Predictions: Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin
Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin will fight for the middleweight championship Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Veags on HBO Pay-Per-View.
Canelo-GGG is universally seen as one of the best possible matchups in the sport, as both fighters are entertaining, highly regarded and at least near the peak of their powers. Golovkin (37-0, 33 knockouts) recently had his knockout streak ended at 23 by a decision victory over Daniel Jacobs in March. And Canelo (49-1-1, 34 KOs) has won seven in a row since his only loss, a decision against Floyd Mayweather in 2013.
The majority of our experts pick Golovkin to win but all believe it’s a competitive fight.
Here are their thoughts:
HOW THE EXPERTS SEE IT
This middleweight championship showdown will deliver. Golovkin deserves to be the odds and media favorite but the 35-year-old unified titleholder has plateaued in recent fights and may be showing signs of slowing down. He’s still the juggernaut of the 160-pound division but in Alvarez he’s facing a younger, fresher fighter who has the inside technique to engage with him in close where he can be hurt. Willie Monroe Jr. showed that Golovkin is easier to hit in close than from a distance. Kell Brook showed that a good combination puncher who engages with GGG on the inside can bust up the Kazakhstani’s face. Daniel Jacobs showed that Golovkin does not like getting hit with body punches. Canelo possess more power than Monroe, he has the natural size and strength that Brook lacked, and he’s a better body-puncher than Jacobs. Can he put it all together against a former elite amateur star with the heaviest hands and the most consistent jab in the division? His key is knowing when to engage and when to get out of the kitchen. My hunch is that he’ll stay in the kitchen heat long enough to get burned but not consumed. I see Golovkin edging Canelo out by a close, unanimous decision in a clash of power-boxing masters.
MICHAEL ROSENTHAL: Golovkin KO 10
I believe that Canelo Alvarez has matured as an all-around fighter, particularly in terms of his boxing skills. One thing that stands out for me is his ability to avoid being hit cleanly. It’s clear that he’s ready for the challenge of fighting Gennady Golovkin. I also think GGG has shown some vulnerability, as he was barely able to get past Daniel Jacobs in his most recent fight. That’s why I believe this is more or less or a 50-50 matchup. All that said, I believe Golovkin’s extensive amateur background combined with his pro experience and size advantage – he’s accustomed to fighting 160-pounders, Canelo is not – will make the difference in the fight. The fight will be competitive for eight or nine rounds but GGG will ultimately wear Canelo down and stop him late in an exciting fight.
BRIAN HARTY: Golovkin SD
I’ve gone back and forth on this so many times that there’s not much method remaining in my pick. I guess it’s what a lot of pro-GGG folks expect, but the outcome that would actually shock me the most is to see Golovkin win by knockout. I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see it go the other way, though. GGG is going to have a hard time landing cleanly and I think we’ll see some frustration, but in general Canelo’s style is more to his liking than Jacobs’, so heavy exchanges are inevitable. I think Golovkin will land often enough and keep Canelo just wary enough to win a close decision (with one dissenting card wildly in favor of the redhead), but there will be some scary moments. May the best man win.
MIKE COPPINGER: Canelo SD
Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin figure to be evenly matched in this true coin-flip affair. They’re both tremendous combination punchers who have proven themselves time and again over the past five years. Canelo, though, possesses some advantages that should lead him to victory, namely his handspeed and defense. If Canelo can make GGG miss with some deft upper body movement, and then make him pay to the body, he should win over the judges in some razor-thin rounds and pull out the decision. But it won’t be popular. This fight has all the makings of a bout where fans argue over the outcome for months, similar to the first meeting between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev. And that will be perfect for boxing because it will bring us one step closer to a rematch.
