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TOPCLASS PICKS | GENNADY GOLOVKIN VS. SAUL ‘CANELO’ ALVAREZ

Christmas has arrived early for most fight fans, Saturday night will give us what we have craved in a bout between WBA/WBO/IBF Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.

The boxing community’s voice can be heard loud and clear with opinion split somewhat on an opinion of a winner. We at TopClassBoxing may have muddied the waters further, but regardless, here for your perusal is our take:

Paul J Daley – Golovkin TKO9 Canelo – How many times have we asked ourselves, what would happen in a fight between Gennady Golovkin and Saul Alvarez, countless times I’m guessing? For a time I thought that it would be a contest of mythical opinion but true to his word, Canelo signed on the dotted line after being slightly goaded by Golovkin to do so.

Sometimes there is a saying of old that wise men/women tell “Be Careful what you wish for, you may just receive it” for years Golovkin has searched for a career defining contest, one which will hold merit when he retires from the sport, this could tick all the boxes but that could come with a Mexican sting in its tail.

Canelo knows his value, knows he is boxing’s new ‘Goldenboy’ The A-Side in this particular predicament.

Canelo’s career continues its upturn since it slightly took a hit when he lost to Floyd Mayweather but the questions that lingered from that contest have since been extinguished, wins over the likes of Erislandy Lara, Miguel Cotto, and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr acting to steady the good ship ‘Canelo’

Golovkin, on the other hand, has never tasted defeat as a professional having cut through the opposition like a hot knife through butter. well until he came up against Daniel Jacobs which was one that was so closely contested that it split the opinions of fight fans, the mask of an indestructible force had dropped to partially show vulnerability.

It was this fight in particular which grew the confidence of Canelo even more so in his strive for acceptance as one of boxing’s very best.

Now a day away from boxing’s most intriguing contests of recent times, talk of ‘what if’ will be given its conclusion.

Before I move on to my prediction, let’s first identify the elephant in the room, We’ve all seen the pics of Canelo looking like he is just about to enter this year Mr. Olympia competition, suggestions that this will be advantageous whilst other are not so certain believing the appearance of a bigger frame to tire him in the later rounds.

Let me just say, Canelo is naturally the bigger of the two men, Canelo walks around at a much higher weight than the one his division requires, Golovkin stays in or around the middleweight limit, so although Canelo would add a little more than he is used to, he still has had to cut even more so than Golovkin in the run-up to the fight.

Now that’s out of the way, let’s take a look at the fight which holds all the ingredients of a classic, two men who thrive on offense, It may be a case of who gives ground first.

Canelo is very astute off the back foot which Golovkin will have to also be wary of, able to put combinations together in a way which would make Juan Manuel Marquez sit back in acknowledgment, able to do so even with his back against the ropes.

Canelo needs to push Golovkin back on his heels, no easy task but going back is a way which the Mexican can neutralize the obvious danger that presents itself.

Golovkin for his part needs to use his jab to keep Canelo busy on defence, using his feet to set traps where he could lead him to his shots.

I’m still not 100% decided but at this point, I would question, is anyone? I’m leaning towards Golovkin’s experience at fighting the bigger men, believing this to hold the key to walking away the victor, He’s faced big punchers such as Lemieux and Stevens who are on par if not more potent than Canelo, the fact remains that Canelo has never had to face as big a threat as the one Gennady possesses, I feel this could be telling which is why I favour a 9th round stoppage.

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Craig Morgan – Golovkin TKO9 Canelo – Canelo v GGG, the most anticipated match up since Mayweather v Pacquiao.

Battling for 3 of the 4 main world middleweight titles, with also the ring magazine belt, to become the 160lbs lineal champion.

GGG has steam rolled through the division over the last few years but has shown signs of vulnerability as of late. If this fight had been signed 2 years ago, GGG would be the standout favourite.

Canelo has improved considerably since dropping a decision against Mayweather, where he was out fought and out thought. His movement, skills & confidence have gone up a level, to the point where he’s now comfortable with going up against GGG.

With GGG being a career middleweight & Canelo starting his career at welterweight, you’d expect GGG to outweigh Canelo but I don’t think that will be the case. Looking at recent photos, Canelo looks a lot thicker set.

