By Gav Duthie, first uploaded on Boxing News 24.
For boxing fans Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin 37-0 (33) v Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez 49-1-1 (34) is the fight of the year no doubt. The worlds media, journalists, boxers, ex-boxers, promoters and networks can’t see it being anything other than a classic encounter. Both fighters have a fan friendly style and are often involved in action packed fights. I, however, am not sure it will be the all-out war that people expect. Looking historically there are a lot of similarities between Golovkin and middleweight legend Marvin Hagler. I just can’t decide if this fight will be like his against John Mugabi or Sugar Ray Leonard.
There’s nothing fancy about the styles of Golovkin or Hagler they are just very good at what they do. Hagler used to switch stances between orthodox and southpaw but other than that they are similar. Strong jabs and a warrior mentality. It also helps have 2 of the best chins I have ever seen in boxing. I know how Golovkin will fight and so does Canelo the question is how he decides to deal with it.
Hagler v Mugabi
Hagler KO 11
Both Marvin’s fights against Mugabi and Leonard were top 5 middleweight fights of the last 30 or so years. Understandably Mugabi at 26-0 (26) at the time felt he could stand and trade with Hagler and knock him out. Hearns thought the same with his significant power having previously knocked out Robert Duran his first TKO loss in 83 fights. That is not the way to beat Hagler though and it is not the way to beat Golovkin. If Canelo goes toe-to-toe with Golovkin it will likely not end well for him. Many praised the efforts of Kell Brook against Golovkin and hey it was great to watch but it was suicidal tactics. Brook was always going to lose fighting like that.
Hagler v Leonard
Leonard SD 12
Obviously, the blue print to beat Golovkin is not the Mugabi or Kell Brook approach but that of Sugar Ray Leonard. The question is whether Canelo is good enough on the back foot to fight this disciplined. Being Mexican also often demands a straight up war and he may need to dip in and out of the unique styles. Daniel Jacobs used the Leonard approach of always being on the move, changing the angles and keeping in the middle if the ring as much as possible. What made Leonard different from most defensive style fighters was he always mixed it with explosive flurries before getting back out of range. It is both eye catching and points scoring and perhaps Jacobs didn’t do enough of that against GGG. Canelo is a fantastic counter puncher and he punishes lazy jabs. Golovkin is usually on point with his jab so Canelo’s countering skills will be tested.
Matthyse v Provodnikov 2015
The last time I thought a fight could be nothing but a war was Lucas Matthyse v Ruslan Provodnikov. I just saw two bangers who would go all out to knock each other out. I underestimated the boxing skills of Matthyse and his jab. Obviously Golovkin is leagues above Provodnikov and Canelo above Matthyse but it is rare to see a high-level boxing match become an all-out brawl. I’m not going to count Mickey Ward v Arturo Gatti 1 because although they are legends they were never P4P fighters. The only one that really applies is Erik Morales v Marco Antonio Barrera 1. Again, the fact that both fighters are Mexican it sometimes abandons boxing principles in favor of machismo.
Will Canelo be arrogant enough to brawl with Golovkin?