By Jim Dower, first uploaded on Boxing News 24.
Ringstar promoter Richard Schaefer says he sees the Saul Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady “GGG” Golovkin fight as a 50-50 fight right now due to how the Kazakhstan fighter has looked in his last 2 fights since last year. Schaefer says he previously had Golovkin as the favorite over Canelo until his last two fights against Danny Jacobs and Kell Brook.
Golovkin wasn’t as impressive in those fights as he’d been. Moreover, Schaefer says he always thought Golovkin would be the bigger fighter of the two compared to Canelo, who is only 5’8”, but he now feels that he’ll be bigger than GGG when he gets inside the ring. Schaefer couldn’t help but notice how big Canelo looked recently when watching video of him working out. He thinks he’ll be bigger than Golovkin, but not necessarily stronger and definitely not taller.
Canelo has gained but he hasn’t grown taller, which is unfortunate because he may need height and reach to deal with Golovkin’s power jab if he chooses to use that weapon all night long. Canelo’s reach was too short to hit Austin Trout, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Erislandy Lara when those 3 fighters stood on the outside and jabbed him.
“I think this is a 50-50 fight,” said Ringstar promoter Richard Schaefer to secondsout.comabout the Canelo-Golovkin fight. “If the [Canelo-Golovkin] fight had taken place a year ago, I would have picked Golovkin. If you ask today, a lot of people I’m talking to are picking Canelo to win. They’re basing their picks on the last 2 [performances by Golovkin. Is he getting old? I wouldn’t put too much weight into that. This is his signature fight. This is for him to legacy of his career. He’s motivated, he’s training hard and he will be at his best,” said Schaefer.
Golovkin says he didn’t have the “emotion” for the Danny Jacobs fight that he has for the Canelo fight, so we have to take him at face value. Perhaps Golovkin didn’t get up for the Jacobs and Kell Brook fights the way he needed to be for him to win in style. After all, Golovkin was expected to win both of those fights, and neither of those guys were stars. Golovkin wasn’t eager to fight Jacobs and Brook. He wanted Canelo. On the flipside, Brook and Jacobs were VERY motivated and emotional about fighting Golovkin. This was their Super Bowl. Neither of those fighters had ever fought anyone close to the popularity of Golovkin, so they were very excited about that fight. It’s possible that Golovkin had a letdown in both of those bouts that caused him to fight under his potential.
If Golovkin not being excited about those 2 fights is the reason why he underperformed, then it could be bad for Canelo. If Golovkin is still the same fighter that beat David Lemieux in 2015, it’s going to be really bad news for Canelo and his promoters at Golden Boy. Canelo probably isn’t near good enough to beat the 2015 version of Golovkin. Even with the weight gain, Canelo will still have an uphill climb against a still in his prime Golovkin. Canelo is bigger, yes, but he hasn’t proven that he’s more powerful with the weight gain, and he’s going to need to be more powerful for him to beat Golovkin. Just being bigger and slower won’t get Canelo past Golovkin. He’ll need more punching power. Canelo might be hoping that the extra size will enable him to take Golovkin’s punches better. I don’t know that extra weight will help Canelo’s punch resistance. If Golovkin goes to Canelo’s body, it won’t matter how much extra weight he’s put on. Adding weight doesn’t help fighters take body shots any better.
I think Golovkin has gotten older in 1 year. He’s faced 2 guys with excellent hand speed, boxing skills and mobility in Jacobs and Brook. Those are guys that would have given anyone trouble with their hand speed. Golovkin would have struggled against Jacobs and Brook no matter what part of his career he fought them. Golovkin could have made the Jacobs fight easier if he had tried o punch it out in the first half of the fight to go for the knockout. That was the mistake that Golovkin made in the fight. He let Jacobs linger into the second half of the fight. When Golovkin did try and knock Jacobs out in the later rounds, it was too late. He was tired and didn’t have the stamina at that time to get the job done against him. Golovkin still won the fight in having one of the worst nights of his career. Had it been the best night, he likely would have knocked Jacobs out, because he had him hurt once or twice.
”If his best today is good enough to beat a young and hungry Canelo, it remains to be seen. I thought as well for a long time that he would be bigger, stronger guy against the smaller and weaker, but not as strong Canelo,” said Schaefer. “But when I saw some recent footage, I think Canelo might actually be the bigger man that night going into the fight. Golovkin is going to be motivated, and this is the biggest fight of his career,” said Schaefer.
Schaefer doubts Canelo can replace Mayweather as the next huge star due to his inability to speak English
Schaefer doesn’t believe it’s possible for Canelo to take his career to the next level to become a mega-star unless he learns English. Canelo seems to understand English well, but he holds back when it comes to communicating. It’s possible that Canelo is a perfectionist and he doesn’t want to be seen stumbling over words the way that most people do when first trying to speak a new language.
”It’s going to be difficult for somebody to take the mantel and become the kind of pay-per-view star that Oscar [De La Hoya] was or Mayweather was or Pacquiao was or Mike Tyson was, and others before him if you don’t speak English. You’re only going to become a superstar in the United States if you can speak English as well. That’s just a fact. That doesn’t take anything away,” said Schaefer. “If Canelo wins, he might be pound for pound the best. I think English, to become a genuine marketable star, you do need to be able to communicate with the general market,” said Schaefer.
Schaefer’s comments about Canelo being held back due to his inability to speak English is something that has been said about him for a while now. Canelo needs to start trying to speak English if he wants to be able to connect with the huge U.S boxing population without the need of an interpreter each time he speaks. It’s unclear how many years Canelo has been studying English or if he’s been studying it at all. What we do know is Golovkin has picked up English fairly quickly.
Obviously, Golovkin struggles with his English, but he’s at least trying to connect with his fans. Canelo might indeed be held back if he doesn’t start speaking English soon. You can argue that for a fighter to become a crossover star in boxing like Oscar De La Hoya and Mayweather, you need to be able to speak English. Canelo has a big advantage that Mayweather didn’t have with him being able to speak Spanish. If Canelo can learn English, he’ll be able to speak directly with both the Spanish and English speaking boxing fans, and his popularity should takeoff from there as long as he’s able to beat guys like Golovkin, Jermall Charlo, Danny Jacobs and Sergiy Derevyanchenko. More important than Canelo’s ability to speak English is the match-making that’s being done for him by Golden Boy Promotions. Canelo can’t become a huge marketable star in the U.S if Golden Boy is going to be matching him against fighters like James Kirkland, Amir Khan, Liam Smith, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Alfredo Angulo. Those are not good enough fighters for Canelo to gain the respect from the hardcore boxing fans. Chavez Jr. vs. Canelo brought in a lot of PPV buys on HBO, but the fight was a bad one to watch due to how drained Chavez Jr. was. Fights like that won’t help Canelo become more popular. He needs to be matched against talented guys in their prime. Chavez Jr. was in his prime 5 years ago in 2012. He’s not the same guy he was back then.