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The Wait Is Nearly Over – Canelo vs. GGG

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin have finally put pen to paper, and will give the fans and the boxing industry exactly what it’s been craving for so long. All the talk of ducking one another and the disappointment of seeing them fight anyone else but each other can now stop. In the midst of Alvarez’s very dominant display in the all Mexican clash against the son of a legend, Chavez Jr, Golden Boy was waiting in the wings to announce the blockbuster deal he had struck with K2 Promotions.

The fight will take place on September 16 at the prestigious T-Mobile Arena in sunny Las Vegas and will be broadcast live around the world. As well as Golovkin’s IBF, WBA, WBC and IBO titles, Canelo’s Ring title will also be on the line.

Although a mega show between Mayweather and McGregor, which has received a mixed reaction within the boxing world by the way, takes place 3 weeks earlier, this is a true fight between 2 of the very best in boxing. As Golden Boy said: “If people want to see a real fight, then tune in on September 16.

Despite being 9 years younger than Golovkin, Canelo has had 13 more fights due to turning professional at the crazy age of 15, accumulating a current record of 49-1-1-34KO, only suffering defeat to former 5 weight world champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. On the other hand, the Kazakh has a remarkable record of 37-0-0-33KO, winning and defending 4 middleweight titles within those 37 fights.

Golovkin carries that feared knockout power which has earnt him the accolade of having the highest knockout percentage of any middleweight champion in history. Astonishingly, 89% of Golovkin’s opponents have not seen the final bell. However, triple G is not just a puncher; he has a superb amateur pedigree with a gold medal at the 2003 World Championships and a silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games. So, you may be thinking, what else does he possess?

Well, he is a pressure fighter with great ring craft, tremendous balance and well established footwork. There are other contributing factors to how he has claimed so many knockouts. Yes, the power generated through his right hand is devastating, but without his sharp, precise, calculated jab, the right hand wouldn’t get set up efficiently. Without throwing feints he wouldn’t find the gaps necessary in the opponents defence. Without his brilliant footwork he wouldn’t be able to position himself to unleash his signature left hook to the body!     

Canelo brings a similar style, so on Mexican Independence Day it will be a war of Mexican styles, very fitting for the occasion. Although they both claim to have a Mexican style, I feel they are a little bit different. Alvarez is a more polished, balanced all-round fighter who combines his aggression and power with patience, resisting the urge to force any shots. Whether it’s keeping distance, using his jab and waiting for openings to unload combinations, using his tight reactive defence to land counter punches or stalking and pressuring, he’s completely proficient.

All in all, I feel the Kazakh actually has more of a Mexican style than the Mexican himself. Abel Sanchez, Golovkin’s trainer of the past 7 years, the man behind Golovkin’s style was born in Tijuana, Mexico, which may well be the reason why.

Taking into account how long this clash has been in the pipeline, Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions claimed it was very easy to get the fight done and took just a couple of weeks, stating: “We signed the fight the week of the Chavez fight and announced it like three, four days later.”

During the recent promotion campaign which has seen press conferences held in London, New York and Los Angeles, De La Hoya addressed this topic by saying on iFL TV: “One hurdle was the weight. We were waiting for Canelo to move up to Middleweight. This fight is perfectly timed. Golovkin is at his peak, Canelo is at his all-time high.”

Talking of weight, this bout will be contested at middleweight (160lbs) which Golovkin has dominated for such a long time. Canelo has gained experience fighting at various weight categories, having previously fought at welterweight (147lbs), light-middleweight (164lbs) and a catch-weight of 164lbs. So, middleweight provides a fair battleground, one they can both perform to their best on.

Another topic to be considered is age. Canelo will enter the ring the fresher younger man at 26, off the back of an easy 12 round win; some criticised it as being a sparring match. Whereas, GGG at 35 is nearing the end of his career and just claimed a hard fought win against Danny Jacobs, again, over the distance which ended his 23 KO streak.

Whilst in London, Golovkin was quizzed over his age, to which he responded: “I don't know. Maybe after this fight I'm finished, maybe not. I feel very good. OK I'm 35 but I feel like I'm 25. But this is boxing, not soccer, it's not a game, this is a fight and every fight is very difficult."

Oscar De La Hoya has also been dreaming of a Canelo vs. Golovkin trilogy, which would surely halt triple G’s retirement. But, on the contrary, Canelo desires to destroy his opponent and prove he’s the best, destroying De La Hoya’s dream in the process: “It only needs to be one. I want to make it clear that I’m better than him and there will be no need for another fight.”

Mark your calendar for September 16 as it’s not one to be missed. We’ll finally get to see the outcome of the fight we’ve been anticipating for so long, a fight which could match the significance of a bout between Mayweather and Pacquiao in 2015 – Mexicano against Kazakhstani. Canelo against Triple G. Saul Alvarez against Gennady Golovkin!

I, and like many others, can’t see this bout ended in anything other than a knockout. Between rounds 1 and 6, Golovkin’s power will prove decisive. But, if it goes into the latter half, I believe Canelo will expose weaknesses in Golovkin and capitalise on his age advantage.