In my humble opinion, I think it’s the best potential fight in all of boxing & feel that it’s a definite 50/50 fight at this point.

My gut feeling has always been that GGG will break Canelo down late on & still feel that will be the case. Both will have their moments but GGG is a beast & I expect him to stop Canelo around the 9th round.

Richard Lewis – Canelo SD12 Golovkin – In an era where the best don’t fight the best 2017 has ripped up that theory and served up some crackers, but there’s no bigger fight than the middleweight clash between top 10 P4P kings Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and with four world titles on the line it’s as good as it gets.

Canelo eight years Golovkin’s junior is coming off an easy and one sided win against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr last time out, whilst GGG was in a war with Danny Jacobs, who I feel may of been unlucky not to be awarded the victory in what was a close and hard fought contest between the two men, Jacobs getting up from an early knockdown and for me taking over the second half of the fight only to lose by a couple of rounds on the judges scorecards.

I want Golovkin to win this fight based on the fact that I’ve enjoyed watching him for several years dismantle his opponents, pre-Jacobs, and walk through them without seemingly breaking a sweat. He comes across as a very humble guy too who just loves to fight. Whilst Canelo who with an impressive 51 fights on his record at only 27 years of age has long been an active and exciting fighter and achieved so much winning world titles at both Light-Middle and Middleweight divisions, his only loss as we know coming at the hands of Floyd Mayweather not harming his reputation.

Despite having never been dropped before in his career there is a good chance that Canelo could be the first man to inflict this on GGG with both men big punchers, though I think it’ll go down to the wire and the judge’s scorecards after 12 tough rounds that will have swung back and forth.

My prediction is that Canelo will win by a split decision though I’d like to see GGG get his hand raised at the end of the contest, further cementing his legacy as an all time great for me. I just feel that Canelo with age on his side, and also looking huge in the pictures released of him from his training camp for this fight, will be too much for GGG and finally, break that Middleweight dominance. One thing for sure this is a fight that you don’t want to miss.

Steve Haigh – Golovkin TKO10 Canelo – I have to go with my original instincts although I anticipate it may be a close fought contest.

Golovkin applies pressure for 3 minutes a round and Canelo fights in bursts, he needs a breather at times and I’m sure Sanchez is aware that this is when his man has to turn up the heat

Canelo can’t square up on the ropes like he tends to do, he increases the target area and decreases the escape routes

I think over time a patient Golovkin will chip away with the lead hand and break down his man in a similar fashion to Lemieux although Canelo has more to his game than the Canadian the judges will not do him any favours

Golovkin needs a stoppage or to dominate over the full course as any close or swing rounds will go to the Mexican

Golovkin by stoppage or Canelo gets pulled out by round 10

Dan Lo Turco – Golovkin KO10 Canelo – The biggest fight of the year for me, what a tough one to call!

Canelo looks to have put on muscle for this fight to overpower GGG, but this may slow him down, I think he should have kept the weight down to concentrate on his rapid counterpunching. The added weight may take its’ toll in the later rounds.

Golovkin has decent speed & natural power in abundance, I don’t think he’ll change much for this fight, why should he? What he’s done so far has proven successful.

Both are great technical fighters at the top of their game. I see Canelo trying to come out and blow GGG away in the early rounds. Golovkin I think will stay patient & cautious early on, soak up the early pressure & step it up from about round 4. His power will be too much for Canelo in the later rounds.

As much as I’d like to see Canelo win this fight, I think GGG will win by knockout in the 10th round.

Either way, I think it will be a GREAT fight!

Dean Berks – Canelo Pts12 Golovkin – After the farce of last month, September has exploded out of the blocks with the Superfly bill and the WBSS. But this weekend’s fight could be one for the ages.

A year and a half ago I would have strongly backed GGG to add to his knockout tally. But much has changed since then. Looking less impressive against Brook and Jacobs has given the impression that Golovkin is on the slide. Maybe he is, or maybe it was just lack of motivation, either way, Canelo is the biggest and best opponent he has faced.

