It’s official. Gennady Golovkin is getting the fights he's been longing for.
The unbeaten Kazakhstan slugger owns two middleweight title belts, has built a brand on a knockout streak that stretches back to the George W. Bush presidency and will presumably have a chance to add the division's other relevant crowns to his collection by the time the White House's next resident arrives.
Golovkin is already sealed and delivered to meet IBF claimant David Lemieux in October.
And now that Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez are contracted to duel for the WBC's 160-pound share in November, his claim of "I've got next" has been officially validated by the Mexican-based organization.
Triple-G is a prohibitive favorite on Oddschecker to dispatch the twice-beaten Lemieux, a 26-year-old Montreal native who'll be making the first defense of the vacant title he won in June. So it’s assumed by most that he'll be ringside at Mandalay Bay to get an up-close look at the long-awaited pre-Thanksgiving meeting.
And while the possibility exists the Cotto-Canelo winner could simply vacate the WBC crown and take his jewelry back to more comfortable 154-pound surroundings, it's at least worth pondering what an ultimate middleweight showdown with Golovkin might look like if it actually occurs.
Canelo Alvarez: What will it take?
It seems to be a can't-miss proposition.
Golovkin is aggressive and heavy-handed, while Alvarez is a strong counterpuncher with power of his own and respectable, if not Mayweather-level, speed. Such a blend almost guarantees an action fight while almost equally ensures that one of the fighters won't be around for the final bell.
And though Golovkin, at 33, is eight years older, he’s also naturally bigger and would stand to enter the ring with an inch-and-a-half height advantage and a long-standing reputation of having fought, and knocked out, bigger men.
He's been a pro for nine years and has fought 33 times between 158 and 162 pounds, while Alvarez turned pro as a junior welterweight and has never weighed in beyond 155 in 47 fights.
Given that edge, Golovkin’s best approach would be to establish his jab for the first few rounds while feeling out his foe before ultimately working his way to the inside and mixing up the power of his shots to unleash uppercuts and hooks to Alvarez's head and body.
As rounds elapse, he'd presumably temper Canelo's aggression and begin to make him move backward, which would signal the beginning of the end. Alvarez, though sturdy, is neither technically superior to nor more powerful than Golovkin—a bad combination.
Though it'd be grueling while it lasted, it's probably a fight Golovkin wins before Round 10.
Miguel Cotto: What will it take?
The Puerto Rican's recent resurrection has been the feel-good story of boxing’s summer.
Nevertheless, as recently as a couple of years ago, the proposition of him—before he joined forces with trainer Freddie Roach—meeting a fighter on the level of Golovkin would have been preposterous.
"A lot of people said Michael Jordan would not have been Michael Jordan without Scottie Pippen," Cotto told a media gathering in June 2014, three days before shocking Sergio Martinez to win the WBC middleweight title belt that he'll risk against Alvarez. "I think I found my Pippen in Freddie Roach."
The Cotto-Roach duo has beaten Delvin Rodriguez (TKO 3), Martinez (TKO 10) and Daniel Geale (TKO 4), but comparing a prime Golovkin to any of those would be a gross inflation of Cotto's current prowess.
He does his best work from range and has a terrifically well-schooled left hand capable of doing damage to both body and head. The problem is that he's never faced—let alone toppled—a prime middleweight, which is precisely what he'd be up against should the Golovkin fight ever occur.
The power that numbed Rodriguez and dissuaded Geale would not sway a fighter who's been hit—and undaunted—by natural middleweights. And Cotto, while undeniably crafty, doesn't have the sort of foot speed that would allow him to avoid Golovkin for 12 full rounds. The longer he stays in range, the more he'll be hit by Golovkin. And the more he's hit by Golovkin, the less punishment he'll be able to take.
Think of the first fight with Antonio Margarito. Cotto was effective in spots but was ultimately unable to keep the bigger, stronger and perpetually aggressive Mexican off him. Against Golovkin, it would look the same, only the opponent would be 13 pounds larger and far more technically adept—leading to the same end.
In fact, if Cotto is competitive beyond six rounds, Roach would deserve another nod for trainer of the year.