1. He Already Has (Twice)
GGG and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez have been competitors in a boxing ring together on two separate occasions; their fight last September and a few famous sparring sessions in 2011 when Golovkin was relatively unknown, and Canelo was far from the Mexican superstar he is today. On both occasions, the consensus among viewers was that Golovkin was the superior fighter.
The sparring sessions are obviously less relevant, seeing as sparring is essentially practice, but Ring Magazine’s Doug Fischer, who witnessed the sparring said of GGG “Golovkin was not supposed to give Canelo the “full treatment,” and it was clear from the sparring I saw that he was indeed holding back. Still, Golovkin “holding back” was a lot for Canelo, only 20 at the time, to deal with.” And though he acknowledged Canelo held his own, he noted GGG hurt Canelo twice but backed off, because it was just sparring.
More famously, last September in their hyped matchup we saw what many journalists and fans thought was a clear GGG victory, get declared a draw. While much has been written about the judging of that fight, the bottom line is most people who saw the fight thought GGG won. So, the people who watched them spar felt GGG got the best of Canelo and the people who watched their first fight thought GGG got the best of Canelo, why would we think on Saturday, GGG wouldn’t get the best of Canelo once again?
2. Canelo Will (Definitely) be Clean This Time
After consistently declaring that he was too small for 160 pounds despite campaigning as the middleweight champion of the world, Canelo Alvarez decided he would fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at 164, then GGG at 160 with no further issue. Immediately fans were skeptical, and twitter detectives scoured his photos for new acne breakouts or signs of gynecomastia, a common side effect of steroid usage.
Those skeptics found a smoking gun in Alvarez’s positive test for Clenbuterol, a PED that he blamed on the consumption of tainted Mexican beef. Golovkin didn’t buy it, and was quoted as saying “Before the first fight, I knew he was not clean. Have a look at the video. He used some pills. It was pretty obvious when his muscles were all with traces of injections. I’ve known it for a long time.”
Whether Canelo’s excuse is valid or not is largely irrelevant to this fight, as after serving his suspension he will now be under a testing microscope like no fighter in the sport. Maybe “Canelo” was hiding PED usage before their first fight and maybe he wasn’t, but the bottom line is that can’t be on anything going into this fight. It’s just wouldn’t be worth it.
3. He’s the Fresher Fighter
Because of the Clenbuterol suspension, Alvarez has not fought since Sept. 16, 2017. That means, when he steps into the ring on Saturday night, he will have been out of action for an entire year. Golovkin, on the other hand, fought Vanes Martirosyan this May. That means, although that fight did not last long and was far from competitive, “GGG” went through a full training camp, weight cut, and prizefight just four months ago.
We’ve seen fighters come back from long layoffs and win before, just this weekend Kazuto Ioka did it after a 17-month layoff, but that doesn’t mean it’s ideal. Ring rust is real, and in this fight Canelo is the one who will be rusty.
4. He’s Tasted Canelo’s Power, and Came Away Unimpressed
One of the most frustrating aspects of GGG’s performance in the first fight was his unwillingness to unload on Alvarez, when his pressure and ring cutting ability left the Mexican counterpuncher trapped in the corner. However, as the fight went on GGG seemed more willing to open up with aggressive shots, likely because he tasted Canelo’s power, and was totally unfazed. In fact, in recent interviews GGG has gone so far as to say about Alvarez, “He’s not very hard puncher at all.”
Assuming that is not prefight bluster, it should mean that GGG will be far less hesitant to walk down Canelo, pin him against the ropes and unload with his power punches, Alvarez’s counters be damned. If that happens, Canelo may well end up like all the other slick boxers GGG has left looking not so slick lying on the canvas.
5. He’s Pissed
While we love to sell the idea that fighters are only motivated by the desire to be great and to prove that they are the best in the world, the truth is that these guys are human and their motivation can wane just like the rest of us. But there is zero doubt “GGG” will be motivated for this fight, not because he wants to prove he’s the best or because he wants to move onto even bigger money fights, but for the simplest, most human reason a man wants to punch another man in the face: He’s incredibly pissed off.
Yes, the usual “Good Boy” who has nothing but respect for boxing and for his opponents has for the first time shown a legitimate anger towards an opponent who he feels is a liar and a drug cheat. He recently said it would be hard for him to respect “Canelo” again: "If he stays a fake, it's impossible — not for him, for me. Because you know I can't. I can't.”
The idea that personal animosity will make a fight great is a marketing tactic more than a proven fact, but for GGG the desire to win this fight is coming from a unique place. And for an undefeated fighter, that’s scary.
Enter for the opportunity to win a glove signed by Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, courtesy of our friends at HBO Boxing. Canelo vs. GGG 2 happens Saturday, Sept. 15 on HBO Pay-Per-View.
Estimated value of the signed glove is $200 U.S. This contest is open to residents of U.S. and Canada (excluding Quebec) 18 years and over. View the contest’s official rules here.
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