Alvarez has defeated a list of genuine top class fighters to become arguably the biggest draw in boxing. There is no doubt that he has been given time to mature into a natural 160 lb fighter whilst Golovkin starts to look a little jaded.

Both are well rounded and tough as they come. Alvarez has shown his versatility, boxing on the back foot or seeking the knockout when needed. Golovkin has one gear only: forward. His ability to cut down the ring and place his shots is seriously impressive.

A genuine 50/50 match. So who will prevail? My prediction? I have to go with Alvarez on points. Timing is everything and I think this is his time. I expect him to take an early lead, surprising Golovkin with his power, before he is forced to dig deep as the hammer fisted champion comes on strong in the later rounds. And it wouldn’t surprise if the decision was so tight that it warrants a rematch.

Jonathan Harris – Canelo SD12 Golovkin – This weekend we may find the answer to the question of what happens when an unstoppable force goes against an immovable object! The pride of Mexico Saul Canelo Alvarez V The bone-crunching Gennady Golovkin in one of the most anticipated fights of the generation.

Many factors in this fight make it a difficult one to predict. Although I believe that Canelo has a significant amount of skills above Golovkin which gives him the advantage, the hunger we have seen from the Kazakh in the build up could be a huge deciding factor in the fight.

The real question for me is can Golovkin stalk his prey and cut off the ring with his brutality against Canelo who as most would agree is a tier above most of Gennady’s previous opponents, If so then the question is can Canelo hold up with the pressure and the power that Gennady is offering.

I have reviewed this fight over in my head many times in the last few years that has been leading up to this ultimate showdown of two of the best boxers in the world at this very time.

My head only leads to one conclusion and that is a split decision for the Red headed Mexican, I believe on the night the ability of combinations, speed and precision will get Canelo a close hard fought “W” to his record, with that being said based on my love for the sport and massive amount of respect for both fighters I really don’t mind who comes out the winner just privileged that myself and the boxing world get to witness this truly exciting match up!

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Lee Thornton – Golovkin TKO10 Canelo – Gennady Golovkin vs Canelo Alvarez has the makings of what should be a classic fight. Sold out arena two fighters in their prime fighting in the historic middleweight division.

When looking at this fight the keys for Gennady Golovkin to win this encounter are to rely largely on his jab. Increase his body work and make sure he doesn’t have many defensive lapses in this fight. Also, Golovkin must control the ring by moving forward and not allow himself to be backed up.

Canelo Alvarez must use his hand speed, mix up his combinations and catch Golovkin when he leans forward with Canelo’s vicious uppercuts. Canelo must stay off the ropes with a bigger puncher in Golovkin it may have worked vs Liam Smith, James Kirkland etc but those guys aren’t fighters like Golovkin he is much more skilled.

Picking a winner is tough with two very skilled fighters. I choose Golovkin by TKO round 10 due to his constant pressure he uses which will require Canelo to work much harder than usual and Canelo has a history of becoming much more tired late in fights. Golovkin has a proven chin along with fighting real 160 pound middleweights, unlike the smaller fighters Canelo has fought. It’s a big advantage in Golovkin’s favour. Golovkin’s jab will be a critical tool in this fight and if Canelo can counter that effectively he has a great shot to win considering he has the edge in hand speed, Defense and combination punching along with head movement.

My final thoughts are Golovkin breaks Canelo down and stops him in the 10th round. Due to Golovkins amateur experience, chin and ring generalship along with his underrated timing and skills.

Barbara Pinnella – Golovkin KO7  or later Canelo –  This is the fight that everyone wanted to see, and it is finally almost here. We get to see two men at the top of their game; Gennady Golovkin, undefeated with a record of 37-0 and 33 knockouts, and the Mexican sensation Saul Alvarez, who comes in with a record of 49-1-1 with 34 knockouts to his credit. Four middleweight belts are on the line here, adding to the excitement.

Of course, there are those who feel that GGG is on the way down while Canelo is still on the upswing in this one. But is Golovkin really no longer a dominating force? In the latest photos circulating of Canelo he looks positively huge! That is causing a lot of talk about how he could easily use his size to pound away at GGG and grab the victory.

