By Dan Ambros, first uploaded on Boxin News 24.
Amir Khan sees Gennady “GGG” Golovkin going crashing down in defeat next Saturday night against the popular Mexican fighter Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on September 16 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Like a lot of people in the boxing world, Khan is basing his prediction of the Canelo-GGG fight on how Golovkin performed in his last 2 fights against former WBA middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs and Kell Brook. Golovkin took shots from both of those fighters, but still won the fights.
Khan thinks Canelo is better than Jacobs. We don’t know if that’s the case because Canelo has never fought Jacobs. He’s also never fought Jermall Charlo or Golovkin. All we know about Canelo is he’s good at beating guys like Khan, Alfredo Angulo, James Kirkland and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. You get the picture. Canelo is good at beating B-level fighters. He’s failed – or he should have failed – when he faces A-level guys like Floyd Mayweather Jr., Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout.
“Golovkin tends to walk down fighters he is physically stronger than but he won’t have it all his own way against Canelo because he is just as imposing and won’t be bullied,” said Khan to BoxNation.
We don’t know what Canelo will do. He might get bullied. Canelo might even get knocked out. If you look at how bad Canelo looked just 12 months ago against Liam Smith, you can make a case for him getting bullied, battered and knocked clean out by Golovkin. As bad as Khan thinks Golovkin looked against Jacob and Brook, if he saw the Canelo-Smith fight, he’d be singing a different tune. Canelo looked exhausted with the fast pace that Liam Smith had set, and he was doing a lot of resting against the ropes and taking heavy shots from a B-level fighter.
Smith came into the fight as a paper champion in the view of a lot of boxing fans. Smith wasn’t anywhere close to the top level fighters at 154 like Jermall Charlo, Jermell Charlo, Demetrius Andrade, Erislandy Lara or Julian “J-Rock” Williams. Canelo chose not to fight them. He fought Smith. You can interpret that move anyway you want to. A lot of boxing fans would see it as Canelo fearing the best, and wanting to take on a weak and vulnerable champion without much chance of beating him. The thing is, Smith gave Canelo all kinds of problems in that fight. So if Khan had remembered how horrible Canelo looked against Smith, Lara and Trout, I think he’d doubt his chances against Golovkin.
“As hard as they both hit I think Canelo will take the fight on points. He is an excellent counter-puncher and likes fighters coming to him, something which Golovkin does,”said Khan in picking Canelo over Triple G. “Golovkin had trouble dealing with Jacobs and Canelo has even more skills.”
I wouldn’t pick Canelo to beat Jacobs. I think Jacobs is clearly better than Canelo, and much taller at 5’11” and he’s quick at 180+ lbs. It’s too bad Canelo has shown no interest in fighting Jacobs. It’s easy for Khan to say that Canelo is better than Jacobs, but it’s much harder to get him to agree to fight him so he can actually prove it. Canelo is a good counter puncher, but he’s terrible at handling a jab. He can counter some jabs, and there have been a lot of social media replays of him doing that against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in the past week, but he still mostly gets hit by the jabs.
Golovkin doesn’t stand on the outside and just throw jabs. He jabs and then comes forward at the same time looking to land a right hand and left hook. Golovkin will be ready for the counters that Canelo looks to throw, and he’s going to have to get hit back. I don’t know how much punishment Canelo can take, especially to the body, which is his weak spot. He does not handle body shots well, and that’s not surprising. A fighter can have a brick for a head, but when they get hit to the body often enough, they become very human. Canelo does not take body shots well.
If Golovkin goes downstairs while Canelo is looking to make him miss with his head movement, he could knock him out with a body shot.
Canelo shorter at 5’8”, although listed at 5’9”, and carrying around a lot of new muscle weight that is likely going to slow him down dramatically on September 16 when he gets inside the ring against Golovkin. When you pack on 10-15 lbs. of quick muscle before you go into a huge fight against a top level fighter like Golovkin, you’re asking for trouble. Canelo has made one of the dumbest mistakes a fighter can make in packing on a lot of weight before a big fight without testing that weight out by fighting other guys first.
Khan knows a little bit about Canelo’s ability, as he was knocked cold by him in round 6 last year on May 7, 2016. Khan jabbed Canelo and was getting the better of him in rounds 1-4, but he got a little tired in round 5 and was knocked unconscious in round 6. Khan made the mistake of throwing a weak jab and not keeping his guard up for Canelo’s counter right hand. The shot caught him perfectly and put him down for the count.
”I think that Canelo is only getting better and will get the win. Golovkin is an excellent fighter but his last performance against Danny Jacobs would have given Canelo a lot of encouragement,” said Khan.