TOM GRAY: Canelo UD
The areas that I view as vital involve youth, athleticism, speed, reflexes and durability. If Alvarez can make Golovkin miss and make him pay, then he stands a chance of slowing the middleweight juggernaut’s forward momentum. Canelo doesn’t need to neutralize Golovkin’s aggression completely, but he must break it up and find opportunities to score. Attacking the body of the older man would make sense and it is imperative that Canelo use his powerful combinations to exact a toll as the rounds go by. The one caveat I must add is that Canelo has to make a physical impression. If Golovkin can walk through a fighter’s best assaults, then defeating GGG is practically impossible. I hope it’s a great fight and the best man wins on the night.
RON BORGES: Canelo UD
This is a fight that has been long anticipated but Alvarez had to grow into. He is not a true middleweight even now but he’s close enough to stand in with Golovkin. Golovkin is the heavy-handedest fighter Canelo has ever faced, so danger lurks early in the fight. Alvarez lacks the kind of speed and athletic movement that Kell Brook and Danny Jacobs used to confound GGG in his last two fights but he has a solid chin and the ability to land body shots that will take a toll. I like Alvarez by decision on a night when there will be some explosive action.
NORM FRAUENHEIM: Golovkin SD
A rematch might be the best pick in the first of what could become an enduring rivalry. Since a loss to Floyd Mayweather, Canelo Alvarez’s improvement has proceeded at a steady, patient rate. Smart, too. His emerging maturity gives him momentum that GGG doesn’t have. Golovkin might be at a plateau. At this point, however, that plateau is still a step beyond Canelo, who at opening bell figures to be the bigger fighter, yet also a big target for GGG’s relentless attack. Canelo will get there, but not this time around against a durable GGG whose heavy hands will deliver a narrow victory and another lesson Canelo can use in a likely rematch.
GARETH A DAVIES: Canelo MD
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez will win by majority decision in a close-fought contest which will start cagily and which will see both the brilliant Mexican and the ebullient, stone-fisted Kazakhstani go back and forth in a thriller, testing each other’s skills and chins. I pick Canelo based on his youthfulness, volume punching and ability to sway from the hips and avoid the real danger of the knockout artist in front of him. But this is a genuine matchup for the ages and a pick’em fight. It’ll go to the wire.
TOM GERBASI: Golovkin TKO 9
Canelo is tough, but he doesn’t have the slick style to give Golovkin problems. With Alvarez right in front of him all night and without the one-punch stopping-power to get Golovkin’s respect, GGG puts on a clinic before winning late.
RYAN SONGALIA: Golovkin UD
If I was asked a year ago, I wouldn’t have hesitated to say Golovkin. Much has happened in the past year, however, and at 35 Golovkin is beginning to look his age. So while I still believe Golovkin has the superior boxing ability, punching power and durability, I won’t write off Alvarez just yet. I think it’s important that Canelo earns Golovkin’s respect early with something big, but my concern is that this could turn into a tit-for-tat 12-round fight after both taste each other’s power. Even then I’d still favor Golovkin, particularly because he has one of the most underrated jabs in the sport. Alvarez is known for finding ways to eke out those close decisions, and Golovkin should look to remove any doubt.
MARTY MULCAHY: Golovkin UD
There is a difference between fighting at 160 pounds and being a natural 160-pound boxer. While Canelo has put on muscle mass, I don’t think he will carry enough power to force Golovkin into any kind of shell. Alvarez is used to pushing the action, but can be frustrated by lateral movement, which Golovkin does not get enough credit for. Yes, Golovkin has been hit more recently, but probably because he did not feel threatened by the opposition of late. A fully focused Golovkin, looking to cement a legacy, will start with a strong first two rounds, then fall back for three rounds to figure out Alvarez. From the seventh round on, Golovkin dominates, winning a wide decision.
LEE GROVES: Golovkin UD
Golovkin is still capable of generating high volume combined with excellent accuracy while Canelo, also a marksman, prefers to fight at a moderate pace and is also slower of foot (the Chavez fight notwithstanding). Alvarez is a good hitter capable of occasional fight-ending bombs, but GGG can apply the eraser anytime, anywhere and with both hands. The only qualm I have is GGG’s defense, which has loosened over the past couple of years. That said, both men will be at their best and I think that, best vs. best, GGG’s best is still better than Canelo’s best.
