By Dan Ambrose: Middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) met on Monday in London, England for their first stop in their mini-international press tour to promote their September 16 fight on HBO PPV from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The two fighters did a face off at the end of the press conference, and Golovkin looked quite a big bigger than Canelo. Having seen Golovkin as the smaller fighter in his last fight against Danny Jacobs, it was interesting to see him towering over Canelo today. It wasn’t just Golovkin’s height that made him look bigger.
It’s GGG’s overall frame. Golovkin just looks like the bigger and stronger guy. This could be bad for Canelo. Golovkin is stronger than guys that are bigger than him. But with him now facing a much smaller fighter like Canelo, we could have makings for a real mismatch here. I’m talking Golovkin vs. Curtis Stevens 2.0. That’s not a knock on Canelo.
It’s just a fact. He’s tiny next to Golovkin. No wonder Canelo’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya has dragged his feet for so long in not wanting to have him move up to middleweight. Canelo looks like he’s 5’8”, and definitely not the 5’9” that he’s listed as being.
What was also interesting about the face off is how Canelo looked scared of Golovkin. I saw REAL fear in Canelo’s eyes when he was face to face with Golovkin. I’d never seen that before from Canelo in his previous fights.
Even in Canelo’s fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr., he looked like he was confident of victory. Today, Canelo looked afraid, very afraid. The size and the power of Golovkin might have Canelo shaking in his boots a little bit. It’s natural though for fighters to be nervous and possibly afraid of their opponents. It would be bad for Canelo if he gets beaten by Golovkin. There’s a lot riding on this fight.
Both fighters were largely subdued and on their best behavior. What we learned from today’s press conference is the 26-year-old Canelo has a tremendous amount of respect for Golovkin, and he’s concerned about his punching power.
Canelo says he doesn’t want to stand in front of Golovkin get hit by him. Canelo wants to move and counter punch to try and win the fight. Canelo acknowledges that this is going to be a tough fight for him due to Golovkin’s punching power and experience.
Mexican style is about first class boxing. About true warriors in the ring. True Mexican style is about boxing that people want to see. pic.twitter.com/61bA00cdWd
— Gennady Golovkin (@GGGBoxing) June 19, 2017
“Every fight is different,” said Golovkin at Monday’s press conference. “Everybody has a chance. This is boxing. I’m a regular guy. I’m not superman. Everybody has a chance,” said Golovkin.
Canelo has a chance of winning the fight, but he’s going to need to get on his bike and move around the ring if he doesn’t want to get smashed right off the bat by GGG.
Golovkin might have been a little less diplomatic if Canelo hasn’t been in the same room with him today. But with Canelo sitting at the same table as him, Golovkin played it safe and didn’t give any bold predictions for the fight.
When asked what assets Canelo brings to the table, Golovkin said, “Everything; power, speed, timing, distance, boxing IQ, everything. He has a good team, and a good promoter. He looks good, he’s tough.”
Canelo has good boxing skills. Golovkin will need to figure him out and use a combination of boxing and slugging on September 16 to get the win. But with that said, I think Golovkin can beat Canelo even if all he does is come out slugging.
“He’s got a lot of experience, amateur career, and as a pro as well,” said Canelo about Golovkin. “He’s a fighter with a lot of experience. He’s also very strong. He’s a big puncher. He can take a good punch as well. So I have to be careful with everything when facing him. He’s very good all around,” said Canelo about GGG.
Canelo can’t get hit too much by Golovkin in this fight. If Canelo doesn’t want to get broken apart like we saw with Kell Brook, Curtis Stevens and David Lemieux. Those fighters crumbled quickly against Golovkin. The only guy that has lasted against Triple G in the last 9 years is Danny Jacobs, and that’s because he fought defensively and didn’t try anything foolish in the early going.
Jacobs attacked Golovkin late, but he was staggered by him in the 10th and out-slugged in the 12th. The judges gave Jacobs almost every round of the last half of the fight. I was similar scoring that we saw in the first fight between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev in their first fight. Golovkin deserved more rounds than the judges were willing to give him.
“This is boxing. Everyone knows he has power, and a huge boxing IQ,” said Golovkin about Canelo. “I think this fight is 50-50; who’s first.”
I don’t think this is going to be a fight in which the person that lands the first big shot wins. It’s going to be a fight where the guy that fights the smartest fight and sticks with their game plan will be the one that wins. I don’t know if we’re going to see a knockout in this fight. If Canelo decides to stay on the move, then he’ll be able to survive the full 12 round distance. It won’t be easy though if Golovkin decides that he wants to shoot for a knockout.
