BDB Bout Breakdown: Saúl “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin 2
The biggest fight of 2018, and initially the year’s most anticipated bout, arrives this Saturday night, as the rematch between former two-division champion Saúl “Canelo” Alvarez and unified Middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin arrives.
Almost exactly a year ago, to the day, the mega-fight between this pair of top pound-for-pound fighters went down in exciting fashion. The clash included a great deal of action and thrills, and was only originally marred by the opinion of some that Alvarez’s stamina prohibited the fight from being a real barn-burner. Then, the controversial split draw decision was announced and the boxing world was left without a winner – in a bout that looked like it had one.
The fallout palaver ensued, briefly subsiding slightly once the rematch was scheduled for Cinco de Mayo weekend, and then a pair of failed urine samples irreparably altered the trash-talk among fans who split into two distinctive factions. Those who were unforgiving about Alvarez’s Clenbuterol usage, and those who subscribed to their own rationale to move forward with an open-minded perception concerning Alvarez – one of boxing’s few superstars.
Fast forward through a NSAC hearing, Alvarez’s withdrawal from the planned bout, a six-month suspension, the Gennady-Martirosyan replacement bout, a Golovkin dis commercial featuring voice-over from a steak-eating Abel Sanchez, a relatively lackluster promotion for the rematch and now the sold-out fight is nearly within 48 hours. Oh, and now the story is there’s a lot of bad blood between the two camps. Take your pick from a litany of narratives including PEDs, injection marks, Alvarez’s current physique, illegal hand wraps, the choice of referee and judges, and even a newly launched boxing glove brand.
For everyone still along for the ride, all the beef gets settled Saturday, September 15, live from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, and a full resolution is expected. The fight will be televised live on HBO PPV with the telecast set to begin at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST. Read ahead to see how the Bite Down Boxing staff, plus one gracious special guest, sees this matchup shaking out Saturday night, and feel free to let us know what you think will transpire.
Eric Duran, Staff Writer
Whether you choose to believe Canelo Alvarez was on any type of performance enhancing drugs, meat or not, his body structure has certainly changed for the second fight. And in my honest opinion, I think it will be his downfall when he faces Gennady Golovkin in their highly anticipated rematch this saturday night.
In their first encounter, Canelo’s mass and strength allowed him to absorb and weather the attack of GGG in the earlier rounds. In the later rounds he was able to stand and trade with GGG and move him off his point of attack. He did all this as the bigger, stronger man. I just can’t see him doing it again with the lean physique he’s taking into the ring on Saturday night.
GGG has never had issues with fast fighters or boxers. Danny Jacobs had success because he was damn near a Light Heavyweight on fight night. Canelo’s speed and movement allowed him to have moments but like I stated earlier, his strength allowed him to stay competitive throughout the fight. Canelo will have to get on the inside and out hustle Golovkin, leaving himself in harm’s way. The pace Canelo will have to uphold to out punch and out maneuver Golovkin will leave him tired and weakened in the later rounds of the fight.
Golovkin will be patient and attack the body early in the fight. By rounds 9 and 10, Golovkin will have closed the distance enough to either stop Canelo or rack up enough of the later rounds to win a close, competitive fight.
R.L. “Wood” Woodson, Editor-in-Chief
Tons of tea here… To say a lot has transpired since the first fight and its controversial decision would be a colossal understatement.
Golovkin increasingly looks like just a very solid unified champion as an expanding field of legitimate world-class fighters materializes at Middleweight. Honestly, the division has taken some time to present Golovkin with a real “shark infested waters” feel.
In the first fight this writer foolishly wrote Alvarez off as a set of favorable “Tale of the Tape” measurables to be a major “hitta” at the 160-pound weight division. Who knew Canelo was as slick as he exhibited on fight night last September! However, Golovkin ate his best patented overhand right deep into the first fight, and he didn’t pause in the slightest. So, Alvarez still may not have the same impact with his power punching versus the division’s elite.
The keys for Golovkin will be to successfully track Alvarez down when the Mexican superstar wants to take any breaks over the fight’s first half, figure out how to improve his accuracy and placement of his power punches, and come into the fight with some solution to thwart Alvarez’s counter-punching. At 36-years-old Golovkin qualifies as an elder in the fight game, so in order to avoid some of the costly issues a lot of our seniors encounter nowadays, hopefully Abel Sanchez’s come forward approach includes an upgrade that once he gets inside he’s mindful to stay offline – or off-the-line. Whatever the X’s and O’s are tactically, Golovkin needs to return to his destructive nature in the ring. While this writer isn’t buying into the building animus playing a factor in this fight, the threat of another decision should be ample motivation to level up the pressure anytime Golovkin observes Alvarez with his back on the ropes.
Golovkin continues to age Saturday night, he likely won’t adjust any better to Alvarez’s use of the ring and upper body movement in this rematch. And Canelo’s new leaned out frame suggests he’ll look to focus on relying on improved stamina as the most crucial means for him to get his hand raised. He outfoxes and soundly outboxes Golovkin to hand the Kazakh his first defeat. Golovkin might even visit the canvas for his first time in his entire boxing career too.
Bite Down Boxing’s “Guest” Fight Analyst
World-level fights and rematches are often decided by which fighter can make the necessary adjustments. Which boxer can crank it up to another level?
Canelo vs. Golovkin 2 is no exception. Last year, I was ringside for the first bout. While many felt Golovkin did enough to win, the draw result was not a problem for most who were scoring the fight round-by-round (as the judges do). And going by feel alone, neither fighter really pulled away from the other or distinguished himself as the clear winner.
Golovkin utilizes pressure and accurate power shots to wear his opponents down, and he’s very good at it. But against top-level opposition, Golovkin has struggled. When he faced Daniel Jacobs, I and many others felt the latter won. Against Canelo the first time out, even if one felt that Golovkin won the fight, it wasn’t by a wide margin. Some feel Golovkin is slipping due to age; personally, I think it has more to do with the level of opposition. When GGG stopped junior middleweight Vanes Martirosyan in May of this year, he looked like his normal, destructive self.
Canelo revealed a new wrinkle to his game last year when facing Golovkin: he used excellent footwork to box and move, typically to very good effect. It was when he chose to stay on the ropes that Alvarez likely lost rounds…although he dodged many of Golovkin’s punches while there, it’s not a good look, particularly in a tight fight and certainly not when facing a flashy puncher like Golovkin).
Alvarez is, simply, the more versatile fighter with more ability to adjust. Golovkin, at age 36 and after 39 fights, doesn’t appear to have more in his toolbox than what we’ve seen. Canelo’s footwork clearly troubled Golovkin several times throughout their first contest, as did the body work when Alvarez chose to use it. While it’s boxing, meaning anything can happen, I expect Alvarez to outbox Golovkin and win the decision. If Canelo goes to the body as much as he’s said he will, it is possible he stops GGG.
Body photos by Tom Hogan