Fightful's Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin Preview

The biggest boxing fight of the year is finally upon us (no, no, not that biggest boxing fight of the year). Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin will square off on September 16 and the winner not only can call themselves the top middleweight boxer in the world, but also perhaps the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world. Below is Fightful's preview of Canelo vs. GGG:

Gennady Golovkin is quite perhaps the best pure power puncher in the sport and has the numbers to prove it. His 33 knockout wins in just 37 fights are practically unheard of for a boxer. Feared for his unrelenting pace and strength, Golovkin is one that can knock out Canelo, even in the early going if Canelo is not careful.

Golovkin's power is certainly impressive, in fact, it's that very same power that has propelled him to the top of the division, but there in lies perhaps Golovkin's weakness. Golovkin is not the best defensive boxer in the division and his recent fights against Kell Brook and Daniel Jacobs showed those defensive lapses, especially in the fight against Jacobs. 

Golovkin's style is one that has him overpower opponents with an insane amount of punches, pressuring opponents to go on the defensive. Golovkin has the necessary power to pretty much knock any type of opponent out. 

Instead of the lighting fast and high amount of punches Golovkin usually throws whenever he fights, Golovkin opted for a somewhat slower-paced fight against Jacobs. According to CompuBox, Golovkin averages 65.4 punches per round for his career, but against Jacobs, he only averaged 51.3 punches per round. Even more startling, Golovkin averages 34.3 power punches thrown per round throughout his career, but against Jacobs, Golovkin only managed to throw an average of just 21.6 power punches per round.

As someone who is so gifted on the offensive side of boxing, a sort of anti-Floyd Mayweather if you will, Golovkin has never really needed to use his defense to win fights. Outside of the Jacobs fight, when has Golovkin ever needed to utilize his defense? A big factor to exploiting Golovkin's defensive lapses is to limit Golovkin's offense in the first place.

On the other hand, Canelo is a supremely gifted all-around boxer who excels at counter-punching. There's very little weakness in Canelo's arsenal, but that is not to say he's invincible. While Canelo not only has the power and stamina to go the distance against Golovkin, Canelo's defense is not impregnable. Looking at some of the fights Canelo has had, such as against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Amir Khan, Canelo has left his front side open at times, leaving his opponents capable of landing hard jabs and uppercuts that, with enough force, can split Canelo's defense. 

This works to Golovkin's advantage if GGG can apply pressure early. As far as age is concerned, Canelo does have a tremendous advantage, as he's only 27 years old versus Golovkin's 35. That could play a factor if the fight goes deep. Even though Golovkin did prove 12 rounds is not an issue for him in the fight against Jacobs, Canelo has way more experience fighting deep into the championship rounds against the likes of Miguel Cotto and Floyd Mayweather Jr. and thus, Canelo possess a better understanding of how to fight in long fights.

Tale of the tape:

Canelo Alvarez:

  • Age (Years fighting as a pro): 27 years old (12 years)
  • Record: 49-1-1
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Reach: 70½”  
  • Notable Fights: Floyd Mayweather Jr., Miguel Cotto, Erislandy Lara, Amir Khan, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Shane Mosley
  • World Titles Won: WBO Junior Middleweight, WBC Middleweight, WBA Junior Middleweight, WBC Junior Middleweight
  • Fightful Pound-For-Pound Ranking: #4

Gennady Golovkin:

  • Age (Years fighting as a pro): 35 years old (11 years)
  • Record: 37-0 (33 KO)
  • Height: 5’10½”
  • Reach: 70”
  • Notable Fights: Daniel Jacobs, David Lemieux, Willie Monroe Jr., Kell Brook, Marco Antonio Rubio
  • World Titles Won: IBF Middleweight, WBA Middleweight, WBC Middleweight, IBO Middleweight
  • Fightful Pound-For-Pound Ranking: #3

Betting odds (Odds from Bovada):

  • Gennady Golovkin Win: -155 (Favorite)
  • Canelo Alvarez Win: +125 (Underdog) 
  • Golovkin win via KO, TKO or DQ: +155
  • Golovkin win via Decision or Technical Decision: +275
  • Canelo win via KO, TKO or DQ: +600
  • Canelo win via Decision or Technical Decision: +190
  • Draw or Technical Draw: +1600
  • Fight ends in 9.5 rounds or less: -160
  • Fight ends in more than 9.5 rounds: -230

Where to watch:

The fight can be seen on HBO pay-per-view as well as online at RingTV.com. The undercard can be seen on the FITE TV app. 

Pay-per-view Card (8 p.m. ET, HBO PPV, RingTV.com, FITE TV app)

  • Gennady Golovkin (c) vs. Canelo Alvarez (c): WBA/IBF/WBC and Lineal, The Ring Magazine Middleweight Title Bout
  • Joseph Diaz vs. Jorge Lara: WBC Featherweight Eliminator
  • Diego De La Hoya vs. Randy Caballero: Junior Featherweight Bout
  • Ryan Martin vs. Francisco Rojo: Lightweight Bout

Undercard: (6 p.m. ET, FITE TV app)

  • Vergil Ortiz vs. Cesar Valenzuela: Junior Welterweight Bout
  • Marlen Esparza vs. Aracely Palacios: Female Flyweight Bout
  • Serhii Bohachuk vs. TBA: Junior Middleweight Bout
  • Nicola Adams vs. Alexandra Vlajk: Female Junior Bantamweight Bout

Final Thoughts:

For as much analysis and breakdown of each fighter’s strength and weakness, this fight is way too close to call. Both fighters' style perfectly complement each other and has the makings of an all-time classic. This year has been an amazing one for the sport, with record-high viewership on cable and on network television and major fights taking place throughout the year.

This fight could potentially be the second coming of the Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns fight from 1985: the two best middleweight boxers engaging in an exciting war of back-and-forth boxing that is still fondly remembered to this day. 

Final Prediction: Golovkin via decision

More on the fight will be detailed in the September 14 edition of the Fightful Boxing Newsletter. Fightful will have complete coverage of the entire card, as well as a podcast right after the main event, live on Fightful and on YouTube.

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