“The key is not to receive, and not to stand in front of him and take punches,” said Canelo in discussing the key to victory for him. “I’m going to have to be very careful, very evasive and counter punch. I think he’s a very powerful fighter when you stand right in front of him.”
Canelo has never been too evasive in his fights. Canelo is usually coming forward looking to slug. Canelo won’t be able to move well enough to get out of the way of GGG. What we’ll likely see is Canelo revert to form by backing up against the ropes and looking to counter punch from that part of the ring.
Canelo had success fighting with his back against the ropes against Liam Smith and Austin Trout. Canelo likes to use the shoulder roll and imitate Floyd Mayweather Jr. when he’s up against the ropes. I doubt that style will be effective against Golovkin. The last thing Canelo needs to do is fight with his back against the ropes.
“This is boxing business,” said Triple G. “I think this is the best time for us, for fans, for people, for everybody. I believe in the last year, I lost interest [in fighting Canelo], and with the last fight with Canelo-Chavez Jr., I believed it’s possible because it’s a long time for us and I think everybody wants this fight.”
It looked like for a moment that Golden Boy was going to push the Golovkin vs. Canelo fight to 2018 in order to season Canelo a little more and to age Golovkin. It’s good that Golden Boy finally made the fight. I think what did it was Golovkin’s last 2 fights against Kell Brook and Danny Jacobs. GGGG looked vulnerable at times in both of the contests. I think there was a real fear with Golden Boy if they waited too much longer, Golovkin would get beaten.
If Canelo hadn’t taken the fight with Golovkin, then he’d have likely faced Danny Jacobs in a rematch, and then after that defended his World Boxing Council title against Jermall Charlo. Those would have been extremely tough fights for Golovkin. If all Canelo was going to do is take safe fights, then Golovkin might have eventually been beaten and that would have hurt the Canelo-Golovkin fight.
“I think this fight was made at the perfect time,” said Canelo’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya. “Boxing right now is at an all-time high. This fight here is the icing on the cake. This fight couldn’t have come at a better time. I believe when I say this, Canelo and Golovkin will deliver one of the best middleweight fights in the history of the sport. I truly believe that because of their styles. This fight here, we didn’t wait too long. It’s not too early. It’s at a perfect moment,” said De La Hoya.
I think for a lot of boxing fans, they don’t agree that the Canelo-Golovkin fight came at the perfect moment. It would have been better if the fight had been made 2 years ago when Golovkin was 33 and fighting a little bit better than he is now. However, Golovkin can still punch like a ton of bricks, and he’ll be a real problem for Canelo on September 16.
“I have to agree with Oscar,” said GGG’s promoter Tom Loeffler. Gennady, as a champion, wanted to have the fight as soon as possible. But 2017 has turned out to be a real banner year for boxing. This is the fight that highlights 2017. This is the most highly anticipated fight in the sport of boxing, the biggest fight in the sport of boxing. When you have 2 great champions like Canelo and Triple G, it just makes it bigger,” said Loeffler.
Canelo-Golovkin should have been made in 2016 when the WBC ordered the fight to take place. Canelo was the WBC middleweight champion at the time, and Golovkin his mandatory challenger. The WBC let Canelo take an interim fight against welterweight Amir Khan. But after Canelo knocked Khan out, he then vacated his WBC belt rather than defending it against GGG. It looked like a weak move on Canelo’s part.
“It’s going to be a tough fight,” said Canelo about Golovkin. “It’s going to be a very tough fight. There are fights that are difficult and there are fights that are tough fights. This is going to be a tough fight. I’m going to prepare as I always do. I’m going to be 100 percent for this fight. I’m happy we’re going to fight the fight the fans want. They demand it on September 16th. It motivates me that this is fight that the fans demand, and they’re getting the fight that they wanted. It’s going to be an exciting fight, and you’ll be able to experience that on September 16,” said Canelo.
It’s going to be a really tough fight for both guys. If Canelo goes to the ropes like he did against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Liam Smith, then I see Golovkin knocking him out. Golovkin usually destroys his opponents when they back up against the ropes. I think it would be no different in this fight if Canelo makes the mistake of trying to defend with his back against the ropes instead of staying in center ring.
“I’m very excited for this fight,” said Golovkin. “It’s a huge fight and an amazing fight between us. I respect Canelo’s team, because I know Caneo’s team. I understand this is the biggest fight of my career,” said Golovkin.