By Dan Ambrose, first uploaded on Boxing News 24.
By now the fans have seen the incredible transformation in Saul Canelo Alvarez’s physique in going from a little tank-like junior middleweight to a fighter that could now be weighing in the 180s for his fight in 10 days from now against Gennady “GGG” Golovkin.
Before Canelo put on all the weight, which appears to be at least 15 extra pounds, he was considered as a non-puncher for the middleweight division. If you analyze why Canelo decided to go on a rapid weight gain of muscle for the Triple G fight, you have to look at Golovkin’s last fight against Daniel Jacobs to understand what Canelo seems to have in mind with this move.
Jacobs, a fighter that has mostly weighed in as a super middleweight during the brunt of his boxing career, appeared to really bulk up for his fight against Golovkin fight on March 18. Jacobs looked like he’d used weight as a method to try and get the upper hand on Golovkin, who is a small middleweight. Golovkin tends to rehydrate to the low 170s after he makes weight for his fights.
Jacobs looked like he was in the 180s after he rehydrates. Some boxing fans believe that Jacobs was at 190. It’s hard to know if that’s true or not, but Jacobs did look massive during the fight. What made it possible is Jacobs skipping the International Boxing Federation’s second day weigh-in on the morning of the fight. Golovkin had to keep his weight down to make the weight.
Jacobs skipped it and decided to just rehydrate, so he didn’t have the IBF title on the line. The idea behind that is the old motto, ‘win at all costs.’ Jacobs’ main goal was just to win, period. Unfortunately, the added weigh didn’t help Jacobs win the fight. He still ended up getting beaten, knocked down and hurt in the 10th round by Golovkin. You can argue that the added weight help Jacobs. Now we have Canelo appearing to take the same route as Jacobs by gaining a bunch of muscle weight in a short period of time to try and use it to beat Golovkin. I think it’s not going to help Canelo to be bigger like it helped Jacobs.
Canelo is a lot shorter at 5’8” compared to the 5’11” Jacobs, and he’s already built like a tank. When you add even more weight a fighter that is as big as he can possibly can be and still be capable of fighting, you get diminishing returns. It doesn’t help to keep getting bigger and bigger when you’re already reached maximum density for your limited height.
If Canelo was Jacobs’ size, he would likely weigh well over 200 lbs. given the way he’s built. Canelo turning himself into a little sparkplug it not going to help him gain an advantage over Golovkin if it means his stamina takes a BIG hit, and if he’s not punching harder. I don’t see Canelo hitting harder from watching him work out with his trainer. A lot of the extra muscle Canelo has packed on is around his chest and back. His shoulders don’t look much bigger, and obviously the tendons and the bones haven’t increased in size.
Canelo is like someone tying a rocket to a skateboard and expecting better results. You’re not going to get better results because you’re starting with the frame being a skateboard. In other words, you can pack on as much muscle as you want, but if the frame was only designed to carry a specific amount of weight, you’re not going to have more punching power. You’re going to be slower, and less capable of fighting hard.
Canelo couldn’t knockout Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., and he also failed to stop Miguel Cotto, Erislandy Lara, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Matthew Hatton. For the sake of Canelo and his promoters at Golden Boy, he must hope that the rapid muscle weigh gain that he’s added to his physique in just 4 short months will help him find the needed power to compete against Golovkin, as if the weight is just for adornment and not adding any real power, he’s going to be in trouble. There’s no beating around the bush with that. Canelo is going to get bludgeoned to smithereens by Golovkin if he doesn’t have actual power that goes with the rapid weight gain.
I’ve watched newly transformed Canelo hit the mitts and the heavy bag in recent workouts videos, and he does not look like he’s hitting harder than he was in the past. Canelo looks like a lot of fighters look when they add a bunch of muscles by lifting weights. They’re just bigger, slower, but they don’t hit harder.
Unfortunately for Canelo and for fighters wishing to suddenly develop more power, weight lifting doesn’t do the trick. It just makes fighters slower, more prone to fatigue, and not improved. That’s why it’s important for fighters to try and stay at around the same weight that they’ve been for most of their careers if they want to continue to have success. Once fighters start experimenting by bulking up by lifting weights and eating a lot, the results they get are usually negative. Adrien Broner is a good example of that. He was a good fighter when he fought at super featherweight. But when he moved up all the weight to welterweight, he was no longer the same guy. Broner is now stuck at 147, and he struggles to try and lose weight. It’s safe to say that Broner will never be able to go back down to super featherweight again to be the fighter that he once was. I think Canelo is going down the same road that Broner has by bulking up, thinking it’s going to make him better. I don’t think it’s going to. Canelo looks slower, just as weak as before, but not muscle-bound and unable to move around the ring. Canelo looks like a tank now much more than he did before. If you look at Canelo working out
“I think because of the style of the two fighters. Because we both knock out fighters. We’re two fighters who like to fight and I think that, for the people, what the people want to see is a war in the ring. And I think this fight guarantees that,” said Canelo to HBO in talking about GGG fight.
The problem with this fight being a war is Canelo seems to have trained for a short war, not a long one. When you’re training to compete with a guy like Golovkin, you don’t want to pack a lot of weight on all of a sudden. Canelo is going to get tired, really tired after 4 o 5 rounds against Golovkin.
When the Kazakhstan fighter doesn’t disappear like some of Canelo’s past vulnerable opponents did, he’s going to be in trouble. Golovkin is not Amir Khan or James Kirkland. He’s going to get out of Canelo’s hair after 3 to 6 rounds after getting hit by him. Golovkin is going to keep pressuring him, wearing making him fight hard, and hurting him with his big power shots. There are a lot of fighters that swear by how good Canelo is, but those guys haven’t fought Golovkin. They also have no clue how Canelo will fight now that he’s gone on a rapid muscle weight regimen.
I don’t know how much weight lifting and protean power Canelo had to use for him to gain all the muscle weight, but I think it’s a wrong-headed plan to try and beat Golovkin. You have to wonder whether this was Canelo’s idea to bulk up like this or his trainer’s Chepo Reynoso and Eddy Reynoso. If it was Canelo’s trainer’s idea for him to bulk up with his muscle, then at least he’ll have someone to blame after the fight. It’s always nice to have a fall to point the finger of blame to when things don’t work out. But, Golden Boy Promotions head honcho Oscar De La Hoya should have warned his golden goose Canelo not to pack on a bunch of weight before an important fight like the Golovkin match, because there’s so many unknowns that come with adding a bunch of weight in a rapid manner and never having experimented by testing that weight out under fighting conditions. Ideally, when you pack weight on, you want it slowly over the course of several fights, and you want to test it out by fighting different guys. Canelo hasn’t done that. He’s just packed on a bunch of muscles, and he’s going to into the Golovkin fight in a sink or swim manner. It’s foolhardy if you ask me, and I think he’ll be sorry for it.
“Look, I believe the rivals set the guidelines for doing things, right? You can’t do the same thing to all rivals,” said Canelo when asked if he’ll look to take advantage of Golovkin when he comes at him like he’s done against other opponents that have come forward looking to exchange with him. ”The rival gives you the guidelines to know what to do to him. So, my rival is going to give me the guidelines to know what to do in the ring.”
Canelo seems to be sounding like Floyd Mayweather Jr. with him talking about adapting to each fighter. I don’t see a lot of adapting by Canelo in his fights. He’s either resting with his back against the ropes like a giant turtle, looking to counter or he’s pressing forward trying to get his short bursts of punches off before resting. Canelo doesn’t move around the ring like Mayweather and other fighters do. He’s generally against the ropes or briefly in the center of the ring.