GGG v Canelo may not be a 50/50 as many expect

Image: GGG v Canelo may not be a 50/50 as many expect

By Gavin Howie: The September 16 super fight between Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez is around the corner and the odds between the 2 fighters are getting closer and closer.

It is not a common thing for a fighter to move up in weight to take on, and defeat a unified champion. Even more difficult when that challenge is against such a dominant and experienced middleweight in GGG. When you look at each of the fighter’s toughest fights, Canelo could perhaps have a few more loses on his record than he has. The Erislandy Lara, and Austin Trout fights were very close decisions. Golovkin’s most difficult fights most people say were his most recent encounters with Kell Brook, and Danny Jacobs. Yes, he did not look his usual self, but still won both fights, still showed he has the power to hurt and got the wins. I believe his performances have dropped slightly in his past 2 fights, are due to him being frustrated at not getting his big fight against Canelo, after so many let downs over the years.

These fighters leave little to the imagination in terms of how they fight. Canelo likes to fight in bursts with quick combos and looking to counter. He also struggles to fight for the full 3 minutes of every round. Golovkin likes to come forward, doesn’t mind taking a punch or 2 so he can land his own, and is relentless for the full 3 minutes of each round. The only time Golovkin has swayed from this usual strategy is when he is aware his opponent is a notable heavy hitter. His recent fights against David Lemieux and Jacobs are testament to this, where he will instead use his ring craft and boxing skill, and utilize his jab to take control of the fight that way. Still he has the same energy for the full 3 minutes of every round and can carry his power late. The stoppage of Martin Murray in round 11 shows he still has that power late on if needed.

The way I see this fight play out is a one-sided affair. I don’t see this as a close fight. It will be entertaining, but not as close as many are predicting. When you look at what the both fighters offer, who they are. Canelo is a good counter boxer who throws lovely combos and has gone 12 rounds many times. He has had some very close decisions go his way, and he has been rocked several times in his career, against Jose Miguel Cotto and Floyd Mayweather to name a few. Canelo likes to fight in bursts and must take breaks every now and then by sitting on the ropes. Canelo also does not have the kind of power to keep you off, his show reel knockouts of James Kirkland and Amir Khan do look good. But both these opponents do have very fragile chins. Canelo’s recent outing against a weight drained Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. showed he could not put a dent in anyone with a good chin.

Golovkin is a come forward aggressive fighter, who does little to avoid getting hit, so he can land his own shots. He has a granite chin. Has never been put down or even rocked, either in amateur, professional, or sparring in 387 fights. He is relentless and fights for a full 3 minutes of every round, cuts you off, has excellent ring generalship and footwork. His jab is like a power shot of its own, and with his longer reach i can see Canelo eating a lot of these as the fight goes on.

The way I see the fight pan out is for the first round or 2, slightly cagey from both, but with Golovkin taking the center of the ring and landing a shot or 2 just to let Canelo feel his power. I then see Golovkin completely dominating the fight, coming forward with absolutely no regard for Canelo’s lack of punching power and pushing him back, hurting him to both head and body. I can’t see the fight going into the championship rounds and thus predict GGG by KO round 9.

Golovkin is quite possibly the most dominant middleweight of the past 20 years who has been avoided most of his career. Canelo is stepping up in weight to fight this guy, and will come again. He is young enough and has huge fan base to have many more years ahead. I just believe this is Golovkin’s time and credit Canelo for finally taking this fight, when many others have avoided Golovkin like the plague.