Tuesday, March 21, 2023  |



Canelo Alvarez: I own edge over Gennady Golovkin with level of opposition

Canelo digs a body shot to Lara during their 2014 showdown. Photo by Josh Hedges / Getty Images

LAS VEGAS – Gennady Golovkin is the slight favorite Saturday, and there are many reasons why Las Vegas oddsmakers tilt it in his favor.

Before Daniel Jacobs survived a fourth-round knockdown and went the distance with GGG in March, 23 opponents failed to hear the final bell.

Golovkin (37-0, 33 knockouts) isn’t just a power puncher who uses brute force, though. He’s also excellent at cutting off the ring – perhaps the best in boxing – and possesses tremendous fundamentals honed over a decorated amateur career that culminated with an Olympic silver medal.

Alvarez, in contrast, competed in less than 50 amateur fights. But he made up for his lack of seasoning in the unpaid ranks with bouts against some of the best fighters around today.

Sure, Floyd Mayweather Jr. easily outpointed Canelo in 2012, but Alvarez no doubt soaked a lot in during a 12-round affair with the best of this generation.

“I learned a lot from that fight,” Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) said Wednesday. “I don’t take it today as defeat; I take it as experience. I learned a lot on my style.

” … I believe that I’m still learning and I can learn more. I’m at a good point in my career, but I never stop learning.

Add in close-decision victories over tricky Cuban southpaw Erislandy Lara (currently THE RING’S No. 1 junior middleweight) and Austin Trout, along with a clear victory over Miguel Cotto, and Canelo’s caliber of foes is hard to top.

All four fighters are certainly A-level.

Golovkin’s ledger isn’t nearly as impressive, though of course, it’s not fault of his own. Most of his 17 middleweight title defenses have come against B- and C-level opponents.

His lone bouts against the elite level have taken place in the past 12 months: a stoppage win over Kell Brook, who move up two weight classes for the bout, and the hotly contested decision win over Jacobs.

“It’s important to have that level of experience, he has a lot of experience from his amateur days to now,” Canelo said. “He’s had a lot of fights, but I have to say I have the edge when it comes to the level of opposition.”

Perhaps that experience edge — even though Canelo is eight years younger at 27 — will help him trudge through the mud when he reaches the fight’s toughest moments. When you stand across the ring from an athlete the ilk of Mayweather, you have to adjust. Canelo, surely, will be forced to grab several game plans out of his trick bag Saturday.

“There’s going to be moments I have to take risks to attack his body, to attack his head,” the Mexican star said. “I need to be thinking and not be a target for him to just hit.”

Canelo went 12 rounds with all four of those opponents. Triple G? Well, he’s had to last the distance just once, and that came at age 35, in his last fight.

Canelo knows how to adjust and deal with adversity. Will Golovkin be able to deal, too, over 12 rounds given his lack of big-fight experience, even if he may be the better fighter?

Alvarez hopes it never comes to that point.

“Every night before going to bed I visualize the knockout,” Canelo said. “It’s something I prepared for. I trained for the knockout.”

Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger