5 Reasons Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez Will Defeat Gennady Golovkin on Saturday

By James Kinneen Sep 13, 2018


For the counterpoint to this article, see 5 Reasons Golovkin will Defeat Alvarez


1. Boxing History is on His Side


What if I told you there was an Eastern European fighter facing a slick North American boxer, in a rematch of a fight most people think the European puncher won? Would you watch, or just assume the second fight would be the same as the first?

Well, if you assumed the second fight would go just like the first then you would have missed Andre Ward’s eight-round thrashing of Sergey Kovalev in their rematch last June. See, historically the slick boxer always beats the power puncher in a rematch, because they have already had many rounds to figure out the puncher’s style. The boxer adapts, the puncher doesn’t, and the fight is essentially over before it begins.

Think of Ali holding the back of Joe Frazier’s head every time he bent at the waist in their rematch, Sugar Ray Leonard making a frustrated Roberto Duran say “No mas,” or Floyd Mayweather Jr. turning his second match against Marcos Maidana into just another Mayweather boxing lesson. Slick boxers usually win rematches, and they usually do it easily.

Canelo is the slick boxer, and history says he will take a unanimous decision over Gennady Golovkin.

2. He’s Better Acclimated to 160 Pounds


After years forcing middleweight opponents to drain themselves to invented “Caneloweight” catchweights, Alvarez agreed to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at 164 pounds. This means, by the time he fought Golovkin for the first time, he had never fought at 160 pounds before. He had fought heavier, and he had fought lighter, but never at 160.

This means he fought “GGG” at a weight class he had never fought in before. This time, he will be far better acclimated to the 160-pound weight class, having both fought in the class and spent a year acclimating to it following the first fight. This comfort can only help Alvarez, and help mitigate any middleweight experience advantage GGG had at the time of their first fight.

3. GGG is Getting Old


Boxing fans complained that the wait for GGG and Canelo to fight was too long, but in truth it was not as long as fans and journalists made it out to be. Both men were close enough to their primes to make the first fight a classic, but when it comes to age they are trending in opposite directions.

Canelo Alvarez was 27 for their last fight and will be 28 for this one. Regardless of sport, that is your athletic prime. Golovkin was 35 for the first fight and will be 36 for this one. That is trending in the wrong direction. And while one year may not seem huge, if we consider how small the differences are between slipping a punch and taking it on the chin, that year could be everything. In March of 2003, Roy Jones Jr. was 34 and embarrassed John Ruiz at heavyweight. Two years later, he was 36 and getting knocked out by Antonio Tarver.

GGG is approaching the age where every week could be the one his reaction time falls off the cliff. On Saturday, we’ll see if he’s already there.

4. He’s Got the “Golden Boy Edge” on the Judge’s Scorecards


Before the judges announced their decision last September, nobody was worried that they were going to unfairly give “GGG” rounds he never earned, but plenty of people worried “Canelo” was going home with the decision victory no matter what. In a sadly prescient article, before their first matchup, Sean Jones of boxingnews24 argued that GGG’s promoter should never have had the fight in Vegas because Canelo brings too much money into the city.

He said, “Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler should have rejected the idea of him fighting Canelo in Vegas. You never want to put your fighter at a huge disadvantage when it comes to having them fight an opponent in a city that thrives whenever they fight there. You can argue that it’s REALLY bad for Vegas if Golovkin beats Canelo, as it could mean fewer boxing fans will stream into the city and spend their money in the future when the red-headed star fights over there.”

While GGG’s star has risen after the first fight, this fear is unlikely to change as the financial incentive for Alvarez, with his Mexican fanbase, to win is still far greater than the financial incentive for GGG to. That problem could arise once again, especially seeing how this rematch is taking place in, you guessed it, Las Vegas.

5. He’s Not Scared of GGG, Because He’s Been There Before


Because of his concussive power, Gennady Golovkin has the Sonny Liston/Mike Tyson/George Foreman level of intimidation where a fighter that steps into the ring with him is likely already plotting their own exit strategy.

However, Alvarez will not be intimidated by Golovkin as he has been in with him before for an entire 12-round fight. Canelo has been a bit dismissive of GGG’s famed power, rating it an “eight out of 10” and saying, “When he hit me it was a punch that would’ve knocked out anyone, between the ear and the neck. I didn’t feel anything so it gave me more confidence. So, he has a strong punch, respectable, but nothing out of this world.”

While some of this is bluster, the point remains the same. Alvarez will enter the ring on Saturday fully aware of what “GGG” can and can’t do. And while other opponents live in fear of what happens if Golovkin hits them cleanly, for Alvarez it will be a familiar feeling. And one he wasn’t especially bothered by just a year ago.

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