Canelo – Golovkin: Time for the Real Fight
By Michael Montero – Just minutes after the circus left Las Vegas three weeks ago, boxing fans have been buzzing about the biggest middleweight championship fight in years. This Saturday inside the sold-out T-Mobile Arena, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez puts his lineal middleweight crown on the line against Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and his unified WBC, WBA, IBF and IBO titles. Although the WBC and IBO titles will not be on the line for the red-headed Mexican (he refuses to work with the WBC and does not recognize the IBO), make no mistake, the winner of this fight will be THE MAN at 160 pounds. It’s a refreshing contrast from what took place inside the same arena on August 26th – no exaggerated gate revenue claims, no false reports of ticket sales and PPV buy rates, no undeserved paydays, no professional debuts, no WWE style promoting – but rather two elite level boxers still in their prime, putting it all on the line in for true fight fans.
Many have claimed that its coming a year or more too late, but the truth is that September 16th is the perfect date for Canelo-GGG. Back in November of 2015 when Alvarez beat Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto to claim the lineal and WBC titles, thus inheriting interim titlist Golovkin, a Canelo-GGG showdown was premature. Golden Boy Promotions and their prized pupil received much criticism for delaying the match with GGG, but the fight is much bigger now than it would have been at that time. Along with the criticism has come two years of promotional hype from boxing fans and media. Further, Canelo seems to have improved over the past two years, while Golovkin has looked vulnerable at times. All things considered, with this fight taking place now, it appears to be at its most competitive apex. Vegas odds makers agree, with Golovkin a competitive favorite at 155.
In terms of style, this matchup is a natural. Canelo is a natural counter puncher, while Golovkin is a seek and destroy swarmer. But what are the keys to victory for fighter? For Canelo, his mission is to dig to the body early and often, while avoiding Golovkin’s jab with his excellent head movement. For GGG, it all starts with his signature jackhammer jab, which may be the best in the business now that WladimirKlitschko has retired, as well as applying constant pressure. If Canelo can make Golovkin miss and respond with his own flurries, forcing him to constantly reset, how will the pride of Kazakhstan react? If GGG can land his land his jab at will, pressure his opponent and wear him down, how will Alvarez respond?
The judges for this contest are Dave Moretti, Adalaide Byrd and Don Trella, along with referee Kenny Bayless. Will the old guard Nevada State Athletic Commission crewof Moretti, Byrd and Bayless show favor to the house fighter? How might the pro-Canelo crowd sway their judgement? With 3-4 million fans having just shelled out $100 for the circus a few weeks back, and a somewhat lackluster undercard for Canelo-GGG, how will the PPV sell? These questions only add to the intrigue for the biggest fight in what has been a stellar year in boxing.
Michael Montero can be found on Twitter, Youtube, Facebook and Instagram via @MonteroOnBoxing