ANSON WAINWRIGHT: Golovkin MD
A year ago this fight was all Golovkin, but since then the playing field has leveled in my eyes. Golovkin was simply too big for Kell Brook, but the Brit was able to land several shots before yielding to the damage. Daniel Jacobs had his moments but perhaps just didn’t have enough self-belief and the dare-to-be-great attitude. Golovkin showed fallibility that previously didn’t seem to be there. All the while, Canelo had his way with Liam Smith and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., albeit lesser opponents to what GGG was facing. Canelo seems to be at his peak, whilst at 35, GGG has left his athletic prime. For all the talk of weight, I think Canelo will be the bigger man in there – he may well blow off the IBF same-day weigh-in – I think both men will respect the other’s power, both have very solid beards and we’ll be treated to a high class boxing match. Both will have moments, but ultimately, GGG will shade the fight and win a close decision: 114-114 out-voted 115-113 twice.
MIKE WOODS: Golovkin UD
GGG has lost a step, or more so, a tick of his reflexes. But Canelo is the style type to minimize that fact. He will come forward and be there, and get hit square and he doesn’t own the power to bother GGG. However, a Canelo win helps the sport more. We will see GGG UD.
JOSEPH SANTOLIQUITO: Golovkin KO 10
This could be Hagler-Hearns. I don’t see either GGG or Canelo giving way. I just feel GGG has a little more firepower than Canelo has. GGG is the bigger fighter, and through time, I can see him wearing down Canelo, then eventually stopping him late.
RICKY HATTON (FORMER BOXER/TRAINER): Canelo UD
This is a genuine 50-50 fight. I have a feeling that Canelo has moved on since the Mayweather defeat and he’s hitting harder, especially to the body. I see Canelo winning by points.
RONNIE SHIELDS (FORMER BOXER/TRAINER): Golovkin UD
I think GGG and Canelo’s a pretty even fight. We look at the untangibles, power goes to GGG, speed goes to Canelo, defense goes to GGG, all-out boxing skills I think goes to GGG. I think it’s going to be a good, close fight but I think GGG wears him down and beats him. I think on points; I think unanimous decision.
RAUL MARQUEZ (FORMER BOXER/TV ANALYST): Golovkin TKO 11
Canelo definitely has improved since the Mayweather loss. GGG’s performance against Danny Jacobs has people thinking GGG is fading. Don’t believe that. Jacobs is a big, solid middleweight compared to Canelo. Can Canelo deal with GGG’s constant pressure? Will he run out of gas in later rounds? Does he have chin to take GGG shots? GGG late-round stoppage, TKO 11.
RON KATZ (MATCHMAKER): Golovkin TKO 10
Body-punching and uppercuts will be key for Canelo. GGG is so strong and has that powerful jab and knows how to control the distance, which means Canelo must stand his ground and look to counter GGG’s attacks. Canelo may have the edge inside but it will be hard to back GGG up. Canelo has to fight at a high pace each round, something he doesn’t like to do; he can’t rest with GGG, especially on the ropes, or he will be taken apart. One thing to watch for is if GGG faded at all. There were signs in the Jacobs fight. He has had a long and distinguished career as both an amateur and professional, and Father Time always catches up to athletes at some point. If in fact he has, it will balance out many of the advantages GGG has and allow Canelo to do things he otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. I think this will be a terrific, high-impact fight between two great fighters. My heart tells me Canelo by decision but my head feels GGG still has enough left in the tank to possibly stop Canelo late in the fight.
SERGIO MORA (BOXER): Canelo UD
For years I’ve said Canelo’s team was doing a great job keeping him away from the middleweight monster in Golovkin. Canelo is a great fighter, but he needed time to develop ALL-around ability, strength and experience. Now he has. It’s a pick ’em fight. Every other year I would’ve said Triple-G by decision, but in 2017– I’m now picking Canelo by decision. I would say KO, but these two have sparred before. They know what to expect from each other and will respect one another. I say many rounds will go to Canelo, so possibly a close unanimous decision.
