Saturday night is the night boxing fans have been waiting for – THE marquee match-up of 2018. Canelo Alvarez (49-1-2; 34 KOs) vs. Gennady Golovkin (38-0-1; 34 KOs): the rematch. This is about much more than titles, but it is also for a whole pile of Middleweight (160 lbs.) belts – IBO, WBA, WBC, The Ring, and the theoretical lineal crown. Ring Magazine ranks GGG at #1 in the division, and #1 pound for pound, with Canelo currently unranked due to his suspension. The fight takes place this Saturday, September 15 and airs on HBO PPV with a fight time of 8:00 p.m. ET. Canelo vs. GGG is the main event of a stacked four fight PPV card.
There’s a lot of backstory to this one folks. It’s been some time since we first started talking about Canelo vs. GGG, and the two first found themselves in the ring last September. Most felt Golovkin deserved the win there, but judges ruled the fight a controversial split draw. A rematch was planned for Cinco de Mayo, but when Canelo failed a drug test, he was given a six month suspension and that date was scrapped. He’s now back. In the year since the first fight, these two have developed a real rivalry with some heated words between the camps, adding a new dynamic to this rematch.
How do these two stack up?
Canelo: 28 years old | 5’9” | 70” reach | orthodox stance
Golovkin: 36 years old | 5’10” | 70” reach | orthodox stance
What have these two done recently?
Canelo: D – Gennady Golovkin (SD) | W – Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (UD) | W – Liam Smith (KO)
Golovkin: W – Vanes Martirosyan (KO) | D – Canelo Alvarez (SD) | W – Daniel Jacobs (UD)
How did these two get here?
Canelo Alvarez had his major international breakthrough back in 2011-12. He buoyed that into a 2013 fight with Floyd Mayweather that remains the only loss on his record. In 2015 he defeated a seemingly fading Miguel Cotto for the Middleweight title, and there began his troubles with fans. For the next two years, Canelo avoided all true Middleweights, taking on questionable opponents – ultimately culminating in an absolute farce against Chavez. He regained much goodwill by taking the GGG fight, but then squandered it with the failed drug test. He’s also been much criticized for being on the receiving end of multiple questionable scorecards, most notably against GGG, Mayweather, and Erislandy Lara. This is a big fight for his legacy.
Gennady Golovkin is a fearsome KO machine who has been wrecking opponents for years, picking up a big fan base since coming to HBO in 2013. During the Cotto and Canelo Middleweight title runs, many considered GGG the uncrowned champion who was being ducked by the actual title holders. In his 2016 win over Kell Brook and 2017 win over Daniel Jacobs, it seemed GGG had perhaps lost a step – understandable as he draws closer to 40. But in the time since the first Canelo fight, he’s come back strong with a nasty round 2 KO of Vanes Martirosyan that showcased the Golovkin of old. An underrated technician at times, Golovkin too has a big fight for his legacy here, and at 36, it may be one of his last really big fights if he losses.
What can fans expect?
Rematches favor the fighter and team who can learn the most from the first fight. And for all his skills, Canelo has never been a superb ring technician in there. I don’t see him approaching this fight fundamentally differently than the last one. Golovkin by all rights won that fight, so to win this one, he just needs to do what he did last time, but be careful not to give some of those early rounds away. That’s an adjustment he can make. Look for a similar fight as last time, but with GGG getting off to an earlier start, wearing Canelo down and stopping Canelo’s ability to pull off that late rally we saw last time. A late stoppage wouldn’t surprise me, and GGG better hope for that, because with Canelo in there, scores could be wild.
Prediction: Gennady Golovkin, TKO Round 10
Should you watch?
Absolutely. This is the event of the year for boxing, with huge stakes for both men. Watch it.