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Gennady Golovkin vs. Canelo Alvarez: Who beats who?

Canelo Alvarez Gennady Golovkin

By Dan Ambrose: Golden Boy Promotions is supposedly waiting until September 2017 before making the fight between their fighter Saul Canelo Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) and IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (36-0, 33 KOs) against each other. The idea is that Canelo needs more time to grow into the middleweight division, and there needs more time to make the fight bigger between them.

At least that’s the line from Golden Boy. However, it’s generally believed by a lot of boxing fans is that Golden Boy and Canelo are waiting for the soon to be 35-year-old Golovkin age a little more so that he’s less of a threat to beating Canelo.

The Mexican star badly needs Golovkin’s scalp for him to become a bigger star in the U.S, and to become a bigger pay per view attraction. A loss to Golovkin would likely keep Canelo trapped where he’s at now in getting 300,000 pay-per-view numbers for his less than thrilling matches against obscure fighters like Liam Smith.

Based on how Canelo and Golovkin both looked in their last fights, Golovkin still appears to be too good for Canelo, but you never know. Golovkin struggled at times in his recent fight against the bulked up welterweight Kell Brook last September in beating him by a 5th round knockout. I don’t know if you can truly call a fighter that walks around in the 170s a true welterweight. Brook is more of a junior middleweight who melts down to 147 than a real welterweight. If Golovkin had faced a normal sized welterweight, he likely would have blasted them out within five rounds last September. The fact that Brook was able to go five rounds with Golovkin is a product of him being more of a junior middleweight, who through great ordeal, dehydrates to 147 to fight against guys in that division.

Right now, I’d say that Golovkin would KO Canelo if they were to fight in 2016. Things might be different in September 2017 though. If Golovkin ages a little more in the next year, then Canelo will have a better chance of getting the win. If Golden Boy decides to delay the fight until 2017 based on Golovkin looking good in his fights earlier in 2017, then that will help Canelo even more.
Who wins the Golovkin vs. Canelo comes down to these categories:

– Power – This is Golovkin’s advantage. He appears to hit harder than Canelo.

– Defensive skills – Some boxing fans would say that Canelo has the better defensive skills than Golovkin because he tends to get hit a lot less. However, Golovkin intentionally puts himself in harm’s way because he wants to draw out his opponents into a war. It helps Golovkin score knockouts at a higher frequency if he lets himself get hit. If you play it safe and try not to get hit, it makes it much tougher to get a knockout. In Golovkin’s fights against Curtis Stevens and David Lemieux, he was rarely hit in those two matches. Golovkin was able to knock them both out withut getting hit much.

– Mobility – Golovkin is more mobile than Canelo. Golovkin can move around without fading badly. Canelo needs rest breaks when he moves.

– Ring IQ – This is a pretty close arena, but I still have to go with Golovkin. He seems like the smarter guy except for the fact that he puts himself in situations where he gets hit a lot.

– Experience – Canelo has more experience than Golovkin against better opposition, but he’s faced a lot of fighters that were lighter than him. It’s great that Canelo has fought guys like Shane Mosley, Kermit Cintron, Austin Trout, Amir Khan and Floyd Mayweather Jr. during his career, but he a size advantage over all of those guys.

– Trainer – Golovkin has the advantage with Abel Sanchez. He’s a great trainer.

– Youth – The 26-year-old Canelo has the advantage over the 34-year-old Golovkin. Canelo is an old looking 26. Canelo looks more like a fighter around 30 than 26. It’s possible that he’s matured fast and will have an early end to his career when he his early to mid-30s. Just like with Oscar De La Hoya, who matured quickly and was a shot fighter by his mid-30s. Canelo might lose it faster. Canelo’s loss of skills might be masked with careful match-making, because it’s hard to imagine that he’ll be put in with guys that have the potential to beat him as he ages. The fact that Canelo isn’t being matched tough now while he’s in his prime is a pretty indication that he’ll continue to be matched like this as he ages. The last time Canelo fought someone that had a chance of beating him was in 2014 when he fought Erislandy Lara, who many boxing fans felt did beat him. Canelo won a controversial split decision in a fight that produced an even more controversia resultl than the recent Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev fight.

– Size – Believe it or not, Canelo has the size advantage over Golovkin despite him saying he’s a junior middleweight. There are reports that Canelo rehydrates from the mid-170s to low 180s. The fact that Canelo isn’t being weighed in nowadays by HBO on the night of his fights gives one to think that Canelo might be rehydrating well past the 170s. Golovkin is weighed by HBO on the night of his fights and he’s around 170. The advantage in weight appears to go to Canelo.

– Stamina – This area goes to Golovkin. Canelo needs a lot of rest breaks in his fights. We’ve seen over the years in Canelo’s fights against Austin Trout, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and we saw it in his last fight against Liam Smith. Canelo needs to rest against the ropes frequently after expending energy. Fortunately for Canelo, he’s able to fight well when backed against the ropes.

– Promoter – Canelo has the advantage with him being with Golden Boy. Their stable used to be bigger, and this obviously helped Canelo get a lot of fights against well-known but not necessarily great talents.

Golovkin has a potentially grueling fight coming up in early 2017 against WBA ‘regular’ middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs). That’s a fight that could be a tough one for Golovkin. Even if he wins that fight, he’s likely going to need to take a lot of hard power shots from Jacobs in the process. Fights like that have a way of adding mileage to a fighter’s career, and shortening it.

Golden Boy will likely have easier fights for Canelo in the first half of 2017. The options for Canelo in his fights in February and May are from this list of fighters:

1.Kell Brook – I think Brook is an ideal opponent for Canelo to fight, as he’s smaller than him, and he’s coming off of a busted eye socket. The eye injury likely will mean that Brook will be less aggressive than he used to be. He would have had time to get confident with his surgcially repaired eye because he won’t be taking any tune-up fights.

2. Billy Joe Saunders – Saunders isn’t much of a puncher, and he’s the current WBO middleweight champion. You would have to think that Saunders is at the top of Golden Boy’s list for Canelo to fight in February or May.

3. David Lemieux – This would be a dangerous fight for Canelo. I still think Golden Boy will make it sooner rather than later, but probably not in the first half of 2017, because it could result in Canelo absorbing a lot of punishment. That would be bad news for hm if Golden Boy is serious about wanting to match hm against Golovin in the second half of the year in September 2017.

4. Gabriel Rosado – It’s hard to picture Rosado getting a fight against Canelo after the way he was beaten soundly by Willie Monroe Jr. last September. Canelo’s trainer has already ruled out Monroe Jr. for a fight against Canelo, even though the winner of the Rosado vs. Monroe Jr. fight was supposed to have been in the running for a fight against him.


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