On Saturday night in Las Vegas, two of the best fighters in the sport right now clash in a true 50-50 fight in what is the biggest fight since Mayweather v Pacquaio. It was the fight that many thought would never happen despite the sheer public demand, but shortly after Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez saw off Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in May, Gennady Golovkin stepped into the ring and the shock announcement was made.
The build-up to the fight has been somewhat overshadowed recently by all the hype that surrounded Mayweather and McGregor’s clash, but ever since that 10th round stoppage, all eyes have been on this. Not only will it determine who the best fighter in the world is right now, but ‘GGG’ lays his WBA, WBC & IBF titles on the line also. It has all the ingredients to go down as the fight of the decade.
The 35-year-old Golovkin comes into this fight with a perfect record of 37-0 with 33 KO’s and off the back of 19 consecutive world title fights. Only Daniel Jacobs has seen the final bell in a championship bout back in March this year in a fight that many thought Jacobs had won. The Unanimous decision was given to Golovkin, and it has since been hinted by the Kazakh that he deliberately underperformed that night in order to entice Canelo into signing the contract. It can’t be argued however that he did look vulnerable against Jacobs and when you add the fact that in his previous fight, Kell Brook, a guy two weight divisions below, managed to land some tasty uppercuts on the inside before the stoppage, the suggestion is that Alvarez has been clever in delaying this bout until near the end of Golovkin’s career, when he’s not in his prime and not at his best.
The much younger Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (27) holds a record of 49-1-1 consisting of 34 KO’s with his most recent victory against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in which he totally outclassed his opponent. In the process proving he is the most talented boxer to come out of Mexico with the only defeat on his record coming back in 2013 when he was outpointed by pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather. With so many professional bouts under his belt, fighting some of the biggest names in the business, Canelo has fine-tuned his skills and turned himself into a complete boxer over the years. Technically very sound and possessing the power to knock any man out (something which Amir Khan knows all too well), Alvarez feels now is the perfect time to dethrone Golovkin and become unified middleweight champion of the world and undisputed number one boxer in the world.
This fight really could go either way and it is a tough one to call. You have to think Canelo and GoldenBoy Promotions wouldn’t have taken this fight unless they believed they were favourites. Bookmakers however make GGG slight favourite at $1.65* best price, with Canelo available at $2.40*.
Golovkin has to try and keep Canelo behind his jab, walk him down and test his ‘not too sharp’ footwork if he wants to win this fight. If Canelo however can get on the inside of that jab and let his combinations fly, Golovkin could be vulnerable to a few powerful uppercuts. It would be no surprise to see the early rounds fly-by with not much action as both fighters respect each other’s power, and if the fight does go into the later rounds, then that can only favour Canelo. ‘GGG’ has only ever been 12 rounds once, and as the older man, stamina may come into play.
Golovkin wasn’t his usual destructive self against Jacobs and I believe that is a sign of his age. As long as Canelo can avoid that jab, I believe he has the power to trouble him and take it into the later rounds. He has the power to stop him late on, but also the skills to win by decision, so taking the $2.40 available for ‘Canelo’ to win outright is the way I will be going.