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De La Hoya: Canelo has something to prove against Golovkin

Canelo Alvarez Gennady Golovkin Oscar De La Hoya

By Sean Jones: Oscar De La Hoya says Saul Canelo Alvarez has something to prove to Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in their fight on September 16. Canelo (49-1-1, 34 KOs) wants to prove himself when he gets GGG inside the ring. Canelo has a chip on his shoulders about being perceived by the boxing public as ducking Golovkin for the last 2 years. There’s nothing that can change that perception obviously.

Canelo has taken a tremendous amount of criticism from boxing fans for his decision to vacate his WBC middleweight title last year and not take the fight with the then 34-year-old Golovkin. That looked to some fans like Canelo was afraid of Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) ducking the fight with him.

Apparently, Canelo wasn’t ready to fight with Golovkin last year, because he hadn’t grown into being a middleweight at the time. The World Boxing Council had ordered the Canelo-Golovkin fight, which would have given Golovkin a big cut of the revenue for the fight due to him being the mandatory challenger to Canelo.

By giving up the WBC title, Canelo could arguably take a bigger slice of the revenue in a fight between them. Still, many of the boxing fans criticized Canelo for not fighting Golovkin last year, and that obviously has the red-haired Mexican star feeling he’s got to prove himself. Canelo has gained a lot of weight, and you can’t say he’s not a middleweight at this point. In fact, you can say that Canelo is now heavy enough to fight at super middleweight if he so desired.

Canelo looks like he’s walking around in the 180s with just 2 weeks to go before the fight. Canelo has been saying that he’s 172 to 175, but that might be his old weight in the past before he bulked up for the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fight on May 6 for their catch-weight match at 164.5 lbs. Canelo looks even bigger now than he was for that fight. So, you cannot say that Canelo isn’t a middleweight now. He’s more than big enough to fight at middleweight. You should worry a little though that Canelo might wind up a little weight drained for the fight after he cuts weight., considering how heavy he’s looking.

Something has got to give if Canelo drains down from the 180s to make the 160-lb. limit. We may not see Canelo fade in the first 6 rounds against Golovkin, but if he’s still being pressured hard in the second half of the fight, Canelo might be fighting on fumes and regretting putting all that weight on.

“You have Triple G, who only goes forward. He’s a power puncher with both hands,” said De La Hoya. ”He will try to knock you out, and his record shows it. He’s been knocking everybody out his entire career. The fact that Canelo feels he has something to prove is going to bring out the best in him It’s going to be a great fight. I think it’s going to be 5 to 8 rounds of just hell. It’s going to be great. It’s going to be exciting,” said De La Hoya.

Canelo should forget about trying to prove anything to the boxing fans. He needs to fight smart, because he doesn’t have the power of Golovkin or the size. Canelo is heavy with muscle, but the kind of weight he’s put is for short term use. That means if Canelo can’t knockout Golovkin in the first 5 to 6 rounds, which is unlikely, then he’s going to fade badly in the second half of the fight and wind up taking a beating. In that case, Canelo must hope that he wins enough of the rounds in the first half of the bout to win a decision if he’s able to survive the distance by fighting possum on the ropes like he did against Austin Trout.

Canelo gassed out after 6 rounds against Trout, and he needed to spend the last half of the fight against the ropes. It was hard to give Canelo any of the rounds in the last half of the fight due to him mainly just moving his head and upper body to keep from getting hit rather than throwing punches. Fighting like that against Golovkin would be a mistake. Golovkin has a far better jab than Trout, and he’ll use it to pick Canelo apart, no matter how much head movement he uses to avoid punches. Canelo will wear himself out with head movement if that’s all he can do in the second half of the fight.

Golden Boy Promotions and Alvarez’s decision to wait 2 years until Golovkin was 35-years-old before fighting him could result in Canelo not getting full credit if he somehow is able to beat him in their fight on September 16. Right now, Canelo, 27, is still the underdog in the fight due to his lack of power and size in comparison to Triple G. However, Golovkin is coming off back to back mediocre performances against Danny Jacobs and Kell Brook, and there’s a chance that Golovkin is no longer the fighter that he once was. HBO unofficial scorer Harold Lederman and ESPN commentator Teddy Atlas both believe Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) has lost a step due to age in his last couple of fights.

So, the question is, has Golovkin aged enough for Canelo to beat him? If Canelo does beat him is it because of him and his promoters at Golden Boy waiting until Golovkin got old before finally fighting him? What does this hold for the future for Canelo? Does this mean he’ll wait out the other tough but slightly older middleweights like the 31-year-old Sergey Derevyanchenko and 30-year-old Daniel Jacobs for them to get old enough for him to possibly beat or does Golden Boy just keep Canelo away from them permanently. They never matched Canelo against Jermall Charlo, Jermell Charlo, Jarrett Hurd or Demetrius Andrade when he was fighting at 154. Those are younger fighters, who you can’t wait out until they get old like with Golovkin.

”It’s not so much interesting for me to break Bernard’s record,” said Golovkin when asked if he’s excited about closing in on breaking Bernard Hopkins’ record for title defenses at middleweight. ”For me, it’s just to win. This is a fight for boxing. It’s a very serious true fight. It’s like a war,” said Golovkin in letting people know that breaking Hopkins’ record is meaningless.

Golovkin doesn’t care about Golden Boy Promotions executive Bernard Hopkins’ record for title defenses. The boxing public doesn’t think about records like that. It’s not going to make Golovkin a bigger star by beating Hopkins’ record for defenses. Golovkin needs Canelo’s scalp to become a bigger star, and he probably will need a knockout. A decision win for Golovkin won’t be good enough, because it will let Canelo, his loyal boxing fans and Golden Boy can protest the decision and create doubt in the minds of the boxing public that don’t have the chance to see the fight.

