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VERY rarely does a 50-50 fight with two of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in the world materialise, but this weekend with Canelo vs Golovkin in Las Vegas it does.
The battle for ‘Supremacy’ between Mexico’s Saul Alvarez (49-1-1 34KOs) and Kazakhstan’s Gennady Golovkin (37-0 33KOs) will take place at the T-Mobile Arena with the rest of the world eagerly watching on.
“Canelo” challenges “Triple G” for his four middleweight belts with the winner set up for another big unification fight against Billy Joe Saunders next, should he defend his WBO belt against Willie Monroe Jr successfully on the same night in London.
Boxing News Online decided to get some inside information on the middleweight mega-fight by speaking with the current British middleweight champion, Tommy Langford, who was in line to face stable-mate Saunders until he suffered his first and only career loss last April at the hands of Avtandil Khurtsidze.
Langford was recently ranked #2 with the WBO until giving up his WBO Inter-Continental belt to challenge for the interim world title, which he lost by fifth-round TKO. The title he held between 2015-2016 and defended four times was next won by Willie Monroe Jr in September last year but is now owned by David Lemieux – both former victims of “Triple G”.
The British, Commonwealth and WBO Inter-Continental middleweight champion will be watching with keen interest in the early hours of Sunday morning and offered his inside industry knowledge exclusively to Boxing News Online as he breaks down the anticipated ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate in his very own 160lbs division:
It’s a tough one to analyse for the obvious reasons that it is a 50-50 fight, but also because both fighters are coming in with different levels of form.
Golovkin is undefeated and has beaten some really good fighters in his 11-year career.
In his last fight he took some stick, but he still beat a world champion in Danny Jacobs, who was probably the best in-form opponent he has had to face in recent times.
He was widely criticised for not performing well but he still got the win. If you can have an off-night and still beat a formidable world champion with ferocious punching power then that’s not at all bad is it!
He didn’t perform as well as he did against David Lemieux, where he provided a masterclass behind his incredible jab, but are the critics downplaying how good Jacobs is in their negativity towards “GGG”?
His recent performances have raised question marks because he has been tagged too often and too easily. However, is that because he hasn’t had to really defend himself? Against Brook, you could certainly argue that it was effective for the Kazakh to simply walk through the welterweight’s punches to land his own bone-shattering shots.
He is a World amateur champion and Olympic silver medalist, so he can box tremendously well but has neglected that recently in favour of his power.
That last fight, coming so close to giving away the decision, should have woken him up and he must know that he can’t do that anymore. Perhaps he and his team believed in their own invincibility too much but I doubt they’ll make that same mistake again.
Going into this fight, you would have to say that the in-form fighter is the Mexican. The way he has dismantled opponents recently has been a joy to watch.
Since losing to Mayweather in 2013, he has become a much better fighter.
He has looked very good in his recent performances but you could argue that his level of opponents hasn’t been as great as “GGG’s”.
Khan came up too far in weight to meet the Mexican, and Chavez Jr was weakened in their fight in May this year. He wasn’t the same fighter that won the WBC middleweight title in 2011.
Amir Khan boxed well against Saul and was ahead on one of the ringside judges’ scorecards until he got iced in round six.
Liam Smith, a regular sparring partner of mine, was probably the liveliest opponent Canelo has had to deal with of recent, but he, too, was broken down and finished inside the distance, like so many others.
So, you must say that, going by form, “Canelo” has the edge over Golovkin but that isn’t conclusive enough evidence to argue a win when his level of opposition hasn’t been as great as his opponent’s.
Undoubtedly, the power lies with “GGG”. His one-punch power and ability to end a fight at any given moment is unquestionable.
Canelo has a lot of stoppages – 34 from 49 wins – but very few of those have been iced out with one shot. Of course, he KO’d Khan with one superb shot but he had come up from light-welter, really. He has also been in the ring with smaller fighters for most of his career. He couldn’t get rid of Chavez despite being able to hit him freely.
Canelo can punch in bunches, he puts his shots together tremendously well and can finish fights with his combinations and relentless pressure but you just can’t imagine him ever stopping Golovkin.
Canelo is hard to hit and will be even harder to outbox, he is an exceptional counter-puncher but then so is Golovkin.
Triple G has been caught a lot by fully-fledged middleweights with power and never been troubled. Obviously, the most recent example was Jacobs, a world middleweight champion with 29 KO’s from 32 wins – that’s a fearsome stat to have but he walked through everything “The Miracle Man” had to offer. He has been in against bigger men than Canelo has and taken their best shots and still smiled through it.
