Canelo faces many risks when he steps in there with Gennady Golovkin next month in Las Vegas but as in boxing and life, no risk no reward.
By Jacob Ellis and Chris Henderson
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez is near the top of the boxing world. Unfortunately, when you are so close to the summit, it does not come without risk.
This one in the form of an avalanche known as Gennady Golovkin as the two are set to meet on September 16th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Golovkin, the current Middleweight kingpin from Kazakhstan and holder of 18 consecutive title defenses in the division has been a model of consistency during that time in which he has faced nearly every threat to his reign & turned them away with disdain.
Oscar De La Hoya, Head of Golden Boy Promotions, Canelo’s promoter, publicly stated that he has put off this match at least since May 2016 as he said this fight needed time to “marinate”. The natural implication in that for Canelo doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.
In the meantime Alvarez would get the opportunity to gain some experience but in reality how much has Canelo done to prepare for the force of nature known as GGG?
His last fight was against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and was the first of his career at or above the 160 pound middleweight limit.
His previous “middleweight” fights were all contested at 155lbs including his victory over Miguel Cotto for the lineal title of the 160lb division. Despite the trend of catch weight bouts accommodating the wishes of Golden Boy and Alvarez, weight divisions matter.
Imposing his will on a drained Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, his best days long past, could not possibly get him ready for what’s coming his way.
A walk in the park compared to the natural disaster that portends. If disaster strikes, how much could have been averted in lieu of De La Hoya’s risk averse moves?
Looking back at his record as of late, the competition appears to be somewhat less than stellar.
He fought Liam Smith for Smith’s WBO Jr Middleweight title in September of last year. In hindsight Smith posed about as much threat as a gust of wind.
A decent pugilist from the U.K. who most recently had more than his hands full vs. domestic rival Liam Williams.
In May of 2016 he faced Amir Khan, as the former lightweight moved up to face Alvarez at a catchweight of 155 lbs. After constantly beating Canelo to the punch with flashy combinations early, Khan’s castle made of sand washed to sea in the 6th round. A highlight reel finish for Alvarez no question, perhaps “fools gold”?
Meanwhile, the man known as GGG has faced a higher level of opposition. His last challenger Daniel Jacobs gave a strong account of himself becoming the first man to force Golovkin to go 12 rounds.
Jacobs has many physical attributes that make him a difficult proposition for any current top 5 middleweight.
As a former National Golden Gloves winner and United States National Amateur Middleweight Champion, Jacobs has a very good boxing pedigree. Golovkin won an unanimous decision over Jacobs in what was no doubt his toughest test to date.
In September of last year he faced Kell Brook, who purportedly gave Golovkin fits early on. Brook was an undefeated world champion at welterweight going into the match vs GGG. The Kazakhstan native was able to stop Brook in the 5th round as Brooks corner called a halt to the fight.
The odds makers certainly favor Golovkin as they should. It’s not a knock on Alvarez’s ability but more than anything a testament to Gennady’s.
This will be a massive leap for Alvarez. Canelo is attempting to scale the equivalent of K2 here, pun intended. And, he’s trying to do it Alpine style.