In his last fight against Cotto, it was only the difference in weight that made the difference on the scorecards. Had they both weighed the same, it would of been an easy win for Cotto as he was the superior boxer but simply didn’t have the power to hurt Canelo. Canelo will not have this luxury against GGG and so will have to rely on his boxing skills and hand-speed to earn a win. Unfortunately for him, this won’t be enough as GGG has got better skills; significantly better footwork, better boxing fundamentals, more power and stamina. On top of this he has a granite chin which has taken clean shots from other big middleweight hitters (Curtis Stevens, David Lemieux) and has passed with flying colors. If Canelo’s biggest shots didn’t even buckle Cotto, then they will hardly tickle GGG.

Should Canelo take the fight even though he will most likely lose and lose badly? Yes I think he should but but first he will need to test the waters of middleweight and preferably against a previous GGG victim, in order to get a good gauge on where he stands at that weight. The risk for Canelo is that he may lose against many of the middleweights that GGG has defeated so he will need to carefully chose an opponent. Someone like a Gabe Rosado or Willie Monroe Jnr could be good first MW opponents due to the lack of huge power that they posses.

Assuming that Canelo passes his first middleweight test, then it will be worth it for  him to face GGG in late 2016 but only if this fight can be prmotoed as mega fight. A loss against GGG will likely diminish Canelo’s star power considerably so he will want to ensure a big payday as insurance. Canelo is a talented and fearless young fighter but the reality is that at his true weight, which is middleweight, he will get exposed against any of the top guys. He should therefore try and cash in on a mega fight against GGG while his stock is still up!

Who knows, I may well be wrong in my opinion and I would be happy for Canelo to prove me wrong with a gutsy performance, even if he loses. But I can’t see him being competitive in this fight against someone who is all smiles outside of the ring but in the ring ‘is not a man, but a piece of iron’!

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