Going on the last 2 fights for Canelo and Golovkin, I see it the opposite way that Khan does. I think Golovkin wins, easily. Canelo’s last 2 fights were against a weight drained Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on May 6 and Liam Smith on September 17 last year. As I pointed out earlier, Canelo looked poor against Smith, very poor. That was a fight in which Canelo had an opponent that was throwing punches back at him. You can’t count Chavez Jr. as a true fight for Canelo or any indication of how good or bad he is. Chavez Jr. was a punching bag on that night that Canelo fought him, and he would have lost anyone in the middleweight or super middleweight division as far as top 15 contenders and champions go. You can count Liam Smith as a real opponent, but even with him, he was little more than a paper champion. Let’s be honest about this. Smith is not nearly as good as the top 10 fighters at 154. I rate Smith far, far below these guys at junior middleweight at the time that Canelo fought him:
Jermall Charlo – he recently moved up to 160
Julian “J-Rock” Williams
So I rate Liam Smith as the 12th best fighter in the 154 lb. division. Canelo struggled to beat the 12th best fighter at junior middleweight last year in Liam Smith. After beating Smith, Canelo fought a badly weight drained Chavez Jr., who had started his training camp for the fight with Canelo weighing in the 220s. Chavez Jr. never had a chance against Canelo with him being that heavy in starting an 8-week training camp. It’s a credit to Chavez Jr. that he was able to get the weight off that quickly to get down to the 164.5 lb. catch-weight for the fight, but it was clear that he was a dead man walking inside the ring. Chavez Jr. was a zombie inside the ring, and he never had a chance of winning. He was too weight drained.
”I’ve been in the ring with him and he’s quick, has good movement and is a big puncher,” said Khan about his fight with Canelo last year. ”I know a lot of people think Golovkin is the puncher going into this fight but Canelo’s power should not be underestimated.”
Khan should know how limited Canelo is after sharing the ring with him. Khan did a fantastic job of out-boxing Canelo in the first 4 rounds of their fight. Many boxing fans had Khan winning rounds 1, 2, 3 and 4 in the fight. It was only after Khan gassed out in round 5 that Canelo was able to start having success. Why did Khan gas out? If you fight as infrequently as Khan, you’re going to have conditioning problems.
Before fighting Canelo, Khan had been out of the ring for 12 months since his unimpressive 12 round unanimous decision win over Chris Algieri on May 29, 2015. Khan tired badly in the last half of that fight. The inactivity that Khan has had over the years caught up to him when he fought Canelo. By that point in Khan’s career, he was mostly traveling all over the world, visiting different countries and fighting rarely. Khan has been like a semi-retired fighter since 2013. However, even in Khan’s prime, he would have had problems moving up 2 weight classes to fight Canelo at middleweight.
The size difference between the two fighters was too much for Khan to ever have a real chance of fighting Canelo. The fight was unfair from the word go just based on the size differences between the two fighters. Canelo was the WBC middleweight champion at the time, and he really needed to be defending his title against his #1 WBC mandatory challenger, which was Golovkin. If not Golovkin, then Canelo should have fought Danny Jacobs. Canelo could have tested Khan’s theory that he’s got WAY better boxing skills than Jacobs. Canelo didn’t do either of those things. He chose to fight a welterweight in Khan, and not surprisingly he knocked him out.
Khan can’t say with any degree of surety that Canelo will beat Golovkin just because he struggled against Jacobs and took a few shots from Brook before breaking him down and forcing him to quit in round 5. Brook definitely quit against Golovkin. When you stop throwing punches like Brook did after getting hit to the body, you’ve quit. Personally, I don’t think Golovkin looked bad at all against Brook. I think he was just trying to walk the guy down and knock him out in an exciting manner. Golovkin could have done it in a way that kept him from getting hit, like Canelo usually does, but that’s boring for the boxing fans. It’s more exciting when fighters go straight ahead and look to knockout their opponents while taking shots. If Golovkin had played it safe and just boxed Brook while slowly breaking him down, he would have been heavily criticized by the boxing world. The fans would have thought him a coward by not going straight after Brook. Golovkin was in a no-win situation in fighting Brook. If he boxed him and played a safety-first style to eventually knock him out in the later rounds, the boxing public would have ripped him apart. Golovkin used the other approach by walking through Brook’s shots to knock him out as fast as possible, and yet still took a lot of criticism. Golovkin was never going to come out ahead with the boxing fans because he was facing a welterweight. That’s how it goes when you fight a smaller guy. Brook was the same weight as Golovkin on fight night, so he wasn’t technically smaller. He was shorter at 5’9 ½” compared to Golovkin’s 5’10 ½”. In looking at that fight, Brook only landed one meaningful punch in the entire 5 rounds, and that was the uppercut he hit Golovkin with in round 2. After that, Brook’s attempt at landing additional uppercuts all failed, and he was mostly hitting Golovkin with weak shots while jumping up in the air while throwing them. Brook wouldn’t stand flat-footed to get more power on his punches. I think the reason for that is he wanted to keep from getting hit hard by Golovkin. Brook’s feet were constantly in motion, as he didn’t want to be a stationary target in the fight.
One thing that Khan didn’t touch on was the huge amount of weight Canelo has put on for this camp. Khan overlooked that when giving his prediction on the Canelo-Golovkin fight. Canelo has done some major tickering with his body size in the preparation for the Golovkin fight. That shows insecurity on Canelo’s part, but it’s also a move that will likely backfire on him when the extra weight causes him to fade quickly. Canelo isn’t going to scare Golovkin from attacking him by looking menacing due to his extra size. Golovkin will have likely sparred with a lot of light heavyweights with equal or better size than Canelo. One of Golovkin’s sparring partners is Julian Williams, who clearly is a bigger puncher than Canelo.