A full GGG vs Canelo analysis ahead of a fight for the ages that not one boxing fan around the world will not be watching this weekend.
“No one ever achieved greatness by playing it safe”, a quote from Harry Gray that weighs up perfectly with boxing’s biggest fight of the year.
For Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, they must each find boxing immortality against their biggest rivals…each other.
This mammoth contest surpasses the pound-for-pound rematch between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev, as well as the changing of the guard between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko. Saturday September 16th will witness another keystone moment in boxing’s finest hours.
Canelo, the chosen one. The flame-haired Mexican, painting his name into his country’s folklore.
‘Triple G’, representation of a new era of boxing. The Kazakh knockout artist, staring down the barrel of the fight that will define his entire career.
The Middleweight clash between two of this generations most popular fighters, has been years in the making, but it comes to us now with both fighters still at the peak of their powers.
This is contrary to what many people believe. It has not been whispered, but rather shouted, that Golovkin is in decline. But that is merely a misinterpretation of how an athlete’s prime works.
While Alvarez 49-1-1(34KO’s) is reaching the peak of his prime, Golovkin 37-0(33KO’s) is on the other side of that mountain’s peak. He is still within his peak athletic days, and for some that decline can be a long-drawn out process that keeps one at the top for many years after their very best years – for example, it is worth noting that LeBron James has now surpassed his peak physical powers, but he is still without doubt the best basketball player on the planet.
Much has been made of Gennady’s most recent fights with Kell Brook and Daniel Jacobs. But the problem that Golovkin is encountering is a case of looking too good. When a fighter looks close to unbeatable then often our eyes will deceive us into thinking they are looking worse than they actually are. The greater the expectation, the more critical the analysis.
Sure, Golovkin took his licks in his contest with the much smaller Brook, but the Yorkshire man is a world class operator, and it was not the first time that we had seen Golovkin tagged flush.
Then the contentious win over Jacobs. Golovkin for the very first time in his career looked beatable. But lest we forget just how good of a fighter Jacobs is.
Jacobs is a big Middleweight, but also light on his feet. It was without doubt the toughest test of his career. And should we flip the script, then there is reason to believe that Alvarez would have struggled just as ‘GGG’ did that night in March.
The same issues have not been raised for Alvarez. His run of wins since losing to Floyd Mayweather have spiralled into the Mexican being once again muted as the next to take over this era of boxing.
His power has grown in the Light Middleweight division, and his body now looks primed for the 160lbs weight class. But in his biggest fights, nothing has suggested that Alvarez has the power to take out Golovkin inside the distance.
In fact, one does not believe that either fighter will force a knockout, leaving this one to be settled on the scorecards.
Without suggesting any controversy before the fight has even concluded, that may spell bad news for the unbeaten Golovkin. Canelo has been favoured in many razor-close decisions, and one judge even managed to score his fight with Mayweather a draw, despite Floyd winning pretty much every single one of the 12 rounds.
This is not to suggest that Golovkin will dominate and then see his titles robbed on the judges’ scorecards. The feeling is that there will be little to separate the two after 12 rounds, and even as the aggressor, Gennady may be the one on the wrong end of a close – not controversial – decision.
For the record, all of Golovkin’s WBC, WBA, IBF and IBO titles will be on the line – should Canelo win the WBC title will become vacant. But the silverware up for grabs on Saturday is merely a consolation prize in a fight that is all about legacy.
Canelo can have the better of the early rounds, as Golovkin attempts to flip the switch and draw Alvarez in.
The challenger will remain steely in his concentration as Golovkin’s attempts to bemuse the Mexican with his early tactical change.
But after 4 or 5 rounds fighting from range, the tension in the ring will break as Golovkin becomes more assertive with the jab. At some point in the middle rounds, Canelo will be stunned and possibly hurt as Golovkin becomes the stalker in the T-Mobile Arena.
Cheers and gasps will sound for every shot landed or missed for both fighters, adding to the drama that continues to develop in the ring.
While Golovkin’s blows will cause the most damage, Canelo will leave judges and fans split with his better accuracy from the outside.
Frustration may begin to grow for the champion as he shakes his head every time that Canelo lands flush with a crunching right cross.
Fought at such a high pace, both will have to dig deep in the championship rounds, and the feeling is that with the momentum of stalking, Golovkin will be the one to find a big finish.
Canelo may even be hurt again in the final two rounds, but will come out firing from centre ring in a dramatic finale.
A pulsating 12 rounds will be followed by a lengthy wait, with no one any the wiser as to who has won the contest.
There will be no complaints at the end, but there will be calls for a rematch as Canelo Alvarez is declared a split decision winner by the slimmest of margins.