Everything You Need to Know for Gennady Golovkin vs. Canelo Alvarez

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2017

Everything You Need to Know for Gennady Golovkin vs. Canelo Alvarez

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin have been on a collision course to decide middleweight supremacy since 2015 when Alvarez won the lineal middleweight championship from Miguel Cotto by unanimous decision.

    For two long years, fans and media have bantered about which fighter would win should the two ever face each other. Alvarez had reason to wait so long. His first middleweight bout ever was against Cotto, and that was a catchweight bout at 155 pounds.

    Why rush into the 160-pound waters so quickly—especially against a middleweight behemoth like Golovkin?

    While Alvarez took his time making the fight, Golovkin continued his dominance over the division. Make no mistake. Golovkin is one of the most feared knockout punchers in boxing history and perhaps one of the better middleweights ever.

    But the time has come for the men to finally do battle. Alvarez and Golovkin are easily the two best middleweights in boxing and two of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. On Saturday, Sept. 16, on HBO pay-per-view at 8 p.m. ET, Canelo vs. Golovkin will finally happen. 

    Here’s everything you need to know about the fight.

Canelo Alvarez

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    John Locher/Associated Press

    Age: 27

    Height: 6'0"

    Weight: 159

    Reach: 71 inches

    Stance: Orthodox

    Record: 49-1-1, (34 KOs)

    Rounds Fought: 353

    Trainers: Jose and Eddy Reynoso

    Strengths: Combination punching, handspeed

    Weaknesses: One-punch KO power (above junior middleweight)

    General Analysis: Alvarez is one of boxing’s best combination punchers. He’s fast-handed and has fast enough feet for a fighter his size. He excels against come-forward fighters who stand straight up like Golovkin. While Alvarez is more a 154-pound fighter than a true middleweight, his dominant performances over Miguel Cotto in 2015 and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in 2017 proved he has enough power at 160 to do some real damage. The real question heading into the bout against Golovkin: How well can he take Golovkin’s ridiculously strong punches?

Gennady Golovkin

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    Age: 35

    Height: 5'11"

    Weight: 160

    Reach: 70 inches

    Stance: Orthodox

    Record: 37-0, (33 KOs)

    Rounds Fought: 172

    Trainer: Abel Sanchez

    Strengths: Punching power and overall offense

    Weaknesses: Defense (primarily head movement)

    General Analysis: Golovkin is a knockout machine. He possesses excellent boxing skills and techniques but uses them to shuffle forward and pressure his opponents into making mistakes. Most everyone who has stood in front of Golovkin at middleweight over the last 10 years has been pummeled to the floor by Golovkin’s exceptional power. The only fighter to go the full 12 rounds with Golovkin in recent history is Danny Jacobs earlier this year. Was age a factor? Golovkin is 35 years old and looked a bit sluggish against Jacobs. Or did Golovkin just have an off night? If Golovkin can land his punches on Alvarez with consistency, he's likely to wear Alvarez down as the fight progresses or knock him down and out altogether. 

What's at Stake?

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    The winner of Canelo-Golovkin will become the true king of the middleweight division. He will hold three of the four major alphabet titles (WBC, WBA and IBF), along with the Ring magazine and Transnational Boxing Rankings Board middleweight championships. While some already consider Alvarez the current lineal champion, the bout will remove all doubt about that historically important designation as the winner will be universally recognized as lineal champ. That will leave one meaningful middleweight title in another man’s hands, the WBO title currently held by Billy Joe Saunders.

    Both fighters are ranked within the top eight of boxing’s most legitimate pound-for-pound rankings (TBRB, Ring Magazine, BWAA). The winner could conceivably leapfrog Andre Ward to supplant him as the most elite boxer in the sport and will most assuredly warrant at least a spot among the top three.

    Golovkin has defended at least some major version of the middleweight title 18 times. The record for 160-pound title defenses is 20 (Bernard Hopkins).  

    Perhaps most importantly to the prizefighters and their teams, the winner of this middleweight battle will likely become the top pay-per-view draw in boxing. With Floyd Mayweather Jr. retired again after his knockout win over Conor McGregor and fans' slow recognition of Ward’s excellence as a fighter, the throne is ripe for the taking.

Odds and Where to Watch

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    Odds: According to OddsShark on day of publication, Golovkin (-155) is the favorite and Alvarez is the underdog (+125). The general consensus among boxing writers indicates Alvarez will not be able to overcome Golovkin’s tremendous power.

    What: Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin for Alvarez’s Ring magazine middleweight championship and Golovkin’s IBF, WBA and WBC world title belts. According to the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, the winner of the bout will also be crowned the lineal middleweight champion, something some people already consider Alvarez as by virtue of his November 2015 win over Miguel Cotto.

    When: Saturday, Sept. 16

    Where: T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas

    TV: HBO PPV at 8 p.m. ET, 5 p.m. PT (Also available via www.RingTV.com)

    TV Undercard: Joseph Diaz Jr. vs. Jorge Lara, Randy Caballero vs. Diego De La Hoya, Ryan Martin vs. Francisco Rojo

Prediction

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    Golovkin is the betting favorite and probably should be. He’s been the most dominant middleweight fighter for over half a decade now, and he’s considered by some to be one of the best middleweights ever.

    It’s safe to say the majority of the fight writers and fans will favor Golovkin to win the bout. This point of view generally indicates Alvarez is overrated and underpowered above 154 pounds, and that Golovkin will walk forward and eat most of Alvarez’s punches with no problem. Moreover, it’s conceivable Alvarez will be in real trouble the first time he tastes Golovkin’s tremendous power.

    My prediction is different. I believe Alvarez is underrated and will shock the world with a decision win over Golovkin. He’s an outstanding combination puncher, and Golovkin will have trouble with Alvarez’s clean counters as he walks into them. This will make Golovkin's offense less effective, and Alvarez will outbox him over 12 rounds of action. 

    Alvarez isn’t a knockout artist like Golovkin, but his punches land with legitimate weight behind them. Moreover, Alvarez has shown excellent defensive skills over the last three years and, at 27 years old, is in the prime of his life.

    Prediction: Golovkin is the betting favorite, but I like Alvarez to capture the upset win via majority decision.