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Canelo-GGG II: Alvarez’s reduced muscle mass leaves him vulnerable

By Allan Fox: Saul Canelo Alvarez is going to need to find a different way to win against IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin in their long awaited rematch on September 15 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Canelo (49-1-2, 34 KOs) tried to beat Golovkin by packing on a huge amount of muscle mass for the first fight, but it ultimately slowed him down, making it impossible for him to fight hard without repeated rest breaks in each round.




The added muscle didn’t increase the punching power enough for Canelo for him to score a knockout. In fact, the Hercules-like muscles that Canelo put on for the fight with GGG seemed to cause him to boil over each round like a car with a bad radiator.

Canelo has seemingly lost so much muscle mass that he looks too small to have much of a chance of beating Golovkin in a one-on-one fight. Unless Canelo is able to pack a massive amount of muscle weight on during the final weeks of training camp like he seemingly did for the previous fight, he’s going to be too small to beat Golovkin in a stand up fight. Canelo will need to use his legs to try and hit and run like he did last time. The only question is whether Golovkin will allow Canelo to use that style again to escape his bombardment. If Canelo lacks the size and power to keep GGG off him, he’s going to find it very difficult to get away from him. The only reason Canelo was able to escape punishment last time was because Golovkin was standing on the outside using his jab to take advantage of his longer reach.

Canelo feels that he’s learned from his previous fight against Golovkin, and he plans on using what he learned in the rematch. Canelo wants to mix it up with GGG more than he did last September. In that fight, Canelo waited until the 10th round before he started to come forward to brawl. The results were mixed, although not in the eyes of the three judges that worked the fight. They gave Canelo the last three rounds by a slam dunk. It looked as if Canelo still lost rounds 10 and 12. He fought well enough to win the 11th round.

Golovkin obviously knows that he can’t let the judges score the fight like last time, because Canelo’s promoters at Golden Boy Promotions were able to use their A-side negotiating muscle to get the rematch back in Las Vegas. As far as Canelo learning from the first fight, it’s unclear if can use what he learned to beat GGG without controversy. For Canelo to use what he learned, he would need size and incredible conditioning. Canelo won’t have the size. He’s looking very small after having lost a lot of muscle mass. The conditioning might not be there for Canelo either, considering that he’s always had poor conditioning his entire pro career. Even when Canelo was smaller and fighting at welterweight, he had poor stamina. Going back to a smaller size for the Golovkin fight won’t guarantee an improved stamina for Canelo.

If Canelo attacks Golovkin at an earlier point in the fight, we may see a fast knockout for GGG, as he’s the true knockout puncher of the two. Canelo’s knockouts have typically taken place when he had a huge size advantage over his less than talented opposition. The guys that Canelo has knocked out have been beatable fighters that were smaller than him like Amir Khan. For Canelo to knockout Golovkin, he’s going to need to come forward and throw a massive amount of shots. If Canelo can do that, he might have a chance but Golovkin has a very good jab that enables him to control the fight from the outside. If Golovkin is unable to handle Canelo’s work rate at close range, you can bet that he’s going to back off and fire his jab from the outside. If Canelo is walking into jabs like he was doing in the previous fight, it’s going to leave the judges in the position where they’re going to need to decide whether to score the rounds based on the occasional punches that Canelo lands. He can’t beat Golovkin from the outside because his arms are too short and his legs not quick enough to close the distance.

The previous Canelo-Golovkin fight was shockingly scored a 12 round draw by the Nevada judges. They saw a different fight from the boxing fans that paid to see it live. The rematch next month will hopefully resolve the anger that fans had over the controversial draw from the first fight. Canelo arguably had more boxing fans on his side going into the first fight with GGG, but the fans were angry afterwards at seeing the judges fail to score it in a logical manner. Instead of the judges giving it to Golovkin, who appeared to win by a comfortable margin, they scored it as a tie. To a lot of boxing fans, it looked like a setup in order to make sure there was a second fight.

The previous results from the first fight are now viewed with suspicion by fans due to Canelo testing positive for a banned performance enhancing substance clenbuterol last February while training for the May 5 rematch with Golovkin. Canelo’s subsequent six month suspension handed down by the Nevada State Athletic Commission will be expiring this month on August 17, just in time for his rematch with GGG on September 15. As you would expect, Golovkin was none too happy at learning about Canelo’s two positive tests for clenbuterol.

Golovkin is no longer the smiling, friendly guy that he was before his first fight with the Golden Boy promoted Canelo. GGG now seems jaded by the experience, and out for blood in the rematch. He looks like he wants to spoil it for the judges so that they don’t get a chance to put their questionable stamps on the results like many boxing fans felt they did last time. Unfortunately for GGG, as the visiting fighter, he may need to knock Canelo out if he doesn’t want to wind up in the same boat as he was last time. Las Vegas is still Canelo’s venue.

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