Canelo, Golden Boy played the waiting game it won't work against GGG
September 12, 2017 3:04 AM
by Vegas Runner
After encountering numerous delays, this coming Saturday night the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas plays host to one of boxing’s most highly anticipated bouts. Current WBA (Super), WBC, IBF, and IBO middleweight title holder Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (37-0, 33 KO’s) aims to defend his straps against former three-time world and current Ring Magazine middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KO’s).
The fans, media, promoters, and fighters alike have been demanding this super-fight for almost two years and it is now just days away. By mid-July the arena was completely sold out and rest assured the city will be absolutely electric this weekend as few events bring out the carousal type atmosphere of a mega-fight.
So let’s go ahead and break this matchup down and see if we can find the type of value that warrants a walk to the betting window.
Oddsmakers initially installed GGG as a -175 favorite but money on the underdog Canelo has since forced bookmakers to adjust the betting line. Currently the market average has Golovkin listed as low as -145, with the take-back on Alvarez +125. The Total Rounds prop differs depending on the sportsbook, with some using 9.5 (Over -250) and others offering 11.5 (Over -120).
Historically, Canelo and Golden Boy Promotions have received a lot of support here in Las Vegas, while this will be GGG’s first fight in our city. Though both are marquee fighters, it’s no secret Alvarez is the “A” side and more importantly he and his promoters have an excellent working relationship with the very powerful Nevada State Athletic Commission. He’s also the “establishment” fighter in this bout and knowing how much politics can influence the judges, the possibility for bias scoring must be factored into our decision. But with that said, without any inside knowledge we should never fully bank on it.
Bottom line, as I wrote in a column on “GGG” years ago, he’s been one of the most avoided fighters in the past decade and it wasn’t until he appeared vulnerable in his last fight against Danny Jacobs that Golden Boy allowed this fight to happen. Sure we the fans wanted to see it and Golovkin’s team was calling Alvarez out at every opportunity. They were still in no rush to put their cash cow at risk especially since he was having no trouble selling pay-per-views and filling up arenas against much lesser opposition, with very little risk.
Now Golovkin at 35 (8 years older than Alvarez) appears to have been exposed some in his last few bouts and seems ripe for the picking. At least that’s the narrative being laid out for us. Simply put, nothing could be further from the truth.
Golovkin was 345-5 as an amateur and an Olympic silver medalist in the 2004 Athens games. He’s competed at middleweight his entire career unlike Alvarez who made his way up from welterweight, light middleweight, and is now a middleweight. That amateur background has laid out the foundation which has made “GGG” fundamentally and technically sound.
Golovkin has excellent footwork and is always in position to punch. Golovkin fights best from range and knows how to control distance, while attacking from all angles. He’s also an exceptionally accurate puncher who throws an average of 70 punches per round. Golovkin is a pressure fighter who’s always moving forward and won’t have a hard time finding Alvarez, who though elusive at times, prefers to fight on the inside or from mid-range. “Canelo” loves to fight in the pocket and almost never retreats.
For Alvarez, landing his combinations will be key since his volume is much lower than Golovkin’s. “Canelo” lands around 40 punches per round, split almost equally between jabs and power punches. He’s a very fluid fighter who can throw every punch and spectacular combinations, especially in close. “Canelo’s” greatest advantage in this fight will be his hand speed and he’ll need to make “GGG” miss a lot, especially early on to try and wear him down.
For Golovkin, he hasn’t faced a body puncher as ferocious as Alvarez so he’ll need to dictate range and keep his distance throughout the bout. He’s been in against much bigger men and he’s also absorbed the harder punches.
To have success in this fight he’ll need his jab to be working and not simply head hunt. Golovkin will need to continue pumping out that jab to keep Alvarez off of him and also to try and win rounds.
Granted I have concern whether or not Golovkin will get a fair shake from the judges if the decision is left in their hands. Unfortunately that’s something we won’t know until it happens. So rather than allow the fear of a conspiracy to stop me from backing the fighter I believe offers me the best of it, I’ll go ahead and fire.
Don’t be surprised if this fight doesn’t produce the fireworks most are expecting, because I believe it will be more of an elite level chess match, than a brawl
Look for Alvarez to try and slow the tempo down as much as possible and almost appear at times that he’s walking through mud.
BEST BET: GOLOVKIN
V-R record: (11-1 in last 12)