But that could work as a disadvantage. He most likely will have to fight many rounds and the added size might just take a toll on him, making his legs and arms feel heavier and heavier.

Getting back to 3G being over the hill, think about this: if he dominated his last fight, would this one have ever taken place? When he appeared unbeatable, nobody would step up and fight him, yet he got criticized for not facing tough opponents. Neither he nor his trainer Abel Sanchez are stupid. Could they have been playing possum?

Those questions will be answered this Saturday night. I do not think that either fighter wants to leave the fight in the hands of the judges, and I expect it to end before the twelve rounds are finished.

GGG by KO. If I have to get more specific, after round 7.

Dan Barrett – Golovkin TKO11 Canelo – As I’ve said before, I’m going w GGG, by a late stoppage. And crucial to this divination is the factor of GGG’s undervalued defense. Assorted footage of Golovkin reveal an array of rolls, slips, and economically-managed parries, which diffuse the opponent’s offence, and deflect delivery. His back-foot game (although never yet required to work consistently), shows an adroit use of quick, small back-steps, often combined w an angling back of the upper body. He augments his defense w deft upper body movement; and head-position variation serves to prevent effective counterpunches.

Offensively, he exploits varying speeds and intensities in his delivery. These are not merely spatially and strategically functional: non-committal punches require less weight transference and hip rotation, allowing the fighter to keep a position of equipoise.

For Canelo, the right uppercut seems an appropriate weapon against GGG: that’s the one he’d unsheathed in counteraction to Cotto’s right hand in their bout’s 4th stanza, and it’s the punch w which Kell Brook bloodied GGG’s nose. On the flip side, Alvarez has a poor habit of committing to nearly every punch. That can be ruinous: there are momentary scenarios where he finds himself too extended, or off-balance, and thus open to counters – as can be seen in the Mayweather or Lara fights. Canelo also seems to have a tedious time w an unpredictable, uneven rhythm, such as Floyd or Lara present – or, in this case, GGG.

In terms of the reactive vision of both fighters, I’d give the edge to Golovkin; and he seems the more capable of the two fighters of instinctively warding off attacks through the most economic means.

I’ll wager that, as GGG’s punch resistance proves stronger than Canelo had anticipated, his capacity to elude the full force of punches will eventually lead Alvarez [NOT “the former”] to impatience and defensive neglect. I’ve got a 11th round stoppage, via left hook to Alvarez’ right side, as to how GGG will write “Finis” to what must, in the end, prove a fight worthy of all preliminary fanfare.”

Umar Ahmed – Golovkin TKO8-10 Canelo – Golovkin is far more than just a knockout artist. His ability to cut off the ring and control the distance, his immense accuracy, alongside his ferocious punching power and granite chin, makes me lean towards him coming out victorious in a potential fight of the year against Canelo Alvarez.

If Golovkin just comes in to ‘seek and destroy’ from the first bell, Canelo’s rapid hand speed and world class counter punching, may slow Golovkin down, especially with Canelo’s pounding hooks to the body. However, if Golovkin gets behind his lethal “snap” jab, and plays a smart fight, I can see Canelo tiring out down the stretch and being stopped late on as he’s never faced anyone who carries as much power as Golovkin does.

I feel it’s Golovkin’s fight to lose, if he plays his cards right, he has too much skill at range, accuracy, and power for Canelo, if he comes in trying to force a stoppage, it may play into Canelo’s hands and he could pick Golovkin apart with his counters and win on points.

I feel that’s Canelo’s best chance, to make it a war on the inside and push Golovkin back. However, I think Golovkin and his team are too smart to try and bully Canelo from the early stages. Cutting off the ring and getting behind the jab will be the plan for Golovkin, and the power punches will naturally come into play later on when Canelo starts to tire.

TopClass Picks: Golovkin 8 to 3 Canelo

I've been in the boxing industry for over 16 years but been a fan for almost double that figure. I'm the proud owner of TopClassBoxing which continues to go from strength to strength as we strive to give fight fans a voice to be heard amongst the community. I've also had several articles published by reputable magazines and you can usually catch me around ringside.

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