ERIC BOTTJER (MATCHMAKER): Golovkin UD
I like GGG by decision in a great fight. The deciding factor for me is this: When Canelo gets in trouble, he’ll have to fight his way out. He does not have the boxing skills to avoid a firefight when he’s hurt. When GGG is hurt, he has the boxing skills to avoid further trouble and negate Canelo’s futher assault. I predict no knockdowns. Close decision.
JOLENE MIZZONE (MATCHMAKER): Canelo TKO 9
I think Canelo has fought the better opposition and has gotten better in the ring. I think Canelo is going to wear GGG down — the body shots are going to be the factor in this fight for Canelo. It’s a hard fight to pick since I am a fan of both guys, but I just think Canelo has the better tools all-around in the ring.
KAY KOROMA (TRAINER): Canelo MD
Canelo has transitioned to where he is now, he shows everybody he’s grown the right way, he learned a valuable lesson from the Floyd Mayweather fight. Whereas what I’ve seen with Gennady Golovkin is, yes, he’s still knocking people out, but in a less fashionable form, and now I don’t know if he’s getting lazy because of the opposition. But if that opposition is making you get that lazy and doing that much damage to you, what do you think Canelo Alvarez is going to do to you? I feel Gennady hasn’t grown, because everybody is scared of his power. But then a Danny Jacobs, who’s not as good as Canelo, exposed Gennady to a lot of things. Kell Brook showed he has no movement inside the pocket. He’s vunerable to uppercuts and he’s way smaller than Canelo. I think Canelo can win a decision but I also believe Canelo can stop him. GGG hasn’t looked that great the last three fights and Canelo has grown and gotten better and better. GGG will bring his fight game and make it tough. I’ll go Canelo winning a majority decision.
BRAD GOODMAN (MATCHMAKER): Golovkin TKO 9
Both guys didn’t really impress in their last fight. The difference was that Golovkin fought the better opposition and fought a very good Jacobs that night and Canelo fought a guy in Chavez Jr. that offered nothing. Still, it’s a really great matchup and a fight I’m looking forward to seeing. Obviously, Canelo is the younger, fresher guy and on the rise and Golovkin appears to be losing a step. I still believe Golovkin has something left, and although Canelo may have some success, I believe this is a fight Golovkin has waited for and he’ll rise to the occasion and win by stoppage in about nine rounds.
BARRY JONES (FORMER BOXER/TV ANALYST): Golovkin SD
I’m going GGG, in what I think is a real 50-50 fight. I could happily make a solid case why Canelo will win, but always stick with my first instinct and that was Golovkin. I think Canelo is a thinking fighter who only throws when he knows he’s going to land. But he has to hold his feet to land and that’s a dangerous game against GGG. I think the jab of Golovkin is the key weapon for him. It’s such a strong punch that it not only makes space for him to land his follow-up attacks but it also hurts his opponent. He needs to be a bit more defensive-savvy than ever before, but I feel after six, seven rounds of a real intense war — where probably Canelo is ahead — that Golovkin might just find the punch to turn the fight in his favor. They both have tremendous chins and those chins will be tested like never before. I’m sticking to my early assessment, and that’s Golovkin by close points or stoppage late.
SEAN GIBBONS (MATCHMAKER): Golovkin KO 10
I am very excited to see this fight for middleweight supremacy. This is an interesting fight. You have Canelo coming up from junior middleweight to middleweight. He looked good in his last fight vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at 164, but GGG is a whole different ballgame. People are looking at the GGG vs. Danny Jacobs fight and think GGG lost a step … well, that is not the case. Just a horrible style. Jacobs boxed wild and scared and Canelo does not have the footwork Jacobs does. So in the end, I see Canelo having success early in the fight with his handspeed, but as the fight progresses GGG presses with power being the difference. I am going with GGG by KO 10. Viva GGG.