Golovkin vs. Canelo: The Breakdown

The fight that the boxing world has been clamoring for is finally here. Canelo Alvarez will finally step up to the true middleweight limit of 160 lbs. and fight the division’s king, Gennady Golovkin.

Every angle of the fight, from the stakes for each men to the path they’ve taken to get here, has been covered in the buildup to the contest. Now the question is: who will win?

As the odds illustrate, this fight is as close as a boxing match can be.

Each fighter has their advantages. Canelo Alvarez is the younger fighter and is only entering his athletic prime. He has the faster hands, and will look to meet Golovkin’s constant pressure with clean, sharp counters. Though he isn’t as heavy-handed as the man he will be facing, Canelo packs a hard punch, as evident by his recent knockouts over Amir Khan and Liam Smith.

Canelo uses phenomenal head movement, but his biggest flaw is his defensive footwork. He has shown a comfortability with being backed up into the ropes, where he relies on his upper body movement to avoid danger. If he approaches this fight with that same plan, it is only a matter of time before he tastes the hard shots of ‘GGG’.

Golovkin’s main advantage is obvious: punching power. In the past thirty fights, only Danny Jacobs has been able to take Golovkin’s punches for the entirety of a twelve-round fight. The rest of his opponents have gone down, most of them after sustaining heavy, prolonged beatings.

Though he is known as a knockout artist, Golovkin’s boxing skills come out when he is faced with a dangerous opponent. Against David Lemieux, for example, ‘GGG’ strictly used his jab for the early rounds. And a jab from Gennady Golovkin lands as hard as straight right hand from most fighters. If he wants to beat Canelo, he will have to rely on that jab early on while he figures out Canelo’s patterns.

Like Canelo, Golovkin’s flaws are found in his defense. While he has superior footwork and ring control, he does not have Canelo’s head movement. In fact, ‘GGG’ has been there to hit for most of his recent opponents, especially Kell Brook and Danny Jacobs in his last two fights. He relies on his chin, which has to be cracked, but that is a dangerous prospect against another heavy puncher.

With both fighters’ strengths and flaws outlined, it is clear just how razor-close of a matchup this is. Expect Canelo and Golovkin to figure each other out for a round or two, and from there it will be a war between two aggressive, strong punchers.

Ultimately the biggest question mark comes in the form of Canelo’s chin. He has been able to take punches from his past opponents without much trouble, but none of them hit nearly as hard as Gennady Golovkin.

Though the fight can go either way, the danger of Golovkin’s punchers and his durability mean that the most likely outcome is Gennady Golovkin by late TKO.

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