In Canelo’s Las Vegas debut against Jose Miguel Cotto, he was genuinely rocked. Its eight years on and he’s a different animal but he it shows he has been vulnerable before.
If one of these two is going to get hurt in this fight then it’s more likely to be Canelo. For once, he’s in against the bigger man and a dangerous puncher, which means we haven’t seen Canelo in these waters before.
Both are exceptional boxers but when Golovkin wants to dictate the fight behind his jab then he can. If we see that fighter that can box well and use his jab and boxing skills effectively then I think he wins, and wins well.
Surely, a fight of this magnitude, one he has been calling for for years, will bring out the best in “GGG”. His last fight should serve as a wakeup call and this next fight will be the one to secure his legacy. We must end up with the best Golovkin yet.
I’ve been changing my mind again and again about who wins and I was pro-Canelo at first but I’m now thinking it’s going to be Golovkin.
There’s a big factor in Canelo’s favour in that he may have timed this fight just right. He is the younger of the pair at 27 – eight years Golovkin’s junior.
Has his team timed it perfectly? Did they swerve this fight for a few years until they finally spotted that Golovkin was ageing? Did the amount of times Brook tagged him cleanly in September last year make Team Canelo sit up and think? And was Jacobs’ success and narrow points loss enough for them to say that now is the time to take him down?
Golovkin is not the sort of fighter to sit back and pick off his opponents and get over the finish line relatively untouched. He wades in and causes damage whilst absorbing the inevitable bit back. Those wars, despite being mostly one-sided, still take its toll on a fighter.
You could easily argue that Golovkin has wanted this fight for so long that he may have taken his eye off the ball in his recent fights, hence the uncharacteristic performances where he hasn’t looked anywhere near as invincible and untouchable like he has before.
However, if that is the case and he has still got the wins under his belt whilst having his eye elsewhere, well, that’s pretty impressive really.
If he does beat “Canelo” then he will finally be the megastar of boxing, which he surprisingly isn’t even now. “Canelo” is a bigger star in boxing than Golovkin is, despite a draw and a loss on his ledger compared to Golovkin’s perfect record with a much higher KO ratio.
“GGG” knows the magnitude and importance of this fight and how it could secure his legacy once and for all so he will have a different and improved approach from other fights.
If we get to see good quality boxing from “GGG” then he breaks Canelo down.
Will it go the distance is the big question and I must say that I can’t see Golovkin getting stopped or dropped but I can see Canelo getting hurt.
He will get hit by Golovkin and when you do, you get busted up a bit, let’s be honest.
The outcome of this fight, I think, is all reliant upon seeing the boxing “GGG” can really offer. I think he has more available in his arsenal than Canelo in terms of his ability and overall game. “Canelo” does what he does fantastically well but I think “GGG” has more tricks up his sleeve and therefore more to offer.
However, if “GGG” performs the same as he did against Brook and Jacobs then he loses. If he shows the same leaky defence then he could lose on points. When Canelo puts them together he can hit from all different angles in numbers. The impressive, fluid display would be enough to swing most of the rounds his way.
I’m just to-ing and fro-ing constantly with my decision and that shows the greatness of this fight.
It reminds me of Hagler and Leonard. Hagler was made to wait too long for that fight and Leonard got the win.
Hagler had just been in the war with Mugabe, prior to that was the epic fight with Hearns, and Leonard picked his timing perfectly, which is similar to Canelo’s choice to fight Golovkin now.
Hagler was after Leonard for so long that he went out stalking him in their fight trying to knock him out after such a long, frustrating delay. It was a seriously close fight but Leonard stole the rounds with his superior game plan and nicked the decision on points, ultimately sending “Marvelous” into retirement.
“Sugar Ray” boxed clever and did what he had to do to get through and get the win. “Canelo” could do the same thing against “GGG” and box clever to bag the rounds and get the win on points.
I believe that this fight has the potential to be just as good as one of those classic mega-fights from the 80s.
Golovkin has been asking for this fight for years, he’s been chasing “Canelo” constantly and they even went face to face in the ring after he beat Cotto in 2015 to win the WBC middleweight belt, causing excited fans to believe the fight was finally on, only for him to vacate!
“GGG” has been kept hanging on by Canelo for so long which makes you wonder why Team Canelo have accepted the fight now? What have they seen?
However, I don’t believe that Golovkin makes the same mistakes as Hagler did 20-years ago.
One thing I can guarantee is that it is going to be fight!