Boxing Opinion: Has Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez finally figured out an ageing Gennady Golovkin?
With the biggest rematch in recent years finally confirmed, we discuss whether Canelo has solved the problem that is GGG.
Last September we saw a legitimate super-fight between two of the world’s best in Mexican sensation, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (49-1-2) and the pride of Kazakhstan Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin (37-0-1). After months of anticipation, the two pound-for-pound contenders put on one hell of a show, fighting to a highly entertaining stalemate – though many believed it was Golovkin who had been robbed of a clear victory. With the rematch between the middleweight standouts going ahead on Cinco de Mayo (May 5), the question is: has Canelo found a way to silence his doubters by overcoming the ageing ‘Triple-G’?
“Preposterous!”, I may or may not have heard you say. How could this be when Golovkin appeared to have had the best success in the first fight? Well, if you know anything about Canelo, you’d know that the 27-year-old appears to get better with every performance. Given the way their September showdown went, which saw Golovkin as the busier man, you’ve got to wonder if the 35-year-old is capable of producing another performance at that kind of level against one of the world’s best.
Canelo may not have been as active in the first contest but came away with several positives. The result was the most obvious, as well as showing he was able to handle Golovkin’s best throughout the 12 rounds. Not many have been able to stand up to the unified WBC, WBA, IBO, IBF champion’s aggression and power, but the Guadalajara man, not only survived, but remained more than competitive. We all knew he was tough, but the chin demonstrated by Canelo was quite something.
Alvarez was slicker and looked the younger man throughout, proving the more accurate puncher, often exposing a number of weaknesses in the seemingly untouchable veteran. He did appear to tire towards the end of each round, however a lot of that was down to the trademark ‘GGG’ pressure. Yet still, he showed he was capable of taking the punishment while dishing out his own.
So why does the rematch favour Canelo over the man who was more arguably more successful in the initial fight? Well, ‘GGG’ seems to be slowing down, which has been evident in his previous two contests with Kell Brook and Danny Jacobs – but none more so in back in September. He found a way to get the result in both but didn’t look like his usual impeccable self. In contrast, Alvarez is in his prime and has been able to withstand the best that the champion has had to offer – this gives him a great foundation to change his game in order to overcome ‘GGG’.
He will be in better condition and now knows of the power that the champ possesses, which makes me believe he is better suited to the rematch. There is a feeling that while still one of the top talents in boxing, Golovkin is now fighting against father-time and is less likely to be making the improvements that Canelo seems more capable of doing. We’ve established that the Alvarez has a granite chin (as does GGG) and if it’s anything like the first time out, big shots will be thrown and absorbed but ring craft and athleticism may prevail. This is where the Mexican may have the advantage. Proving elusive on the back-foot as the Kazakh tried to walk the Mexican down, Canelo was able to negate a lot of the power thrown in ‘GGG”s shots, something that will be crucial to repeat in the rematch.
The winner of this will rightfully be crowned with a plethora of belts, the title of the true middleweight champion and will be widely regarded as the pound-for-pound number one in the world. September proved how closely matched the two were, and the money-spinning sequel could easily see either man walk out on May 5 with their hand raised. But my prediction is that we will have a new champion – for many years to come – in the shape of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
Who do you think wins this rematch? Comment below…