By Ian S Palmer
The fight everybody’s been waiting for is finally here as undefeated Gennady Golovkin of Kazakhstan will be defending his IBF, IBO, WBA and WBC Middleweight Titles against Mexican star Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez this Saturday, September 16th. The 12-round bout can be seen live on HBO pay per view in the U.S. And BoxNation pay per view in the UK from the T-Mobile Center in Las Vegas. Golovkin was last in the ring back in March when he beat Daniel Jacobs by a close unanimous decision and Alvarez last fought in May when he beat Julio Cesar Chavez by the same route. Golovkin is currently the Super World Middleweight Champion according to the WBA.
The 35-year-old Golovkin, known as Triple G, enters the ring with a perfect record of 37-0 along with 34 Kos, up until meeting Jacobs he had 23 stoppages in a row and went past 10 rounds just twice during his streak. He stands just over 5-feet-10-inches tall with a 70-inch reach and turned pro back in 2006 after a fine amateur career. Golovkin’s fought 172 rounds since then. His stiffest competition has been Jacobs, Kell Brook, David Lemieux, Willie Monroe Jr., Marco Antonio Rubio, Martin Murray, Daniel Geale, Curtis Stevens, Matthew Macklin and Gabriel Rosado.
This will be his 19th title defence, but he’s arguably yet to face a truly elite opponent. It’s hard to blame the champ though since most of the other top pound-for-pound boxers didn’t appear to want to have anything to do with the power puncher, until Jacobs that is. And the reason Alvarez has now followed suit is because the aging champion showed some flaws against Jacobs. Golovkin simply does his job no matter who he faces though and will be attempting to do the same here against Alvarez. Triple G, of course, is well known for his knockout power and has stopped 89 per cent of his opponents up to now.
In addition, Golovkin has also shown that he has a granite chin to go along with his power and fine boxing skills. He isn’t afraid of getting hit while he unleashes fierce body and head shots, but can also be patient while stalking his prey. Golovkin isn’t getting any younger though and he needs to be on the top of his game to stay undefeated. He’ll need to use those boxing skills against Alvarez as he doesn’t really want to get in a slugfest with his much younger opponent right from the get-go. If he can get into a rhythm and rack up a few rounds on the scorecards then he might want to open things up.
Alvarez is just 27 years old and is actually the Lineal Middleweight Champion. He has an excellent record of 49-1-1 along with 34 Kos. His only loss was a majority decision to Floyd Mayweather in September of 2013 while his draw was a four-round affair against Jorge Juarez back in 2006. Alvarez stands 5-feet-9-inches tall and has a reach of 70.5 inches, so there isn’t really much of a difference in those categories. He has a wealth of experience for his age since he turned pro when he was just 15 years old in 2005 and has 353 rounds under his belt since then.
Alvarez has taken on and beaten some tough opponents over the years such as Chavez, Amir Khan, Miguel Cotto, James Kirkland, Austin Trout, Erislandy Lara, Shane Mosley, Josesito Lopez, Kermit Cintron, Carlos Baldomir, and Alfredo Angulo. However, while he’s the lineal middleweight champion, he hasn’t really fought a top middleweight as of yet as he’s been fighting below the 160 lb. limit or at catchweights. Alvarez also has above-average power and enters the fight with a current knockout ratio of 67 per cent and also owns a granite chin and quick hands.
However, as Mayweather and Khan to some degree showed, the former world super welterweight and middleweight champ can be outboxed as he has difficulty handling a quick, stiff jab. Alvarez is a good boxer-puncher who likes to go to the body, but has a bit of difficulty with boxers who are mobile. That may be especially true since it looks like Alvarez has changed his training habits and resembles a bodybuilder more than a boxer at this stage. That could backfire on him if Golovkin can handle his power shots.
Alvarez has a huge advantage in age, but Golovkin edges him when it comes to power. Their boxing skills are both quite good and their experience is also pretty equal. This really is a tossup fight and it will likely come down to who owns the best chin and who really does possess the better boxing ability. A lot has been made of Golovkin’s performance against Jacobs, but he still managed to deck him and walk away with a unanimous decision, even if it was slightly controversial. Perhaps fans forget that Alvarez’s last two bouts against Chavez and Liam Smith were maybe even weaker performances than Golovkin’s. No outcome will be surprising on Saturday night as the matchup is that close. However, I think Golovkin’s got one great fight in his system and he’ll produce enough to keep his belts.