The Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin fight lived up to the hype with a classic middleweight battle that ended in a somewhat controversial draw. One judge scored it 118-110 for Canelo, a second judge had it 115-113 for Golovkin and the third had it even.
This is the kind of fight I wouldn’t bet on. It’s a real 50-50 fight, in which both fighters will have their moments.
As I wrote in Saturday’s edition of The Times, I think the early rounds with be more tactical than people expect. Golovkin’s long and powerful jab will be the key in the first few rounds.
Keep an eye on whether Alvarez can use his own jab effectively. Alvarez will have to use angles while doubling and tripling up on his jab. If Alvarez can advance behind that jab – this will require a certain degree of footspeed I’m not sure he possesses – this will be a good night for him.
Regardless of whether Alvarez can land his jab, he will have chances. Golovkin isn’t as flexible as Alvarez and often covers up instead of slipping punches. This will offer Alvarez opportunities to throw his trademark combinations.
Once that happens, look for the violence to escalate immediately. Golovkin surely has to be aware he is fighting in front of a pro-Alvarez crowd, which could sway the judges. If the quicker Alvarez throws a flashy combination, Golovkin will be compelled to answer.
Stamina could be the deciding factor. Alvarez has demonstrated great professionalism throughout his career by never missing weight and always showing up to fights well-prepared. Nonetheless, he always seems to tire. Golovkin never fatigues.
I see Golovkin claiming the late rounds and winning a decision on my scorecard, which, in my opinion, is the scorecard that really matters. But this is boxing, so who knows if the judges will see it the same way.
- DYLAN HERNANDEZ, LA Times columnist
From the time the idea of a Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez match was born two years ago, the prevailing wisdom has seemed to be that Golovkin’s crushing power would expose the popular redhead.
Times have changed.
While Alvarez, 27, has strengthened both his body and skill, Golovkin, 35, has shown some slips.
Tonight at T-Mobile Arena, I’m expecting Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 knockouts) to emerge with a split-decision victory over three-belt middleweight champion Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs).
Alvarez, since his promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, first balked at Golovkin in late 2015, has shown sudden knockout power against former 140-pound champion Amir Khan, along with the ability to wear down a foe, like then-154-pound champion Liam Smith, with hard blows.
And although many critics dismiss those victories and May’s one-sided beating of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., veteran matchmaker Don Chargin says Alvarez’s development of a whipping left hand to the body has reached near perfection – a throwback to the legacy of the best warrior boxers from Mexico.
Golovkin, meanwhile, came back from a victory last year over then-welterweight champion Kell Brook with a puffy face. Yes, he broke Brook’s orbital bone, but those punches that landed weren’t coming from a true 160-pounder with the defensive skill of Alvarez.
Then, Golovkin escaped Madison Square Garden in March with a narrow victory by unanimous decision over a bigger, faster man, Daniel Jacobs, who also landed clean shots and ended Golovkin’s 23-fight knockout streak.
Expect each fighter to deliver flush punches. Expect action that will leave fans begging for a rematch from fighters extremely dedicated to their craft.
While those in each fighters’ camps have claimed they foresee their guy wearing down the other and dealing the loser his first knockdown – Alvarez has said he’s dreamed nightly of such an outcome – the more likely scenario is that neither man yields.
I see Alvarez keeping it close, and believe he’s going to get the nod in narrow rounds from at least two of the three judges, Dave Moretti, Adalaide Byrd and Don Trella.
- LANCE PUGMIRE, LA Times boxing writer