Crying robbery won’t work for Canelo and Golden Boy with the boxing fans that watch the fight if it appears to be a clear win for Golovkin. But when you’re the B-side fighter like Golovkin, you cannot afford to let the fight go the full 12 round distance, because it’s too risky. Canelo is very popular right now, and those type of fighters are next to impossible to beat by decision.

Canelo already has 2 controversial decision wins over Trout and Erislandy Lara that could have gone the other way. It just happens that both fights went to Canelo, the more popular fighter. The guy that Canelo has replaced at the top of boxing, Floyd Mayweather, had his own controversial wins in his career against Jose Luis Castillo and Marcos Maidana. Golovkin at least understands that he’s proibably going to need a knockout for him to beat Canelo. His trainer Abel Sanchez realizes this as well.

”Plain and simple; be smart, be first and be in the position to make Triple G pay,” said Hopkins in giving advice to Canelo in how to beat Golovkin. ”Triple G is always dangerous because he’s a puncher. He’s an aggressive fighter. He’s a fighter that doesn’t know nothing about losing. He’s never experienced it. He’s never had to deal with it, so I think Canelo has to be mentally strong and he has to be smart,” said Hopkins.

Canelo can counter punch well against Golovkin, but where he could get into trouble is if his punches don’t slow him down. Canelo is good a counter punching, but if he gets tired, flustered at the nonstop pressure, then he’s going to get worn down. Canelo loses power when he starts throwing a lot of counter shots. If all Canelo can do is slap at Golovkin due to fatigue, then he’s going to take a real beating. Being smart is nice, but it won’t help Canelo if he doesn’t have the stamina or the power to match Golovkin’s output in this fight. Golovkin is going to be relentless. The kind of pressure that Golovkin puts on Canelo is going to tax his system. All the weight that Canelo has put on recently is going to be difficult for him to carry when he gets tired.

”You know what. Every now and then he may need to take a step back, not to get into a shootout with Triple G,” said Hopkins. ”With a puncher, you don’t trade punches. Confuse him, frustrate him and make him to the point where he’s angry and he’s desperate and he’s just swinging to blow the house down. That’s when opponents will cave,” Hopkins added.

If Golovkin decides that he’s going to use his power jab and fight on the outside all night, it’s going to put the shorter-armed 5’8” Canelo in the position where he’s going to need to come forward, because he won’t stand a chance against Golovkin if the fight is fought on the outside. Canelo cannot win that type of fight. As good as Canelo was at 154, he’s like a smaller, shorter-armed version of David Lemieux. If you stuck Lemieux a 154 right now and he could make weight for that division, he would beat the same guys that Canelo beat in that weight class, but he would do it in a more impressive fashion. Lemieux is better than Canelo at punching, and he has more size.

Golovkin dominated Lemieux with his jab alone in their fight in 2015. When Lemieux would try and come forward, Golovkin would back up and continue to jab. I don’t think Hopkins sees the Canelo-GGG fight in the right way. He’s assuming that Golovkin will fight Canelo just like he did Kell Brook. It would be good for the smaller Canelo if Golovkin fought him like that, because it would put him in his wheelhouse to throw left hand counters all night long. But I don’t think Golovkin is going to do that. He’s got all that amateur experience, and he’s not going to make the same mistakes that Canelo’s past opponents made against him.

Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez will make sure that he uses his jab to soften up the features of Canelo, puff up his face, cut his eyes, bloody his nose and tenderize him before opening with body shots to stop him. Canelo’s weakness is taking body shots. That’s obviously where Golovkin will target his punches once Canelo is punch drunk from eating jabs all night long. It’s a waste of Golovkin’s time to throw shots to the head, because that’ a sucker’s way of fighting Canelo. He wants you to throw head shots so that he can make you miss and counter you. That’s why Floyd Mayweather Jr. chose to stay on the outside and jab Canelo for 12 rounds in his easy win over him in 2013. Mayweather understood that it would be stupid to throw power shots at a counter puncher like Canelo. He also did the same thing against counter puncher Juan Manuel Marquez in 2009. You don’t throw power punches against a counter puncher unless you’re willing to go to war and try and wear him down. I think Golovkin can beat in a war of attrition if he wants to, but I see him instead giving him the same treatment he did Lemieux by taking advantage of his limited height and reach.

”Right now, Triple G is maybe 4 or 5 fights from breaking or matching that record, and I’m hoping he don’t,” said Hopkins about him hoping Golovkin doesn’t break his record for title defenses at 160. “I’m looking for Canelo to win, but it won’t be an easy win. It’ll be a hard-earned win, because I believe the styles they fight are so good. What’s the style? Both fighters normally don’t back up. Whoever backs up in the fight gets beat up,” said Hopkins.

I don’t think the Canelo-Golovkin fight will play out like Hopkins thinks it will. The fighter that backs off, possibly Golovkin, can still win, as long as he’s taking advantage of Canelo’s short arms and limited height to jab him to pieces. I think it would be a mistake for Golovkin to get in the trenches and throw leather at Canelo unless he’s confident that he can take his shots and win that kind of fight. I think there’s a good chance that Canelo will tie Golovkin up repeatedly with clinches if he chooses to go to war with him. That’s a style Hopkins used at times in his fights, as well as Shane Mosley but if Golovkin stays on the outside and jabs, Canelo won’t be able to grab and hold.

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