On Saturday night, at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada, one of the most anticipated boxing rematches of the last decade will commence. WBA and WBC middleweight champion Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin, also known as “GGG,” will defend his titles for a second time against Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
The bout is a rematch last September’s bout, which ended in a controversial split draw. The fight itself was highly competitive, with several momentum swings. Judge Dave Moretti scored the bout 115-113 for the Kazakh fighter, while Judge Don Trella had the bout even at 114-114. Where things became contentious was on the scorecard of Judge Adalaide Byrd, who scored the fight for Alvarez, 118-110. Most observers of the event saw some validity in the scoring of Moretti and Trella. However, Byrd’s scorecard and its heavy Alvarez lean -- which caused the fight to be a draw -- left many confused and even questioning whether something sinister was afoot.
Originally, the rival 160-pounders were set to face off on May 5 of this year. However, during a pre-fight drug test in early April, Alvarez tested positive for the banned substance Clenbuterol and the bout was cancelled. He and his camp contend the positive test was due to ingesting tainted meat.
Negotiations restarted in May, and almost like the bout itself, it dealt with some controversy. As Alvarez’s promoter, Oscar De la Hoya, threatened at one point to make a bout instead with one-time “GGG” opponent and former middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs. Eventually, calmer heads prevailed -- along with an influx of money to sweeten the deal for Golovkin -- and the deal got done.
Figures from all over the world of combat sports are excited to watch this mega-fight go down. Some have rooting favorites, while others just want a good fight, and opinions vary widely on who they believe will win and why. Sherdog.com spoke to a cross-section of personalities within the sport, and asked them, “Who you got?”
Carlos Silva, Professional Fighters League President: “I think GGG is going to be too much for Canelo once again. His punching power will be a difference maker just like it was last fight. I think he gets the decision he should have gotten last time around. I’m looking forward to a tense battle!”
Sam Alvey, Ultimate Fighting Championship Light Heavyweight: “I don’t know much about either of the, but I’m pulling for ‘Canelo.’ Us gingers have to stick together.”
Ali Abdelaziz, CEO of Dominance MMA Management: GGG.
Nick Barnes, Legacy Fighting Alliance Welterweight: “When I first started my fighting career, I relied on my wrestling to get me through and grind out my opponents. Now that I’ve become more seasoned with the sport, I have developed such a high respect for the art of boxing. The ability to hit and not get hit. To wear down your opponent and overwhelm them. I think ‘GGG’ is the embodiment of that. He is like a damn steam engine, constantly imposing his will on his opponents. Wearing them down to exhaustion while he controls the pace. Not to take anything away from ‘Canelo,’ but I see a repeat of history. Only this time, it won’t end in a draw and ‘GGG’ gets the victory.”
Andre Harrison, PFL Featherweight: “I believe that both are highly skilled boxers. Both are world-class. However, ‘Canelo’ is more crafty, while ‘GGG’ is stronger and has more grit. I think this fight will go to Golovkin, who will push the pace and be in Canelo’s face the entire fight.”
David Feldman, President of Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships (BKFC): ”I think this fight is very similar to the last fight. ‘Canelo’ needs to stop the jackhammer jab of ‘GGG.’ If he does that I think he wins. If Golovkin can cut off the ring a little better this fight, I think he can win. This is a pick ‘em fight, but I feel as though ‘Canelo’ will adjust better then ‘GGG’ and pull away with a close decision.
Dennis Bermudez, UFC Featherweight: “I think ‘GGG’ is tougher. Both are highly skilled. Canelo is the stronger boxer, but this fight is going to go the distance and the tougher competitor -- Golovkin -- wins.”
Herman Terrado, PFL Welterweight: “I’m going with ‘Canelo’ because I think he is smarter and will outbox ‘GGG.’ But if he decides to go toe-to-toe then ‘Canelo’ will lose that battle. Golovkin knows he is at the end of his career. ‘Canelo’ is still young and has no reason to try to prove how tough he is. I think he will play it safe and secure the decision victory for the longevity of his career.”
Steve Mowry, Bellator MMA Heavyweight: “I think Golovkin won the first time and he is going to win the second time.”
Joao Zeferino, PFL Welterweight: “It’s a very tough fight for both. I go with ‘Canelo.’ He is the younger fighter. If he made the proper adjustments and stays consistent during the whole fight, I think he wins by decision.”
Chris Lytle, UFC and BKFC Veteran: “I hope I’m wrong but I think ‘Canelo’ will take it. He landed cleaner punches in the last fight but just wasn’t busy enough. ‘GGG’ looked old for the first time. Maybe Alvarez will no longer be on ‘tainted meat’ and be as good, but if not, I would say ‘Canelo.’”
Fernando Gonzalez, Bellator and ACB Veteran: “This is a tricky question because I know who I want to win (‘Canelo’). If their preparations are the same, ‘GGG’ will beat ‘Canelo.’ If Alvarez changes his game plan and attacks with volume (punches in bunches mixed in with power shots) it leaves him open, but that gives him a better chance of success and I believe the victory. Without risk, there is no reward.”
Eddie Gordon, UFC and PFL Veteran: “This is going to be a great fight because there’s bad blood. These two really don’t like each other. If I had to pick I’m going to say ‘GGG.’ Getting on the inside, landing some body shot and handling Canelo’s speed [will be key]. I feel speed is going to be a huge deciding factor. I felt Golovkin won the first fight and he has something to prove. Plus, he’s really pissed because he feels like Alvarez is cheating with his steroids issue.”
Adam Piccolotti, Bellator Lightweight: “I think the young and hungry ‘Canelo’ Alvarez will get it done. Putting all of his previous issues aside, he will be focused, powerful and ready.”
Kendall Grove, UFC, Bellator and BKFC Veteran: “I think ‘GGG’ will finish ‘Canelo’ in the eighth round. I think he’s just too strong. Since they’ve fought before, Golovkin will make adjustments to win the rematch. Also I think, Canelo’s PED stuff is a big distraction, but we’ll see.”
Dr. Paul Gavoni, Veteran MMA Striking Coach: “'Canelo' will likely fight the same fight, but I believe 'GGG' will make adjustments for this fight. Which includes going to Canelo's body. This will be the difference maker.”
Steve Montgomery, Titan FC and UFC Veteran: "I have to go with 'Canelo.' The red hair will bring him the winning energy he needs. I'm biased because I'm a ginger. Ginger power!"
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.