Check out the Bloody Elbow staff’s picks and predictions for Saturday night’s big middleweight championship fight between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez.
The Bloody Elbow team has made its predictions for the super showdown between Canelo Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) and Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs). Perhaps this is spurred on by Golovkin’s less-than-stellar outing against Daniel Jacobs, but the overwhelming majority of us have got the Mexican superstar Canelo taking the victory over the man from Kazakhstan. I bet if we ran this two years ago, it’d be a near-unanimous vote for Canelo.
At stake are Golovkin’s gaggle of major and minor world titles, while Canelo is the lineal middleweight champion. I cannot wait for this fight, and hopefully it adds to what’s been a phenomenal year for boxing after a bitterly disappointing 2016.
Note: Please welcome Joshua Broom to the Bloody Elbow team. He will be helping us with our Canelo vs. GGG fight night coverage on Saturday.
Gennady Golovkin vs. Canelo Alvarez
Mookie Alexander: Adelaide Byrd and Dave Moretti are two of the three judges here. I dread to think what scorecards they might turn in, especially considering Canelo has managed one draw score vs. Mayweather, 119-109 vs. Cotto, and some favorable scoring in the Austin Trout fight.
I do believe that Golovkin is declining a little bit. The Kell Brook fight I still tend to dismiss as him being a little reckless and sloppy facing an opponent who normally fights at 147, but the Jacobs fight, arguably the best opponent he’s ever faced, was not a Golovkin-like performance. Some of it is due to Jacobs being a damn good fighter, but there were some things from GGG that concerned me. His hooks were still sloppy and he looked sluggish. The body shots weren’t being thrown that often and not with conviction, either. It wasn’t an especially impressive pace, and he can’t afford to fight that way vs. Canelo. Another aspect worth pointing out is that Jacobs was the taller man with a longer reach, so perhaps GGG wasn’t as comfortable at a physical disadvantage. Against Canelo, he’ll be just about equal in terms of height and reach.
With all of that said, Canelo has zero actual fights at 160. His previous middleweight fights were at 155 catchweights, against guys (Khan and Cotto) who themselves aren’t middleweights. The 164.5 catchweight was against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, who fought like he just wanted a paycheck. So in effect, the first actual middleweight fight for Alvarez is against the consensus #1 fighter in the division.
What I’m interested to see is how both men commit to their jabs. GGG’s is outstanding, Canelo’s is also good but not as powerful and sharp as Gennady’s. If Alvarez struggles with Golovkin’s jab, that’s a huge plus for GGG, as it was when he beat David Lemieux. The game changes if Canelo is capable of slipping the jab and working off the counter. Both men possess vicious body punching and have scored multiple knockdowns and knockouts with crushing liver shots. Alvarez is a B+ puncher who gets advertised as A+. GGG is an A+ puncher, no doubt about it. You do not have to be an amazing knockout artist to break someone down to the body, though. I’m fascinated to see if that’s going to be Canelo’s path to hurting Golovkin and/or slowing him down. The combination punching advantage is Alvarez’s, in my opinion. He’s so well-drilled in mixing up his shots, and he’s gotten much better as a boxer since losing to Mayweather.
I’m rambling on here so let me wrap this up. What I love the most about this fight is it’s truly 50-50. So many PPV blockbusters have a clear winner in mind, but this isn’t the case here. We may not see a war, which is what’s been advertised, but we will see high-level boxing, interesting tactical adjustments, and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out. I still believe GGG is the best at 160, and that he’ll work at a more deliberate pace, one that Canelo will not be able to match. I’d be surprised if this ends in a knockout, as both men are so difficult to hurt. I’ve got Gennady Golovkin by unanimous decision.
Ram Gilboa: This is some fight. A Mexican style standoff that had to get done. I believe Golovkin has the right tools – a right one and a left one – to take Canelo out within the distance. But I also believe that growing up ginger in the vicinity of Guadalajara makes for its own condensed evolution, a survival of the fittest – in other words, you’ve got to know how to fight. This one should be about technique and power, spirit, and cojones. Saul Alvarez by Decision.
Stephie Haynes: I’ve gone back and forth, agonizing over this fight, and the one factor I keep coming back to is power, of which GGG has in droves. He may be a bit long in the tooth these days, but he’s still in his prime, if on the outer limits of it at this point. It wouldn’t be accurate to call it an honest to God decline, but that may change in the next year or two. I don’t see Gennady’s size being that big a factor, nor his speed because let’s face it, he’s got plenty of thunder, but not a whole lot of lightning. But that power, combined with the odd angles he throws from, is the gamechanger.
I’d originally thought to go with Canelo, citing GGG’s lackluster performance against Danny Jacobs as reasoning to pick the cinnamon kid, but I’m sure he’s been over that fight a million times in efforts to shore up any problems, so I’m gonna take the gut gamble and say the Big Drama Show gets it done. Gennady Golovkin via Decision.
Fraser Coffeen: From the first moment this fight started getting hyped up, GGG was the favorite. And I get why. He’s clearly the more powerful puncher, he’s bigger, and he wins in more spectacular fashion. But I think there’s been a bit of weird anti-Canelo revisionism that’s happened over the past few years. He’s stronger than some give him credit for, and he’s certainly more technical that many give him credit for. Plus he’s got those body shots. He’s not as powerful as GGG for sure, but I give him the technique edge. So the big question here becomes how much of a decline Golovkin is in – and I think it’s more notable than tends to be presented. He looked weird in both the Brook and Jacobs fights.
Now it’s true, those are both world class opponents, but what bothered me there was the way GGG fought – he was being a reckless headhunter at times, and not the calculated killing machine he’s known for. He got away with it there, but Jacobs came oh so close to taking that decision (I had it 114-113 Golovkin). Jacobs showed a path to victory, and it’s a path Canelo can take. And most importantly, Canelo knows it or he wouldn’t have taken this fight now. This is far from a lock – Golovkin’s power means it’s never a lock with him. But I feel like the smart bet is on the Cinnamon one. Canelo Alvarez, decision
Tim Burke: I have been trying to come up with a confident prediction for this fight and I still can’t. This is one of my dream fights. This is what boxing should be, and all I want is the best fight possible. But with a gun to my head, I feel like Canelo has made tremendous technical improvements over the past few years and that will negate Golovkin’s power advantage. I’m surprised at all the betting on a late stoppage, as I think Canelo will persevere late and take a solid decision. I think. I hope? Vamos Mexico! Canelo by decision (115-113, 115-113, 116-112)
Phil Mackenzie: Despite being both Mexican and ginger, there is little fiery about Canelo. Instead I’d categorize his fighting style as “stubbornly technical”. He sits inside the boundaries of a functional boxing approach, and he will not leave it, no matter what happens. It’s why he boxed with Mayweather for 12 rounds rather than just crowding the smaller, older man. He’s not particularly fast, or world-endingly powerful, but he can make himself appear to be both simply because he is so rarely out of position that he’s hard to hit clean and always ready to capitalize on errors with big shots.
Golovkin is a bonecrunching hitter, with a stiff jab and a very underrated body attack, but if Alvarez is the heir to the Mayweather throne, then I think he took the right lessons from Floyd: namely, fight your man at the right time. As Fraser mentioned, GGG has looked a bit like he is forcing it in his latest fights. The big question is whether he can shake Alvarez out of his tracks: to force him into being conservative, or even freak him out into attacking when he shouldn’t. I suspect if Alvarez stays calm, his better defense and comparative youth will both play dividends in what I suspect will be a close decision which makes a lot of people mad, a la Ward-Kovalev. Canelo Alvarez by decision.
Joshua Broom: Given the timing of this fight’s consummation, and in-ring styles of each man, on paper GGG-Canelo is a true ‘pick-em’ affair.
However, after mauling a cadre of lesser foes while avoided by the division’s elite, at 35-years GGG has begun to show his age.
Opposite a blown-up Kell Brook and legitimate world-class fighter in Danny Jacobs, Golovkin’s mystique faded with his reflexes.
GBP and Canelo’s people took note and pounced toward the longtime titleist with extended contract following Alvarez’ easy recent win vs. Chavez Jr.
That said, on Saturday night, expect 27-year-old Saul Alvarez to be the faster, stronger, and more lively man as his promotional banner looks on.
When mulling fight particulars, one must acknowledge that power is the last tool to drop from a pugilist’s arsenal. Therefore, GGG will maintain an aura of danger early.
Although, with each passing round, ‘Canelo’ will find ways to penetrate his naturally larger foe’s active jab and land stinging body-head combinations.
When the final bell sounds, Alvarez’ stock, and trinket collection, will rise. Alvarez by majority decision.
Staff picking GGG: Stephie, Mookie
Staff picking Canelo: Nick, Ram, Fraser, Phil, Tim, Joshua, Connor